Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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What’s normal? When it comes to the brain, it’s hard to say, and that’s why we need to study global neurodiversity

In a small vil­lage in India—a place so remote it has no elec­tric­i­ty, no telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tem, and no cars or buses—a research work­er pre­pares to place an EEG head­set on a female villager’s head. The woman, who earns $3.75 a day labor­ing in a near­by rice pad­dy and who has nev­er ven­tured out­side her vil­lage, eyes the futur­is­tic device with trep­i­da­tion.

Is it going to hurt my head?” she asks.

Sathish, the research work­er, has heard this ques­tion before. In fact, he’s heard sev­er­al sim­i­lar queries from anx­ious vil­lagers who have got­ten scared when they saw the brain­wear.

Will it give me a headache?”

Is it going to give me an elec­tric shock?”

He assures the woman the head­set is pain­less and explains that all she has to do is sit qui­et­ly and allow her mind to wan­der. Sathish gen­tly adjusts an array of elec­trodes on the woman’s head and Read the rest of this entry »

The NeuroGeneration and Humankind’s Quest to Enhance the Brain

Some peo­ple may be uneasy with the idea of “brain enhance­ment,” but the quest to boost our brain­pow­er is noth­ing new; it is an essen­tial part of human nature. Ever since Homo sapi­ens emerged near­ly 200,000 years ago, we have been search­ing for ways to upgrade the hard­ware and wet­ware in our heads, and we’ve been cre­at­ing and using tools to help us do it—physical and cog­ni­tive tools that help us solve prob­lems and com­plete tasks more effi­cient­ly, tools that extend our nat­ur­al abil­i­ties and allow us to do things that weren’t pos­si­ble before. Lan­guage, num­bers, sci­ence, education—these are all tools we’ve devel­oped to improve our men­tal capac­i­ties.

Our most pow­er­ful tool for nav­i­gat­ing the ever-chang­ing world, how­ev­er, is the brain itself. Read the rest of this entry »

Study finds lifelong neurogenesis in the hippocampus, but rates decline with age and, especially, Alzheimer’s disease

Recent, imma­ture neu­rons (in red) and old­er, mature neu­rons (in blue) in the hip­pocam­pus of a 68-year-old’s brain. Cred­it: CSIC

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Old brains still make neu­rons, study finds, offer­ing a pos­si­ble way to pro­tect against Alzheimer’s (STAT):

Reports of old brains’ decrepi­tude have been great­ly exag­ger­at­ed, sci­en­tists report­ed on Mon­day, unveil­ing results that con­tra­dict a much-dis­cussed 2018 study and instead sup­port the idea that human gray mat­ter is capa­ble of gen­er­at­ing new neu­rons up to the ninth decade of life.

The research, pub­lished in Nature Med­i­cine, also found that old brains from peo­ple with­out demen­tia have much high­er rates of such neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis than Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Teaser: Ready to stimulate those neurons in your temporal lobes?

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Lan­guage is processed in the tem­po­ral lobes, on the sides of your brain, next to you tem­ples.

Dif­fer­ent areas in the tem­po­ral lobes (most­ly on the left side) deal with dif­fer­ent aspects of lan­guage. For instance, the Wer­nicke area sup­ports your abil­i­ty to under­stand words. The Bro­ca area, on the oth­er hand, is the one that allows you to pro­duce lan­guage or artic­u­late words.

Let’s try a fun brain teas­er to help exer­cise your brain’s lan­guage areas Read the rest of this entry »

DARPA paving the way for a future brain-based Internet

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DARPA Wants Brain Inter­faces for Able-Bod­ied Warfight­ers (IEEE Spec­trum):

Until now, the neu­ro­science pro­grams at DARPA, the mad sci­ence wing of the Depart­ment of Defense, have focused on tech­nolo­gies for warfight­ers who have returned home with dis­abil­i­ties of the body or brain. For exam­ple, pro­grams have fund­ed research on pros­thet­ic limbs that are wired into the ner­vous sys­tem and brain implants that could treat post-trau­mat­ic stress dis­or­der.

But the way the mil­i­tary fights wars is chang­ing, and so must DARPA’s pri­or­i­ties Read the rest of this entry »

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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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