Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Neuroscience tips about gratitude, aging, pain and the brain: An interview with Dr. Daniel Levitin

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About 13 years ago, I watched my very vital moth­er die a slow death from Lewy-Body demen­tia. For me, it was a wake­up call. If there were any­thing I could do to stay healthy myself—to avoid the slow decline of an aging brain—I want­ed to do it. But what real­ly helps us stay sharp longer? And how can we sep­a­rate fad ideas from sol­id, evi­dence-based advice around aging? Read the rest of this entry »

Wishing you a Happy New Decade (and sharing eight brain wellness tips to make it possible)

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Ready for a Hap­py New Year  and Hap­py New Decade?

Here’s a spe­cial edi­tion of the Sharp­Brains month­ly e‑newsletter fea­tur­ing the lat­est on brain health and men­tal well-being — we hope you enjoy these tips and advice about what to do, and what not to, to pro­mote brain well­ness in 2020 and beyond:

Prac­tice Breath­ing & Com­pas­sion: Three evi­dence-based ways to devel­op a resilient mind

… and a Sport you love: Play sports (smart­ly) for a qui­eter brain

Chal­lenge your friends, often: For bet­ter mem­o­ry and think­ing skills at age 70, play cards and board games from age 11

… for exam­ple by solv­ing big prob­lems togeth­er: Mind­strong Health recruits slew of Sil­i­con Val­ley tal­ent

When in trou­ble, con­sid­er ther­a­py before meds: To treat depres­sion, ther­a­py alone works bet­ter than ther­a­py com­bined with anti­de­pres­sants

… your might even be able to access it pri­vate­ly, online: First Dig­i­tal Health For­mu­la­ry by Express Scripts includes CBT-based pro­grams to treat depres­sion, anx­i­ety and insom­nia

Final­ly, beware “brain-boost­ing” sup­ple­ments, and don’t jump on direct-to-con­sumer tran­scra­nial direct cur­rent stim­u­la­tion (tDCS) unless you under­stand Pros and Cons

… but always keep your mind open to awe and to new ways to tease your brain, see the world around us and even shape it!

 

Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year and New Decade,

 

The SharpBrains Team

 

BrainCheck raises $8 million to digitize cognitive/ neuropsychological assessments and better serve the aging population

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This start­up just raised $8 mil­lion to help busy doc­tors assess the cog­ni­tive health of 50 mil­lion seniors (TechCrunch):

…star­tups increas­ing­ly rec­og­nize oppor­tu­ni­ties to cater to this aging pop­u­la­tion. Some are devel­op­ing prod­ucts to sell to indi­vid­u­als and their fam­i­ly mem­bers direct­ly; oth­ers are com­ing up with ways to empow­er those who work direct­ly with old­er Amer­i­cans.

BrainCheck, a 20-per­son, Hous­ton-based start­up whose cog­ni­tive health­care prod­uct aims to help physi­cians assess and track the men­tal health of their patients, is among the lat­ter. Investors like what it has put togeth­er, too. Today, the start­up is announc­ing $8 mil­lion in Series A fund­ing co-led by S3 Ven­tures and Ten­sil­i­ty Ven­ture Part­ners. Read the rest of this entry »

Mental athletes gathering in Boston for the USA Memory Championship

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Mem­o­ry Con­test Comes To MIT, Where Brain Sci­en­tists Explain Why Train­ing Works (WBUR):

For the last few months, 13-year-old Claire Wang of Los Ange­les has been train­ing her mem­o­ry with play­ing cards, phone num­bers, soft­ware — “what­ev­er I can get my hands on,” she says.

She’s been buff­ing up her skills to com­pete in an annu­al sport­ing tour­na­ment where the ath­letes are not phys­i­cal but men­tal. Read the rest of this entry »

The more hours you sit per day, the smaller your medial temporal lobe (MTL) seems to become, brain scans show

—– In the study, both (A) Total medi­al tem­po­ral lobe (MTL) and (B) parahip­pocam­pal thick­ness cor­re­lat­ed inverse­ly with hours of sitting/day, con­trol­ling for age. Ref­er­ence: Sid­darth P et al (2018), Seden­tary behav­ior asso­ci­at­ed with reduced medi­al tem­po­ral lobe thick­ness in mid­dle-aged and old­er adults. PLOS ONE 13(4): e0195549.

Sit­ting is bad for your brain — not just your metab­o­lism or heart (UCLA release):

UCLA researchers recruit­ed 35 peo­ple ages 45 to 75 and asked about their phys­i­cal activ­i­ty lev­els and the aver­age num­ber of hours per day they spent sit­ting over the pre­vi­ous week. Each per­son had a high-res­o­lu­tion MRI scan, which pro­vides a detailed look at the medi­al tem­po­ral lobe, or MTL, a brain region involved in the for­ma­tion of new mem­o­ries.

The researchers found that seden­tary behav­ior is a sig­nif­i­cant pre­dic­tor of thin­ning of the MTL and 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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