Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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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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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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