Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Brain News: Lifelong Learning for Cognitive Health

Here you have the March edi­tion of our month­ly newslet­ter cov­er­ing cog­ni­tive health Brain Fitnessand brain fit­ness top­ics. Please remem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this Newslet­ter by email, using the box at the top of this page. I know I am biased — but do believe this Newslet­ter issue might well be our best so far. I hope you find the time to enjoy it!

Bird’s Eye View

Top Arti­cles and Resources in March: High­lights — a) great arti­cles in Sci­Am Mind and the Wall Street Jour­nal, b) new resources (book and free DVD) by the Dana Foun­da­tion, c) research stud­ies on how our cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties tend to evolve as we age, the impact of phys­i­cal exer­cise on the brain, the lack of long-term effec­tive­ness of ADHD drugs, and how work­ing mem­o­ry train­ing may ben­e­fit math per­for­mance.

Brain Fit­ness Sur­vey: Over 2,000 thought­ful respons­es to our Jan­u­ary sur­vey (Thank You!) rein­force the need for pub­lic aware­ness ini­tia­tives and qual­i­ty infor­ma­tion to help eval­u­ate and nav­i­gate lifestyle and prod­uct claims, as well as the need for more research, an expand­ed health­care cul­ture, as more. Giv­en this con­text, we are pub­lish­ing The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness in May 2009, a book with 18 Inter­views with Sci­en­tists, Prac­ti­cal Advice, and Prod­uct Reviews, in addi­tion to our annu­al mar­ket report for pro­fes­sion­als and exec­u­tives (to be pub­lished in April). If you have ideas to help us pro­mote the book, please reply to this email and let us know!

Life­long Learn­ing

Elderhostel’s Mar­ty Knowl­ton dies at 88: He helped launch Elder­hos­tel, rein­vent­ed “aging”, “retire­ment” and “learn­ing”, and con­tributed to the brain fit­ness of mil­lions of indi­vid­u­als as a result.

MetLife Mature Mar­ket Insti­tute Report: Geron­tol­o­gist Fay Radding presents the find­ings of a recent MetLife report, con­clud­ing that “As indi­vid­u­als age, mean­ing­ful inter­ac­tions and pur­pose­ful activ­i­ty become even more val­ued and cru­cial to cog­ni­tive health- and cog­ni­tive health itself becomes more of a pri­or­i­ty.”

Change Your Envi­ron­ment, Change Your­self: Dr. Brett Steen­barg­er explains in his recent book that, “The great­est ene­my of change is rou­tine. When we lapse into rou­tine and oper­ate on autopi­lot, we are no longer ful­ly and active­ly con­scious of what we’re doing and why. That is why some of the most fer­tile sit­u­a­tions for per­son­al growth those that occur with­in new envi­ron­ments are those that force us to exit our rou­tines and active­ly mas­ter unfa­mil­iar chal­lenges.”

Food for Thought

Michael Merzenich: Brain Plas­tic­i­ty offers Hope for Every­one: Dr. Gin­ger Camp­bell recent­ly inter­viewed Dr. Michael Merzenich. Pod­cast Quote: “What­ev­er you strug­gle with in a sense as it stems from your neu­rol­o­gy, the inher­ent plas­tic­i­ty of the brain gives you a basis for improve­ment. This is a way under­uti­lized and under-appre­ci­at­ed resource that well all have.”

Ther­a­py vs. Med­ica­tion, Con­flicts of Inter­est, and Intim­i­da­tion: What start­ed as an aca­d­e­m­ic dis­pute regard­ing dis­clo­sure of con­flict of inter­est is now snow­balling. Dr. Jonathan Leo crit­i­cized two impor­tant aspects of a recent a study pub­lished in JAMA that com­pared the effi­ca­cy of ther­a­py vs. med­ica­tion. JAMA edi­tors then tried to intim­i­date Dr. Leo and his uni­ver­si­ty. An inves­ti­ga­tion by the Amer­i­can Med­ical Asso­ci­a­tion is under way.

ETech09 on Life Hack­ing and Brain Train­ing: Here you have the pre­sen­ta­tion Alvaro Fer­nan­dez deliv­ered at O’Reilly Emerg­ing Tech­nol­o­gy Con­fer­ence 2009, a gath­er­ing of tech­nol­o­gy pio­neers with a grow­ing inter­est in sci­ence and biol­o­gy top­ics.

Atten­tion!

Dis­tract­ed in the Work­place?: In a very-thought­ful 2-part inter­view (part 1 here, part 2 here), author Mag­gie Jack­son chal­lenges us to “First, ques­tion the val­ues that ven­er­ate McThink­ing and under­mine atten­tion.”

New Study Sup­ports Neu­ro­feed­back Treat­ment for ADHD: Dr. David Rabin­er reports the promis­ing find­ings from the first well-designed con­trolled tri­al on the effect of neu­ro­feed­back treat­ment for ADHD.

Twit­ter

Final­ly, I want­ed to let you know that you can fol­low quick Sharp­Brains updates and some of my thoughts via Twit­ter: http://twitter.com/AlvaroF

Have a great Nation­al Car Care Month in April! (now, wouldn’t you please pay at least equal atten­tion to Brain Care than to Car Care?)

MetLife Mature Market Institute: Meaning, Purpose and Cognitive Health for a Lifelong Good Life

Increased longevi­ty has gen­er­at­ed many ques­tions and much inter­est in healthy aging and retire­ment lifestyles over the recent decades. As Amer­i­cans become edu­cat­ed regard­ing lifestyle choic­es that con­tribute to both phys­i­cal and men­tal health, the def­i­n­i­tion of healthy aging has expand­ed to include brain health.

The notion of retire­ment as a time of with­draw­al from soci­ety, to be spent on rest and repose reflect­ed the think­ing of a pre­vi­ous era when peo­ple expect­ed short­er life spans. It is now known that the human brain ben­e­fits from envi­ron­ments rich in nov­el and com­plex stim­uli, and that by active­ly par­tic­i­pat­ing in soci­ety and tak­ing on per­son­al­ly rel­e­vant roles, peo­ple find mean­ing and pur­pose, which gives them a rea­son to get up in the morn­ing and pur­sue new chal­lenges.

This year, the MetLife Mature Mar­ket Insti­tute pub­lished a research study titled Dis­cov­er­ing What Mat­ters: Bal­anc­ing Mon­ey, Med­i­cine and Mean­ing. The study explored how peo­ple rebal­ance their pri­or­i­ties over time and jug­gle var­i­ous com­pet­ing aspects of life includ­ing mon­ey, med­i­cine (a metaphor for health) and mean­ing, in order to live the Good Life.  Hav­ing pur­pose was found to Read the rest of this entry »

MetLife Mature Market Institute: Balancing Money, Medicine and Meaning

Just a quick heads up: the MetLife Mature Mar­ket Insti­tute has pub­lished a new report: titled Dis­cov­er­ing What Mat­ters: Bal­anc­ing Mon­ey, Med­i­cine and Mean­ing.

Descrip­tion: “The adage that mon­ey can’t buy hap­pi­ness is sup­port­ed ana­lyt­i­cal­ly by new research demon­strat­ing the impor­tance of hav­ing pur­pose in one’s life and that the most con­tent peo­ple focus on the non-finan­cial essen­tials in their lives, even dur­ing dif­fi­cult eco­nom­ic times.  Liv­ing the “good life” for mid­dle-aged and old­er Amer­i­cans is equat­ed with spend­ing time with fam­i­ly and friends, a pre­vi­ous­ly unquan­ti­fied find­ing, accord­ing to the MetLife Mature Mar­ket Institute’s lat­est study, Dis­cov­er­ing What Mat­ters: Bal­anc­ing Mon­ey, Med­i­cine and Mean­ing, pro­duced in con­junc­tion with lead­ing author, life coach, and exec­u­tive edu­ca­tor, Richard Lei­der.  They describe the good life in terms of hav­ing health, a finan­cial safe­ty net and the time to do what is impor­tant to them.”

Report is avail­able Here (PDF, 69 kb).

Will com­ment in a few days, when I get the chance to take a look at it. Have a nice week­end!

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