Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Growing concern (and hope) about astronauts’ cognitive health during spaceflight

NASA astro­naut Scott Kel­ly checks out the Microsoft HoloLens aboard a space sta­tion on Feb­ru­ary 20, 2016. (Pho­to by NASA via Get­ty Images)


About the con­cern: Brain MRI scans may help NASA plan safer mis­sions to space (Health Imag­ing):

Not a lot is known about cog­ni­tive impair­ment in humans dur­ing space­flight,” Don­na R. Roberts, MD, Med­ical Uni­ver­si­ty of South Carolina’s Depart­ment of Radi­ol­o­gy, said in a state­ment Read the rest of this entry »

What cognitive skills are for (or, is the Internet making us dumber?)


(Click on the image above to play with the “giga­pan” NASA  built using 36,000 “self­ies”)

NASA Releas­es Earth Day ‘Glob­al Self­ie’ Mosa­ic (press release):

For Earth Day this year, NASA invit­ed peo­ple around the world to step out­side to take a “self­ie” and share it with the world on social media. NASA released Thurs­day a new view of our home plan­et cre­at­ed entire­ly from those pho­tos Read the rest of this entry »

The future of intuitive technology and neurocognitive care?

accelespellEnvi­sion­ing The Future With Inven­tor Cori Lath­an (NPR): “Com­put­ers were cre­at­ed to be use­ful tools, but all too often it’s still a chore to get tech­nol­o­gy to do our bidding…For exam­ple, work­ing as an engi­neer with astro­nauts at NASA, Lath­an real­ized that the phys­i­cal chal­lenges of liv­ing in space in some ways mir­ror the chal­lenges of liv­ing with a dis­abil­i­ty on Earth. Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Rules: science and practice

Inter­est­ed a good, non-tech­ni­cal, sum­ma­ry of the impli­ca­tions of recent brain sci­ence in Brain Rules-John Medinaour dai­ly lives? Biol­o­gist John Med­i­na offers that in his arti­cle below (as part of our Author Speaks Series) and in his new book: Brain Rules: 12 Prin­ci­ples for Sur­viv­ing and Thriv­ing at Work, Home, and School. Enjoy!

(Note: John will be in the Bay Area on April 8 and 9th, speak­ing at Google and San Jose Rotary).


Brain Rules

– By John Med­i­na

Go ahead and mul­ti­ply the num­ber 8,388,628 x 2 in your head. Can you do it in a few sec­onds? There is a young man who can dou­ble that num­ber 24 times in the space of a few sec­onds. He gets it right every time. There is a boy who can tell you the exact time of day at any moment, even in his sleep. There is a girl who can cor­rect­ly deter­mine the exact dimen­sions of an object 20 feet away. There is a child who at age 6 drew such life­like and pow­er­ful pic­tures, she got her own show at a gallery on Madi­son Avenue. Yet none of these chil­dren could be taught to tie their shoes. Indeed, none of them have an IQ greater than 50.

The brain is an amaz­ing thing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mild cognitive impairment and Memory Problems: exciting new research

Very quick post: just want to alert you of 2 news pieces on MCI and Alzheimer’s pre­ven­tion-relat­ed research.

Fre­quent Brain Stim­u­la­tion In Old Age Reduces Risk Of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease

  • The study found a cog­ni­tive­ly active per­son in old age was 2.6 times less like­ly to devel­op demen­tia and Alzheimer’s dis­ease than a cog­ni­tive­ly inac­tive per­son in old age. This asso­ci­a­tion remained after con­trol­ling for past cog­ni­tive activ­i­ty, life­time socioe­co­nom­ic sta­tus, and cur­rent social and phys­i­cal activ­i­ty.”
  • Wil­son says the study also found fre­quent cog­ni­tive activ­i­ty dur­ing old age, such as vis­it­ing a library or attend­ing a play, was asso­ci­at­ed with reduced risk of mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment, a tran­si­tion­al stage between nor­mal aging and demen­tia, and less rapid decline in cog­ni­tive func­tion.”

Stress Linked to Mem­o­ry Decline

  • If you want your mind to stay healthy into your gold­en years, don’t wor­ry, be hap­py. That could be the mes­sage of new research that shows those prone to wor­ry, anx­i­ety or depres­sion are more like­ly to devel­op mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment (MCI), a con­di­tion often con­sid­ered a pre­cur­sor to the more-debil­i­tat­ing Alzheimer’s dis­ease.”
  • MCI is now rec­og­nized as a very ear­ly sign of incip­i­ent Alzheimer’s dis­ease,” said Robert S. Wil­son, lead author of the study and a neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Dis­ease Cen­ter in Chica­go. “We found that among healthy elder­ly peo­ple with­out evi­dence of cog­ni­tive dys­func­tion at the begin­ning of the study, chron­ic dis­tress pre­dict­ed the devel­op­ment of MCI.”
  • This is con­sis­tent with 20 years of lit­er­a­ture on the sub­ject,” added Dr. Sam Gandy, chair­man of the Alzheimer’s Asso­ci­a­tion’s med­ical and sci­en­tif­ic advi­so­ry coun­cil and direc­tor of the Far­ber Insti­tute for Neu­ro­sciences at Thomas Jef­fer­son Uni­ver­si­ty in Philadel­phia.”

What to do? well, you can check out these Easy Steps to Improve Your Brain Health Now. And check this nice arti­cle on New men­tal exer­cis­es, games can keep aging minds fit.

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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