Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Let’s discuss how to Outsmart Smart Technology to Reclaim our Health and Focus

I’m excit­ed to share that the upcom­ing 2019 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit will fea­ture, on May 8th, a fas­ci­nat­ing pre­sen­ta­tion and dis­cus­sion with Dr. Mar­garet Mor­ris, who spent 13 years as a researcher at Intel and recent­ly wrote a very time­ly book — Left to Our Own Devices: Out­smart­ing Smart Tech­nol­o­gy to Reclaim Our Rela­tion­ships, Health, and Focus (MIT Press, 2018).

Please learn more about the fan­tas­tic Sum­mit Agen­da and con­sid­er join­ing us!

To bet­ter under­stand Dr. Mor­ris’ work and insights you can read this great book review over at Psy­chi­atric Times:

Mor­ris is a skill­ful sto­ry­teller and takes that chal­lenge to task. Across eight easy-to-read chap­ters, she illus­trates how peo­ple, most like­ly younger users, “hack” tech­nolo­gies to fos­ter con­nec­tion, mind­ful­ness, and well-being. The chap­ters are cen­tered around a col­lec­tion of per­son­al nar­ra­tives from peo­ple who per­son­al­ized their dig­i­tal devices and expe­ri­ence pos­i­tive results. Mor­ris records these sto­ries with a gen­tle, engag­ing, and upbeat tone that requires no for­mal back­ground in either men­tal health or tech­nol­o­gy … This book is a good read for today’s dig­i­tal health ini­tia­tives and for clin­i­cians hop­ing to keep up to date in cur­rent trends in men­tal health tech­nol­o­gy. It reminds us that putting a device in a patient’s hands will often lead to out­comes that we could nev­er have imag­ined. It also pokes holes in the once reign­ing view that robot­ics and chat­bots are dehu­man­iz­ing and anti­so­cial. If any­thing, the nar­ra­tives sug­gest that tech­nol­o­gy can help patients mon­i­tor their emo­tion­al states and improve shar­ing and con­nec­tions. The book under­scores how use­ful it is to study how patients use apps in real-world set­tings and to learn from their lived expe­ri­ences.

 

Your take?

Three key insights to celebrate the holidays meaningfully

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There is plen­ty of evi­dence to con­vince us that social con­nec­tion is key to well-being. But rela­tion­ships are com­pli­cat­ed, bring­ing good and bad into our lives. 

Let us share a few key insights from sci­en­tif­ic stud­ies pub­lished in 2018 on top­ics rel­e­vant to lead­ing a mean­ing­ful life. They won’t solve all of our social problems—but we hope they will help you to bet­ter under­stand your­self and the peo­ple around you.

Keep on read­ing!

Time to adopt Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) as a public health intervention to ease depression?

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As near­ly 10,000 fresh­men and trans­fers arrived on cam­pus at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Los Ange­les, last fall, they were invit­ed to try some­thing nev­er before offered dur­ing stu­dent ori­en­ta­tion: depres­sion screen­ing.

The hope, admin­is­tra­tors explained, is that by iden­ti­fy­ing their risk for depres­sion, stu­dents can get the sup­port they need before they face the rig­ors of acad­e­mia and the dis­ori­ent­ing expe­ri­ence of liv­ing away at col­lege. Read the rest of this entry »

Mindfully debunking four meditation myths

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Mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion can help us lead hap­pi­er, health­i­er lives … at least accord­ing to sci­ence. Yet many of us still balk at the idea of prac­tic­ing it our­selves. Per­haps we fear that med­i­ta­tion is too new agey, or it might slow us down or lead to com­pla­cen­cy. Some might fear mind­ful­ness could come at the expense of pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, Read the rest of this entry »

Study finds clear–yet surprisingly different–benefits in 3 types of meditation-based mental training

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As cit­i­zens of the 21st cen­tu­ry, we face many prob­lems that come with an indus­tri­al­ized and glob­al­ized world. I’m not a lawyer or a politi­cian, but a psy­chol­o­gist and neu­ro­sci­en­tist. So research on how to train help­ful men­tal and social capac­i­ties is my way to con­tribute to a more healthy, com­mu­nal, and coop­er­a­tive civ­i­liza­tion.

For the past five years, that research has tak­en the form of the ReSource Project, one of the longest and most com­pre­hen­sive stud­ies on the effects of med­i­ta­tion-based men­tal train­ing to date. Lots of research treats the con­cept of med­i­ta­tion as a sin­gle prac­tice, when in fact med­i­ta­tion encom­pass­es a diver­si­ty of men­tal prac­tices that train dif­fer­ent skills and dif­fer­ent parts of the brain. Our goal was to study the spe­cif­ic effects of Read the rest of this entry »

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