Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


The Age of Mass Intelligence?

We’ve all heard about dumb­ing down. But there is plen­ty of evi­dence that the oppo­site is also true. Is this, in fact, the age of mass intel­li­gence?”

Fas­ci­nat­ing arti­cle in Intel­li­gent Life, a pub­li­ca­tion by The Econ­o­mist:


- “Mil­lions more peo­ple are going to muse­ums, lit­er­ary fes­ti­vals and operas; mil­lions more watch demand­ing tele­vi­sion pro­grammes or down­load seri­ous-mind­ed pod­casts. Not all these activ­i­ties count as mind-stretch­ing, of course. Some are down­right fluffy. But, says Don­na Ren­ney, the chief exec­u­tive of the Chel­tenham Fes­ti­vals, audi­ences increas­ing­ly want “the buzz you get from work­ing that lit­tle bit hard­er”. This is a dra­mat­ic yet often unrecog­nised devel­op­ment. “When peo­ple talk and write about cul­ture,” says Ira Glass, the cre­ator of the riv­et­ing pub­lic-radio show “This Amer­i­can Life”, “it’s apoc­a­lyp­tic. We tell our­selves that every­thing is in bad shape. But the oppo­site is true. There’s an abun­dance of real­ly inter­est­ing things going on all around us.”

- “Third, what does all this say about the wide­spread view that soci­eties are dumb­ing down, edu­ca­tion­al stan­dards are crum­bling and people’s abil­i­ty to con­cen­trate is col­laps­ing? The reply must be that it can­not be true across the board and that for a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber, the oppo­site is the case: peo­ple want more intel­lec­tu­al­ly demand­ing things to see and hear, not few­er. Sure­ly both things are hap­pen­ing at once: part of the pop­u­la­tion is dumb­ing down, part is wis­ing up.”


For a relat­ed blog arti­cle: Exer­cise your brain in the Cog­ni­tive Age

Looking inside the Brain: is my Brain Fit?

MRI scanner neuroimaging

Today we have the plea­sure to have Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon, one of our new Expert Con­trib­u­tors, write her first arti­cle here. Enjoy, and please com­ment so we hear your thoughts and engage in a nice con­ver­sa­tion.

(Btw, if you notice some sim­i­lar­i­ty between the col­ors in the fMRI scan below and the look & feel of this site…well, the rea­son is that those orange-grey fMRI col­ors were our inspi­ra­tion! the orange col­or denotes the most brain acti­va­tion).

- Alvaro


You have prob­a­bly heard about CAT and MRI scans (pro­duced thanks to machines like the one to the top right). So you know that these are tech­niques that doc­tors and sci­en­tists use to look inside the brain.

You have prob­a­bly also heard about brain fit­ness and how impor­tant it is to keep a healthy brain to be pro­tect­ed against age-relat­ed and dis­ease-relat­ed brain dam­ages.

The ques­tion we ask here is the fol­low­ing: Can we use brain scans to eval­u­ate how fit the brain is? Before we try to answer this ques­tion let’s start with the basics and try to under­stand how brain scans work.

Brain imag­ing, also called neu­roimag­ing, allows one to Read the rest of this entry »

Discover the Brain

Hot off the press!

We just found on the new­stand an amaz­ing spe­cial issue of Dis­cov­er mag­a­zine on The Brain-An Own­er’s Man­u­al (Spring 2007), with fas­ci­nat­ing arti­cles on how the mind changes from infan­cy to old age, female vs. male brains (yes, we men have brains too), videogames as brain train­ing (by Steven John­son), an arti­cle titled “24 hours in the life of the brain”, the “most mag­nif­i­cent neu­rons, and much much more.

A bit tech­ni­cal, but not too much for any­one who reads pop­u­lar sci­ence books. It will prob­a­bly become a clas­sic for brain afi­ciona­dos. We can not find any men­tion of it in, so we will keep our eyes open and link to the index and more info as soon as we find some­where to link to… 

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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