Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Brain Blogs and Michael Merzenich

Two quick notes:

- Encephalon #56 edi­tion: the lat­est edi­tion of this neu­ro­science and psy­chol­o­gy blog car­ni­val is ready for your read­ing plea­sure.
- Michael Merzenich Elect­ed to Insti­tute of Med­i­cine: Con­grat­u­la­tions! “The Insti­tute of Medicine’s total active mem­ber­ship is now 1,576 and the num­ber of for­eign asso­ciates is 89. With anoth­er 71 mem­bers hold­ing emer­i­tus sta­tus, IOM’s total mem­ber­ship is now 1,736. Estab­lished in 1970 by the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences, the Insti­tute of Med­i­cine is a nation­al resource for inde­pen­dent, sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly informed analy­sis and rec­om­men­da­tions on issues relat­ed to human health. With their elec­tion, mem­bers make a com­mit­ment to devote a sig­nif­i­cant amount of vol­un­teer time as mem­bers of IOM study com­mit­tees.”
You may have seen him talk­ing about neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty in the PBS spe­cial titled Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram.

Neurogenesis and Brain Plasticity in Adult Brains

Back in July, I wrote a post enti­tled 10 Brain Tips To Teach and Learn. Those tips apply to stu­dents of any age, includ­ing adults, for ide­al­ly adults are still learn­ers. Why is adult learn­ing rel­e­vant in a brain-focused blog, you may won­der:

The short of it

As we age, our brain:

still forms new brain cells
can change its struc­ture & func­tion
finds pos­i­tive stress can be ben­e­fi­cial; neg­a­tive stress can be detri­men­tal
can thrive on nov­el chal­lenges
needs to be exer­cised, just like our bod­ies

The long of it

Adults may have a ten­den­cy to get set in their ways have been doing it this way for a long time and it works, so why change? Turns out, though, that change can be a way to keep aging brains healthy. At the April Learn­ing & the Brain con­fer­ence, the theme of which was neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty, I attend­ed sev­er­al ses­sions on adult learn­ing. Here’s what the experts are say­ing.

Read the rest of this entry »

PBS: Secret Life of the Brain and Neuroplasticity

Thanks to our 3-month-old daugh­ter, my wife and I have been learn­ing much about baby brains. Most­ly learn­ing on the job, as you can imag­ine.

We just watched a very nice PBS series titled Secret Life of the Brain that cov­ers brain devel­op­ment across the lifes­pan: babies, kids, teenagers, adults, seniors. A bit dat­ed (2002) but excel­lent watch­ing even today.

Read the rest of this entry »

12 People Who Are Changing Your Retirement

Quick link to an excel­lent and inspir­ing arti­cle in the Wall Street Jour­nal: 12 Peo­ple Who Are Chang­ing Your Retire­ment
(open access dur­ing a week)

Read the rest of this entry »

The Brain Fitness Program DVD (Michael Merzenich)

The most pop­u­lar ques­tion we got when we announced that PBS had a great spe­cial on Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram and Neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty in Decem­ber was, when will the DVD be avail­able?

Well, final­ly here it comes. You can click on the image or the title to go over to PBS shop to learn more and buy it.

The Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram DVD ($24.95, shipped by 02/01/08). “This pro­gram presents a work­out to help view­ers get their brains in bet­ter shape. The Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram is based on neu­ro-plas­tic­i­ty, the abil­i­ty of the brain to change and adapt — even rewire itself. In the past two years, a team of sci­en­tists has devel­oped com­put­er-based stim­u­lus sets that dri­ve ben­e­fi­cial chem­i­cal, phys­i­cal and func­tion­al changes in the brain. Dr. Michael Merzenich of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia San Fran­cis­co and his col­leagues around the world have been lead­ing this effort; he brings the research find­ings, along with a sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly based set of brain exer­cis­es, to PBS view­ers in this inno­v­a­tive and life-alter­ing pro­gram. Peter Coy­ote nar­rates. ”

To pur­chase: click Here.

You can watch a 3-minute trail­er: click here.

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Note: How can any­one take care of his or her brain when every week brings a new bar­rage of arti­cles and stud­ies which seem to con­tra­dict each oth­er?

Do sup­ple­ments improve mem­o­ry? Do you need both phys­i­cal and men­tal exer­cise –or is one of them enough? Why is man­ag­ing stress so impor­tant to atten­tion and mem­o­ry? Which brain train­ing approach, if any, is worth one’s time and mon­ey?

SharpBrainsGuide_3DIf you have these ques­tions, check out this new book, The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness:

“Final­ly, an insight­ful and com­plete overview of the sci­ence, prod­ucts and trends to debunk old myths and help us all main­tain our brains in top shape. A must-read”
Glo­ria Cavanaugh, for­mer Pres­i­dent & CEO of the Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging and found­ing Board mem­ber of the Nation­al Alliance for Care­giv­ing
Kudos for an excel­lent resource! This Sharp­Brains Guide is full of top notch infor­ma­tion, pro­vides prac­ti­cal tips and helps sep­a­rate hype from hope in the brain health are­na.”
Eliz­a­beth Edger­ly, Ph.D., Chief Pro­gram Offi­cer, Alzheimer’s Asso­ci­a­tion
“A mas­ter­ful guide to the brain train­ing rev­o­lu­tion. Promis­es to stim­u­late a much need­ed con­ver­sa­tion that will nudge soci­ety to build a new brain fit­ness cul­ture on sol­id, research-based, foun­da­tions.”
P. Murali Doraiswamy MD, Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chi­a­try, Duke Uni­ver­si­ty and Co-author of The Alzheimer’s Action Plan

Watch All Recordings Now (40+ Speakers, 12+ Hours)

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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