Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Brain Awareness Week is here!

We have planned a num­ber of fun posts, start­ing tomor­row, to cel­e­brate Brain Aware­ness Week (March 10–16th). WeBrain Awareness Week hope you will enjoy them.

Let me share a taste of a few arti­cles you will find here dur­ing the week:

- Dr. Adri­an Pre­da, Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chi­a­try at UC Irvine School of Med­i­cine, will help us exer­cise our brains by chal­leng­ing us to exer­cise more…our bod­ies.

- We will release our report The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2008 on Tues­day March 11th, shar­ing its 10 High­lights. This is a project where we have spent many many ener­gies over the last 9 months…so we are hap­py to final­ly be able to deliv­er it!

- An arti­cle by UCS­F’s Gre­go­ry Kel­let (who wrote this great arti­cle on why man­ag­ing stress is impor­tant for our brains) help­ing us iden­ti­fy ways to pre­cise­ly do that.

- An in-depth inter­view with Eric Jensen, brain-based edu­ca­tion expert and author of this great recent arti­cle.

- Edu­won­kette, a superb (and anony­mous) edu­ca­tion blog­ger, will expand the con­ver­sa­tion by ask­ing, “Do we, as a soci­ety, have a clear goal of what the K12 sys­tem is sup­posed to accom­plish?”

- Dr. Lar­ry McCleary, one of our esteemed con­trib­u­tors, will speak at the Aspen Cen­ter for Inte­gral Health to present his lat­est book, and will blog about the event.

So, please book­mark our URL, or sub­scribe to our newslet­ter (above) or join our blog RSS feed.

And, of course, vis­it the Brain Aware­ness Week’s Inter­na­tion­al Cal­en­dar of events to find if there are some stim­u­lat­ing events near you. If you live in Wash­ing­ton DC, take a look at the “Part­ners in Edu­ca­tion” activ­i­ties orga­nized by the Nation­al Muse­um of Health and Med­i­cine at Wal­ter Reed Army Med­ical Cen­ter.

Mental Training for Gratitude and Altruism

Bran­don Keim writes a nice post on The Future Sci­ence of Altru­ism at Wired Sci­ence Blog, based on an inter­view with Jor­dan Graf­man, chief of cog­ni­tive neu­ro­science at the Nation­al Insti­tute of Neu­ro­log­i­cal Dis­or­ders and Stroke.

Bran­don pro­vides good con­text say­ing that “Sci­en­tists, said Graf­man, are under­stand­ing how our brains are shaped by cul­ture and envi­ron­ment, and a mech­a­nism of these changes may involve fluc­tu­a­tion in our genes them­selves, which we’re only begin­ning to under­stand”. (more on this in our post Richard Dawkins and Alfred Nobel: beyond nature and nur­ture).

And gives us some very nice quotes from Dr. Graf­man, includ­ing

  • One of the ways we dif­fer­en­ti­ate our­selves from oth­er species is that we have a sense of future. We don’t have to have imme­di­ate grat­i­fi­ca­tion.… But how far can we go into the future? How much of our brain is aimed at doing that? […]”
  • Oth­er great apes have a frontal lobe, fair­ly well devel­oped, but not near­ly as well devel­oped as our own. If you believe in Dar­win and evo­lu­tion, you argue that the area grew, and the neur­al archi­tec­ture had to change in some way to accom­mo­date the abil­i­ties asso­ci­at­ed with that behav­ior. There’s no doubt that did­n’t occur overnight; prob­a­bly a slow change, and it was one of the last areas of the brain to devel­op as well. It’s very recent evo­lu­tion­ary devel­op­ment that humans took full advan­tage of. What in the future? What in the brains can change?”
  • The issue becomes — do we teach this? Train peo­ple to do this? Chil­dren tend to be self­ish, and have to be taught to share.”

The UC Berke­ley mag­a­zine Greater Good tries to answer that ques­tion with a series of arti­cles on Grat­i­tude. I espe­cial­ly enjoyed A Les­son in Thanks, described as Read the rest of this entry »

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