Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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With pharma exiting Alzheimer’s research, new hope (and urgency) seen in the combination of brain training and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)

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What does the future hold for the war on Alzheimer’s? (The Globe and Mail):

After spend­ing huge sums on clin­i­cal trails in recent years, the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal indus­try has failed to find a drug that can halt the mind-rob­bing dis­ease. And this month, Pfiz­er announced it is end­ing its Alzheimer’s research, although oth­er com­pa­nies haven’t thrown in the tow­el yet. But oth­er pre­ven­tion mea­sures are being explored.

Sev­er­al Toron­to hos­pi­tals are involved in an ambi­tious $10-mil­lion, five-year study to deter­mine whether a com­bi­na­tion of cog­ni­tive reme­di­a­tion – men­tal exer­cis­es – plus elec­tri­cal stim­u­la­tion of the brain can delay Read the rest of this entry »

Fact: Lifelong neuroplasticity means our 7.5 billion brains can “sculpt” themselves

Much ongo­ing brain health and brain enhance­ment inno­va­tion is enabled by the core fact—called neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty–that the human brain con­tin­u­al­ly changes itself through expe­ri­ence. Neuroplasticity–or brain plas­tic­i­ty– refers to the brain’s abil­i­ty to rewire itself based on expe­ri­ence by gen­er­at­ing new neu­rons and by form­ing new con­nec­tions between neu­rons, among oth­er fac­tors. It was believed for a long time that, after a cer­tain age, the brain became “fixed.” Now we know that the brain nev­er stops chang­ing, and that’s why there’s so much inter­est and hope around ways to har­ness that neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty to lead bet­ter lives, to enhance our brains, to delay brain health decline.

What fol­lows from this fact is that we can strength­en spe­cif­ic cir­cuits of the brain (through edu­ca­tion, our jobs and lifestyles, and also through men­tal exer­cis­esmed­i­ta­tion and neu­rostim­u­la­tion), in order to learn faster, bet­ter and become more resilient.

–> Keep read­ing the arti­cle 5 Facts You Need To Know To Under­stand, Nav­i­gate And Enjoy The Dig­i­tal Brain Health Rev­o­lu­tion over at The Huff­in­g­ton Post.

Witnessing an explosion of consumer-facing neurotechnologies to (potentially) harness lifelong neuroplasticity

Last week I shared some key sci­en­tif­ic, tech­no­log­i­cal and invest­ment trends rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing Brain Health, based on my par­tic­i­pa­tion at the 2016 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit, and promised a sec­ond arti­cle more focused on the tech­nol­o­gy side of things.

Here it is 🙂

Just a few weeks after the Sharp­Brains Sum­mit I also attend­ed CES 2017. While I enjoyed the myr­i­ad emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies –autonomous vehi­cles, robot­ics, drones, aug­ment­ed and vir­tu­al real­i­ty head­sets, voice acti­vat­ed every­thing– I was most­ly struck by a firm named Halo Neu­ro­science. They have a fas­ci­nat­ing wear­able prod­uct, Halo Sport, claim­ing to accel­er­ate gains in strength, explo­sive­ness, endurance, and mus­cle mem­o­ry, improv­ing the brain’s response to ath­let­ic train­ing. It uses tDCS (tran­scra­nial direct cur­rent stim­u­la­tion), essen­tial­ly prim­ing move­ment-relat­ed cir­cuits of the brain to become more recep­tive to stim­uli, help­ing the brain wire in the prac­tice for improved future response.

The cutting edge of applied neuroplasticity

Both con­fer­ences allowed me to see the cut­ting edge of Read the rest of this entry »

Quick brain teasers to train your attention and working memory

brain-teasers

Here you have a few fun men­tal exer­cis­es to train your atten­tion and work­ing mem­o­ry (the capac­i­ty to hold mul­ti­ple pieces of infor­ma­tion in the mind, and to use them real-time). Giv­en them a try today and over the weekend…they are not as easy as they may sound!

  1. Say the days of the week back­wards, then in alpha­bet­i­cal order. If you speak anoth­er lan­guage, try doing the same in that lan­guage.
  2. Say the months of the year in alpha­bet­i­cal order. Then, for extra cog­ni­tive chal­lenge, try doing so back­wards, in reverse alpha­bet­i­cal order.
  3. Find the sum of your date of birth, mm/dd/yyyy. Want more quick brain teasers? Do the same with friends’ and rel­a­tives’ date of birth.
  4. Quick, name two objects for every let­ter in your com­plete name. Work up to five objects, try­ing to use dif­fer­ent items each time.
  5. Wher­ev­er you are, look around and with­in two min­utes, try to find 5 green things that will fit in your pock­et, and 5 red objects that are too big to fit.

Read the rest of this entry »

Training Young Brains to Behave

Great arti­cle in the New York Times titled Train­ing Young Brains to Behave. A cou­ple of quotes:

- “But just as biol­o­gy shapes behav­ior, so behav­ior can accel­er­ate biol­o­gy. And a small group of edu­ca­tion­al and cog­ni­tive sci­en­tists now say that men­tal exer­cis­es of a cer­tain kind can teach chil­dren to become more self-pos­sessed at ear­li­er ages, reduc­ing stress lev­els at home and improv­ing their expe­ri­ence in school. Researchers can test this abil­i­ty, which they call exec­u­tive func­tion, and they say it is more strong­ly asso­ci­at­ed with school suc­cess than I.Q.”

- “We know that the pre­frontal cor­tex is not ful­ly devel­oped until the 20s, and some peo­ple will ask, Read the rest of this entry »

About SharpBrains

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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