Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Grand Rounds 5:12 – Healthcare Reform Q&A

“If Dr. Rob can interview Santa, why can’t I interview a select group of health & medical bloggers? They will have some good ideas to share”.

So did President-elect Obama came to realize a few days ago. After his people kindly contacted our people, we felt compelled to grant him open access to our collective wisdom. Without further ado, below you have Grand Rounds 5:12 – a Q&A session led by the incoming President on how to reform (for the better, we hope) healthcare.

On Health Insurance

Q:  How does the blogosphere perceive the problem of having a significant group of people uninsured?

Health Insurance Colorado: a growing economic burden, which may lead to emergency rooms turning people away if they are unable to provide proof of health insurance.

Dr Rich: well, a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed how overcrowding in American emergency rooms is NOT due to the uninsured. Rather, it is due to insured Americans who cannot get in to see their primary care physicians. We may need improved care both for the insured and uninsured groups.

InsureBlog: I’d second that. Lack of health insurance is a major problem but is it really our Biggest Problem?

It’s All about Attitude

Q: You may have heard my campaign mantra, “Yes We Can”. Can I count on your support?

ButYouDontLookSick: Yes. If Leslie Hunt can talk so openly about her chronic illness (Lupus) yet fulfill her American Idol dreams, we can fulfill our dreams too.

Notes of an Anesthesioboist: you are talking to the group of professionals willing to self-experiment with our own body for the benefit of science and our patients.

Medviews: My wife, son, and I signed up to work as medical volunteers for your upcoming inauguration.

EmergiBlog: I am on board too. But, please, remember that caring is the essence of nursing. And that is why my patients will always be my patients and never my  clients.

Neuroanthropology: Mr. President-elect, it seems to me that, despite all our good intentions, balancing the budget and multiple competing priorities will be a challenge. May I suggest you start practicing some capoeira for equilibrium training?

Shrink Rap: Happy to help. Now, we will need to protect some time for quality sleep time.


Q: I am encouraged by your words. How can my team and I better support you in your daily activities?

Aequanimitas: we need more role models for us to “learn to think, observe, and compare” and that the patient is our “first, last, and only teacher”.

Mudphudder: Couldn’t agree more. We need Read the rest of this entry »

MetaCarnival: A Carnival of Blog Carnivals

If you are a blogger or read blogs often, you know that there are a good number of excellent blog carnivals focused on specific themes. If you are interested in medicine, you know what carnival to visit. Education, the same. Biology, neuroscience, nursing, birds, aging, philosophy…a variety of topics are very well covered in the blogosphere.

What you probably haven’t come across is a high-quality “metacarnival” or “carnival of carnivals”, where you can read the best blog posts ACROSS topics, subjects, disciplines.

This is why a few blog carnival “organizers” are launching next Monday a monthly rotating “MetaCarnival” to feature the most interesting posts from a variety of high-quality blog carnivals.

Participating blog carnivals so far, alphabetically: Read the rest of this entry »

Update: The Challenges of Gerontology

Here you have the twice-a-month newsletter with our most popular blog posts. Please brainremember that you can subscribe to receive this Newsletter by email, simply by submitting your email at the top of this page.

First, I am pleased to report that have been invited to participate in a new initiative by the World Economic Forum. Described as “In a global environment marked by short-term orientation and silo-thinking, Global Agenda Councils will foster interdisciplinary and long-range thinking to address the prevailing challenges on the global agenda”, my specific Council will focus on the Challenges of Gerontology. More information on the Global Agenda Councils here. Will keep you updated via this blog.

In the News

Yes, It is Smart to Learn New Tricks: a recent Washington Post article presents a good overview of brain health trends, but framed around a highly artificial choice for consumers: either you a) do physical exercise, or b) take part in social interactions, or c) engage in mental exercise. What about switching off those TVs and having time for all a, b, c, and more?

Mind Games: the August issue of Venture Capital Journal brings a very good piece on the emerging brain fitness software category (subscription required), which we enhance by providing a quick overview of the field.

CogniFit raises USD 5 million: if 2007 was the year of brain fitness media coverage, 2008 seems to be the year of serious investments. This CogniFit round follows other recent venture investments: Dakim ($10.6m), Lumos Labs ($3m). We hear all these companies are devoting part of these resources to fund clinical trials…never too late.

Brain Science and Lifelong Learning

Schools as Brain Training Hubs?: in a recent post we asked for suggestions to refine our predictions for the 2007-2015 period. A good number of readers contributed, and the winner of this informal contest is… Scott Spears, retired public schools superintendent, for his thoughts on the future implications of cognitive research on schooling.

Neurogenesis and Brain Plasticity in Adult Brains: while “adults may have a tendency to get set in their ways I’ve been doing it this way for a long time and it works, so why change?”, change itself is an excellent practice for healthy brain aging, as Laurie Bartels explains.

A Farewell to Dementia?: a fascinating recent editorial in Archives of Neurology, titled Dementia: A Word to be Forgotten, calls for more constructive terminology. Dr. Joshua Steinerman weighs in.

Other Thought-Provoking Articles

To Think or to Blink?: should Hamlet be living with us now and reading bestsellers, he might be wondering: To Blink or not to Blink? To Think or not to Think? We are pleased to present an article by Madeleine Van Hecke, offering the “on the other hand” to Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink argument.

The impact of web 2.0 on healthcare: we hosted Medicine 2.0, a bi-weekly collection of articles that analyze the current and potential impact of web 2.0 technologies on medicine and healthcare.

Brain Teasers

Brain Teasers: Spot the Difference: how many differences can you spot (and how many cognitive functions can you engage with this simple exercise?)

I hope you are having a great August!

Medicine 2.0: the impact of web 2.0 on healthcare?

Welcome to the 30th edition of Medicine 2.0, the blog carnival devoted to articles that analyze the current and potential impact of web 2.0 technologies on medicine and healthcare.

“Medicine 2.0” 101

The first question is, of course, “What exactly is Medicine 2.0?”. The second, “Who cares?”. The third, “Why?”

Anthropologists are here to help. Who better to help understand emerging artifacts of the health and medical tribe, as evidenced by the fantastic lecture An Anthropological Introduction To Youtube given to the Library of Congress by Professor Michael Wesch. As Open Thinking suggests, the video which is 55 minutes long provides an “excellent backgrounder on social media, user-generated content, and online communities through the lens of anthropology.”

If you are more the PowerPoint type, you can access the great slide presentation and list of websites provided by eHealth: see Web 2.0 in Clinical Research.

The Future of Medicine and Health 2.0

Admittedly, the Medicine 2.0 field is still small and emerging. But, how will it grow? What new healthcare outcomes will it enable and support? What may be the trade-offs to consider, if any? Read the rest of this entry »

Science and Medicine blog carnivals

A couple of excellent collections of blog posts:

The Tangled Bank: all things science, with a very clear presentation.

Medicine 2.0: intersection of Health and Web 2.0, hosted by Bertalan Mesko, its creator.

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