Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Neuroimaging studies: In soccer, over one thousand “headers” per year can lead to brain injury and cognitive impairment

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Study indi­cates there may be a head­ing thresh­old above which the risk for brain dam­age increas­es sig­nif­i­cant­ly: An Inter­view with Michael L. Lip­ton (Dana Foun­da­tion):

Dr. Lip­ton pio­neered the use of MRI tech­nol­o­gy to detect mild trau­mat­ic brain injuries (mTBI) from con­cus­sions. Such injuries, which may bring cog­ni­tive and behav­ioral impair­ment and even neu­rode­gen­er­a­tion lat­er in life in some indi­vid­u­als, is increas­ing­ly seen as a major pub­lic health prob­lem Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Injury Care: Treatment and Reimbursement Challenges

Gif­fords May Get Bet­ter Brain-Injury Care Than Most of Her Con­stituents (ProP­ub­li­ca):

Despite the need for more research, Gif­fords’ sto­ry shows the poten­tial of the treat­ments now avail­able. But accord­ing to Susan Con­nors, the pres­i­dent of the Brain Injury Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­i­ca, what treat­ment you receive depends heav­i­ly on your state, insur­ance plan (or lack of one), hos­pi­tal and the peo­ple advo­cat­ing for you.” Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive Health and Development: April Round-Up

Round-up of April arti­cles and news on neu­ro­science, brain devel­op­ment and cog­ni­tive health:

Games for Health Con­fer­ences to host new Cog­ni­tive Health Track:

For the first time, a new Cog­ni­tive Health track ‑Pow­ered by Sharp­Brains- will cov­er eleven brain fit­ness and cog­ni­tive health top­ics dur­ing the 5th Annu­al Games for Health Con­fer­ence. The cur­rent price is $379, with a 15% dis­count if you use code “sharp09” (with­out quo­ta­tion) when you reg­is­ter Here. Details: June 11–12th at the Hyatt Har­bor­side Hotel in Boston, MA.

Bilin­gual Babies Get Head Start — Before They Can Talk:

- “Unlike the mono­lin­gual group, the bilin­gual group was able to suc­cess­ful­ly learn a new sound type and use it to pre­dict where each char­ac­ter would pop up…The bilin­gual babies’ skill applies to more than just switch­ing between lan­guages. Mehler likened this appar­ent­ly enhanced cog­ni­tive abil­i­ty to a brain select­ing “the right tool for the right operation”—also called exec­u­tive func­tion.”

- “In this basic process, the brain, ever flex­i­ble, nim­bly switch­es from one learned response to anoth­er as sit­u­a­tions change…Monolingual babies hone this abil­i­ty lat­er in their young lives, Mehler sug­gests.”

Study shows how kids’ stress hurts mem­o­ry:

Now, research is pro­vid­ing what could be cru­cial clues to explain how child­hood pover­ty trans­lates into dim­mer chances of suc­cess: Read the rest of this entry »

Brain/ Cognitive Enhancement with drugs… and cereal?

Sev­er­al recent arti­cles and news:

Brain Gain: the under­ground world of “neu­roen­hanc­ing” drugs (The New York­er)

- “Alex remains enthu­si­as­tic about Adder­all, but he also has a slight­ly jaun­diced cri­tique of it. “It only works as a cog­ni­tive enhancer inso­far as you are ded­i­cat­ed to accom­plish­ing the task at hand,” he said. “The num­ber of times I’ve tak­en Adder­all late at night and decid­ed that, rather than start­ing my paper, hey, I’ll orga­nize my entire music library! I’ve seen peo­ple obses­sive­ly clean­ing their rooms on it.” Alex thought that gen­er­al­ly the drug helped him to bear down on his work, but it also tend­ed to pro­duce writ­ing with a char­ac­ter­is­tic flaw. “Often, I’ve looked back at papers I’ve writ­ten on Adder­all, and they’re ver­bose. They’re bela­bor­ing a point, try­ing to cre­ate this air­tight argu­ment, when if you just got to your point in a more direct man­ner it would be stronger. But with Adder­all I’d pro­duce two pages on some­thing that could be said in a cou­ple of sen­tences.” Nev­er­the­less, his Adder­all-assist­ed papers usu­al­ly earned him at least a B. They got the job done. As Alex put it, “Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty is a good thing.”

Eschew Enhance­ment: Mem­o­ry-boost­ing drugs should not be made avail­able to the gen­er­al pub­lic (Tech­nol­o­gy Review)

- “Who might use them? Stu­dents will be tempt­ed, as might play­ers of any game involv­ing count­ing or remem­ber­ing (chess, bridge, and even pok­er and black­jack). Cer­tain pro­fes­sion­als might desire a boost in atten­tion or mem­o­ry”

- “But these poten­tial­ly pow­er­ful med­i­cines should not be made avail­able to every­one, for two rea­sons. The first is safe­ty. The last sev­er­al years have pro­vid­ed many exam­ples of side effects, some life-threatening…The sec­ond rea­son is that we still know rel­a­tive­ly lit­tle about learn­ing and mem­o­ry and how they are inte­grat­ed to make judg­ments and deci­sions.”

Kel­logg Set­tles with FTC over Health Claims on Cere­al (Pro­mo Mag­a­zine)

- “The FTC said that Kel­logg pro­mot­ed the cere­al as “clin­i­cal­ly shown to improve kids’ atten­tive­ness by near­ly 20%,” when in fact the study referred to in the ads showed dif­fer­ent results.”

- “The study found that only about half the chil­dren who ate Frost­ed Mini-Wheats for break­fast showed any improve­ment in atten­tive­ness, and only about one in nine improved by 20% or more, the FTC said.”

Brain shock: The new Gulf War syn­drome (New Sci­en­tist)

- “The US army also screens for symp­toms of mTBI when sol­diers return from a tour of duty, and again three months lat­er. The army is also car­ry­ing out neu­rocog­ni­tive tests on recruits before they are sent into com­bat so that doc­tors can check for dete­ri­o­ra­tion in lat­er tests.”

- “When it comes to com­bat trau­ma, unpick­ing the phys­i­cal from the psy­cho­log­i­cal is bound to be high­ly com­plex. As Barth says, per­haps the great­est dan­ger could be in try­ing to sim­pli­fy the pic­ture too much. “I rec­om­mend that we get com­fort­able with the com­plex­i­ty,” he says, “and treat it as a chal­lenge.”

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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