Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Invitation to SharpBrains Summit — Technology for Cognitive Health and Performance

We are excit­ed to invite you to the first vir­tu­al, glob­al Sharp­Brains Sum­mit (Jan­u­ary 18–20th, 2010). The Sharp­Brains Sum­mit will fea­ture a sharpbrains_summit_logo_webdream team of over 25 speak­ers who are lead­ers in indus­try and research from 7 coun­tries, to dis­cuss emerg­ing research, tools and best prac­tices for cog­ni­tive health and per­for­mance. This inau­gur­al event will expose health and insur­ance providers, devel­op­ers, inno­va­tors at For­tune 500 com­pa­nies, investors and researchers, to the oppor­tu­ni­ties, part­ner­ships, trends, and stan­dards of the rapid­ly evolv­ing cog­ni­tive fit­ness field.

Reg­is­ter Today

Learn more and reg­is­ter Here today, at dis­count­ed ear­ly-bird rates, to receive these ben­e­fits:

  • Learn: Full access to all Con­fer­ence live ses­sions, and Down­load­able Record­ings and Hand­outs
  • See: lat­est tech­nolo­gies and prod­ucts dur­ing Expo Day
  • Con­nect and Dis­cuss: become a mem­ber of the Sharp­Brains Net­work for Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion (mem­bers-only LinkedIn Group) through the end of 2010, access online chats dur­ing the sum­mit, meet oth­er reg­is­trants in your city
  • Under­stand the Big Pic­ture: access 10 Research Exec­u­tive Briefs pre­pared by lead­ing sci­en­tists

On top of those ear­ly-bird dis­counts, we offer an addi­tion­al 15% dis­count for Sharp­Brains read­ers who want Reg­u­lar Admis­sion. Dis­count code: sharp2010. You can reg­is­ter Here.

Agenda/ Speak­ers

Monday, January 18th, 2010:

(Pre­lim­i­nary sched­ule, US Pacif­ic Time)

8–9.15am. Cog­ni­tion & Neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty: The New Health­care Fron­tier

  • Alvaro Fer­nan­dez, Sharp­Brains
  • David White­house, OptumHealth Behav­ioral Solu­tions
  • William Reich­man, Bay­crest
  • P Murali Doraiswamy, Duke Uni­ver­si­ty

9.30–11am. Tools for Safer Dri­ving: The Oppor­tu­ni­ty with Teenagers and Adults

  • Steven Aldrich, Posit Sci­ence
  • Shlo­mo Breznitz, Cog­niFit
  • Jer­ri Edwards, Uni­ver­si­ty of South Flori­da
  • Peter Chris­tian­son, Young Dri­vers of Cana­da

Noon-1.30pm. Baby Boomers and Beyond: Main­tain­ing Cog­ni­tive Vital­i­ty

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?)

Michael Merzenich: Brain Plasticity offers Hope for Everyone

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.” Dr. Michael Merzenich on the Brain Sci­ence Pod­cast #54, 2/13/09.

Recent­ly there has been grow­ing con­tro­ver­sy about the effec­tive­ness of com­put­er-based cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­grams. As a co-founder of Posit Sci­ence, Inc. Dr. Michael Merzenich is a staunch defend­er of the meth­ods his com­pa­ny uses to val­i­date the pro­grams that they have devel­oped. But for the pur­pos­es of this essay, I want to share some of the key ideas we dis­cussed dur­ing his recent inter­view on the Brain Sci­ence Pod­cast.

First of all, I asked him to dis­cuss some of the high­lights of his long career. Since he was one of the first neu­ro­sci­en­tists to embrace the con­cepts of neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty I was curi­ous about how this came about. While he did have some expo­sure to the ani­mal evi­dence as a grad­u­ate stu­dent, it was actu­al­ly his expe­ri­ence with the inven­tion of the cochlear implant that con­vinced Dr. Merzenich of the real-world, prac­ti­cal impli­ca­tions of brain plas­tic­i­ty. The qual­i­ty of the Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness 2: Sight & Sound, at PBS

PBS recent­ly announced the sec­ond install­ment of their pop­u­lar Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram show, and released this trail­er via YouTube:

Watch: Brain Fit­ness 2: Sight & Sound (2:30)

Descrip­tion: Join host Peter Coy­ote in “Brain Fit­ness 2: Sight & Sound,” the fol­low-up to “The Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram,” as he explores the brain’s abil­i­ty to change and grow, even as we age, help­ing us main­tain and improve our vision and hear­ing.

Brain Fit­ness 2: Sight & Sound” is a spe­cial in-depth look at the advances in neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty and how it relates to healthy aging, with a par­tic­u­lar focus on mak­ing the most of infor­ma­tion fil­tered through our eyes and ears. Check your local list­ings to catch it, begin­ning in Decem­ber 2008. Your brain will thank you. Help PBS con­tin­ue to offer all Amer­i­cans; from every walk of life; the oppor­tu­ni­ty to explore new ideas and new worlds through tele­vi­sion and online con­tent. To donate, please vis­it http://www.pbs.org/support

Sched­ule: You can check the sched­ule for the pro­gram by city Here.

And Here you have some infor­ma­tion on the first show Read the rest of this entry »

Neuroplasticity and the Brain That Changes Itself

I first dis­cov­ered Nor­man Doidge’s book, The Brain That Changes Itself, in a May, 2007 review in the New York Times. Intrigued, but caught up in myr­i­ad end-of-school-year respon­si­bil­i­ties, the book was put out of my mind until lat­er that sum­mer, when our The Brain that Changes Itself - Norman Doidgeschools learn­ing spe­cial­ist emailed to say she had just fin­ished a fas­ci­nat­ing book. The Brain That Changes Itself: Stores of Per­son­al Tri­umph from the Fron­tiers of Brain Sci­ence, is a com­pelling col­lec­tion of tales about the amaz­ing abil­i­ties of the brain to rewire, read­just and relearn after hav­ing a slice of itself ren­dered dys­func­tion­al. The first sev­en chap­ters cap­ti­vat­ed me for their per­son­al sto­ries; the final four chap­ters for the sci­ence and phi­los­o­phy.

Part of what makes Doidge’s writ­ing so acces­si­ble is he tells sto­ries, and his sto­ries just hap­pen to incor­po­rate brain sci­ence. As a result, his book is easy to digest. The neu­ro­science behind Doidge’s book involves neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty, which is the brain’s abil­i­ty to rewire itself. This means that the brain is our intel­li­gence  is not some­thing fixed in con­crete but rather a chang­ing, learn­ing enti­ty. On the face of it, this con­cept should not sound unusu­al, for it is what hap­pens to indi­vid­u­als all the time as we go about the learn­ing process, from infan­cy onwards.

What sep­a­rates the sto­ries in this book from dai­ly learn­ing is that Read the rest of this entry »

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