Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Fast Forward to 2040: How to prepare for the new era in brain enhancement that will change the way we think, work, and heal

Decades from now when our aug­ment­ed brains have enhanced our cog­ni­tive func­tion and trans­formed near­ly every aspect of our lives, many of us will look back and won­der why we didn’t do more to pre­pare for these inevitable changes. Gov­ern­ment lead­ers may grap­ple with the run­away effects of AI and brain enhance­ment on geopol­i­tics. Com­pa­nies that fail to incor­po­rate neu­rotech­nolo­gies and BCI into their oper­a­tional flow could lose sig­nif­i­cant mar­ket share and be forced to scram­ble in an attempt to regain a foothold in an indus­try they once dom­i­nat­ed.

Work­ers who don’t heed the warn­ings to re-skill or upskill may find them­selves out of a job as entire indus­tries dis­ap­pear. Grad­u­at­ing col­lege stu­dents may dis­cov­er their field of study is no longer rel­e­vant in the busi­ness world, leav­ing them unpre­pared for the chang­ing job mar­ket. Tech inno­va­tors could be caught up in fierce com­pe­ti­tion to snap up employ­ees from a very lim­it­ed tal­ent pool, dri­ving up the cost of inno­va­tion and ham­per­ing its devel­op­ment. And every­day cit­i­zens may be wrestling with the unex­pect­ed con­se­quences of unin­ten­tion­al­ly giv­ing away the rights to their neur­al data.

Rest assured, it doesn’t have to be this way. Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive Health and Development: April Round-Up

Round-up of April arti­cles and news on neu­ro­science, brain devel­op­ment and cog­ni­tive health:

Games for Health Con­fer­ences to host new Cog­ni­tive Health Track:

For the first time, a new Cog­ni­tive Health track ‑Pow­ered by Sharp­Brains- will cov­er eleven brain fit­ness and cog­ni­tive health top­ics dur­ing the 5th Annu­al Games for Health Con­fer­ence. The cur­rent price is $379, with a 15% dis­count if you use code “sharp09” (with­out quo­ta­tion) when you reg­is­ter Here. Details: June 11–12th at the Hyatt Har­bor­side Hotel in Boston, MA.

Bilin­gual Babies Get Head Start — Before They Can Talk:

- “Unlike the mono­lin­gual group, the bilin­gual group was able to suc­cess­ful­ly learn a new sound type and use it to pre­dict where each char­ac­ter would pop up…The bilin­gual babies’ skill applies to more than just switch­ing between lan­guages. Mehler likened this appar­ent­ly enhanced cog­ni­tive abil­i­ty to a brain select­ing “the right tool for the right operation”—also called exec­u­tive func­tion.”

- “In this basic process, the brain, ever flex­i­ble, nim­bly switch­es from one learned response to anoth­er as sit­u­a­tions change…Monolingual babies hone this abil­i­ty lat­er in their young lives, Mehler sug­gests.”

Study shows how kids’ stress hurts mem­o­ry:

Now, research is pro­vid­ing what could be cru­cial clues to explain how child­hood pover­ty trans­lates into dim­mer chances of suc­cess: Read the rest of this entry »

Brain/ Cognitive Enhancement with drugs… and cereal?

Sev­er­al recent arti­cles and news:

Brain Gain: the under­ground world of “neu­roen­hanc­ing” drugs (The New York­er)

- “Alex remains enthu­si­as­tic about Adder­all, but he also has a slight­ly jaun­diced cri­tique of it. “It only works as a cog­ni­tive enhancer inso­far as you are ded­i­cat­ed to accom­plish­ing the task at hand,” he said. “The num­ber of times I’ve tak­en Adder­all late at night and decid­ed that, rather than start­ing my paper, hey, I’ll orga­nize my entire music library! I’ve seen peo­ple obses­sive­ly clean­ing their rooms on it.” Alex thought that gen­er­al­ly the drug helped him to bear down on his work, but it also tend­ed to pro­duce writ­ing with a char­ac­ter­is­tic flaw. “Often, I’ve looked back at papers I’ve writ­ten on Adder­all, and they’re ver­bose. They’re bela­bor­ing a point, try­ing to cre­ate this air­tight argu­ment, when if you just got to your point in a more direct man­ner it would be stronger. But with Adder­all I’d pro­duce two pages on some­thing that could be said in a cou­ple of sen­tences.” Nev­er­the­less, his Adder­all-assist­ed papers usu­al­ly earned him at least a B. They got the job done. As Alex put it, “Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty is a good thing.”

Eschew Enhance­ment: Mem­o­ry-boost­ing drugs should not be made avail­able to the gen­er­al pub­lic (Tech­nol­o­gy Review)

- “Who might use them? Stu­dents will be tempt­ed, as might play­ers of any game involv­ing count­ing or remem­ber­ing (chess, bridge, and even pok­er and black­jack). Cer­tain pro­fes­sion­als might desire a boost in atten­tion or mem­o­ry”

- “But these poten­tial­ly pow­er­ful med­i­cines should not be made avail­able to every­one, for two rea­sons. The first is safe­ty. The last sev­er­al years have pro­vid­ed many exam­ples of side effects, some life-threatening…The sec­ond rea­son is that we still know rel­a­tive­ly lit­tle about learn­ing and mem­o­ry and how they are inte­grat­ed to make judg­ments and deci­sions.”

Kel­logg Set­tles with FTC over Health Claims on Cere­al (Pro­mo Mag­a­zine)

- “The FTC said that Kel­logg pro­mot­ed the cere­al as “clin­i­cal­ly shown to improve kids’ atten­tive­ness by near­ly 20%,” when in fact the study referred to in the ads showed dif­fer­ent results.”

- “The study found that only about half the chil­dren who ate Frost­ed Mini-Wheats for break­fast showed any improve­ment in atten­tive­ness, and only about one in nine improved by 20% or more, the FTC said.”

Brain shock: The new Gulf War syn­drome (New Sci­en­tist)

- “The US army also screens for symp­toms of mTBI when sol­diers return from a tour of duty, and again three months lat­er. The army is also car­ry­ing out neu­rocog­ni­tive tests on recruits before they are sent into com­bat so that doc­tors can check for dete­ri­o­ra­tion in lat­er tests.”

- “When it comes to com­bat trau­ma, unpick­ing the phys­i­cal from the psy­cho­log­i­cal is bound to be high­ly com­plex. As Barth says, per­haps the great­est dan­ger could be in try­ing to sim­pli­fy the pic­ture too much. “I rec­om­mend that we get com­fort­able with the com­plex­i­ty,” he says, “and treat it as a chal­lenge.”

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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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