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Encephalon, MetaCarnival

Mike hosts a great new edi­tion of Encephalon neu­ro­science & psy­chol­o­gy blog car­ni­val, avail­able here: #59 edi­tion.

Fyi, Kim at Change of Shift will pub­lish the next edi­tion of MetaCar­ni­val next Mon­day, Decem­ber 1st.

Neuroscience and Psychology Blogs

If you want to dis­cov­er some great neu­ro­science and psy­chol­o­gy blogs, check out Encephalon blog carnival’s 53rd edi­tion, this time host­ed in Africa for the first time!

Neuroscience Q&A: Encephalon #52

Chris hosts a superb edi­tion of Encephalon, pre­sent­ing the arti­cles as an engag­ing and pret­ty com­pre­hen­sive Q&A ses­sion. If you want to read the answers, to the ques­tions below, by some of the best neu­ro­science and psy­chol­o­gy blog­gers, sim­ply vis­it Encephalon 52: Q&A.

Q: What is the rela­tion­ship between neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis and depres­sion?

Q: For that mat­ter, is there a rela­tion­ship between depres­sion and dia­betes?

Q: What is the mol­e­c­u­lar basis of bipo­lar dis­or­der?

Q: Can brain stim­u­la­tion make you a bet­ter dri­ver? Read the rest of this entry »

Neuroscience and Psychology Blog Carnival

A great new edi­tion of this twice-a-month col­lec­tion of best neu­ro­science and psy­chol­o­gy blog posts. Enjoy!

Encephalon #48: The Usu­al Sus­pects, host­ed by Neu­roan­thro­pol­o­gy.

Brain Fitness and SharpBrains.com in the Press

Fitness TrainerGrow­ing media atten­tion on the brain fit­ness field. At least on the “Healthy Aging” seg­ment (I pre­dict the media with catch up soon with devel­op­ments in oth­er areas, from cog­ni­tive train­ing for kids and adults with ADD/ ADHD to stroke and TBI reha­bil­i­ta­tion, to peak per­for­mance for cor­po­rate train­ing).

First, a superb arti­cle by Leslie Walk­er at the Wash­ing­ton Post: Cross-Train­ing Your Brain to Main­tain Its Strength

Quotes:  “A grow­ing body of research sug­gests that men­tal activ­i­ty in mid­dle age and ear­li­er can help lat­er in life. As a result, Web sites such as HappyNeuron.com are spring­ing up to offer online games to peo­ple of all ages, while blogs like SharpBrains.com pro­vide com­men­tary on the fledg­ling indus­try.” (Note: we can also pro­vide com­men­tary on the com­men­tary!)

Peo­ple who engage in very chal­leng­ing tasks — not just in work but dur­ing leisure activ­i­ties such as read­ing, cross­word puz­zles, bridge, chess and trav­el — tend to slow down their men­tal aging process very sig­nif­i­cant­ly,” says Breznitz, who is also a mem­ber of Israel’s leg­is­la­ture and has devel­oped a brain-train­ing pro­gram called Mind­Fit.”

Also con­tribut­ing to the brain work­out boom are state-of-the-art imag­ing tech­niques that have allowed sci­en­tists to val­i­date a the­o­ry devel­oped decades ago. By tak­ing detailed pic­tures of brain neu­rons, sci­en­tists watch parts of the brain that had seemed dor­mant light up and assume new respon­si­bil­i­ties in response to stim­uli. The­o­ret­i­cal­ly, this means brain decay can be halt­ed or even reversed.”

The brain is con­stant­ly rewiring and recal­i­brat­ing itself in response to what you do,” says Hen­ry Mah­ncke, whComputer Classroomo holds a PhD in neu­ro­science and is vice pres­i­dent of Posit Sci­ence, the San Fran­cis­co devel­op­er of the Brain Fit­ness soft­ware. “It remakes itself into a more effi­cient oper­a­tion to do the things you ask it to do.”

Com­ments: the arti­cle touch­es many key points. I espe­cial­ly enjoy the quote “To be effec­tive, sci­en­tists say men­tal activ­i­ty must become pro­gres­sive­ly more chal­leng­ing. Oth­er­wise, the brain adjusts and learns to per­form repet­i­tive tasks with less effort”, a key mes­sage I make often in my lec­tures to explain why well-designed pro­grams can be more effec­tive than doing cross­word puz­zle num­ber 512,789. The arti­cle also relates how many retire­ment com­mu­ni­ties and senior cen­ters and indi­vid­u­als are try­ing out the new brain fit­ness pro­grams com­ing to mar­ket, and shows some healthy skep­ti­cism on the state of the research. Now, this is an invi­ta­tion to the reporter to inter­view neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg to get the full pic­ture of the sci­ence behind the field, since these pro­grams haven’t appeared in a vac­u­um. Our 10-Ques­tion Eval­u­a­tion Check­list can pro­vide use­ful guid­ance to any­one con­sid­er­ing a pro­gram.

Boomers use online brain games to stave off demen­tia (Account­ing­Web)

Quotes: “The Inter­net offers a pletho­ra of brain games for those who don’t sub­scribe to a dai­ly news­pa­per or don’t want to pur­chase games. AARP, for exam­ple, offers plen­ty of free games on its site. More games appear at SharpBrains.com, includ­ing a page that con­tains the Top Ten Neu­ro­science Brain­teasers, and you can sign up to have the Col­lege Board e-mail you the SAT ques­tion of the day.”

The gen­er­a­tion that refus­es to age is not going to sit back and wait for Alzheimer’s Dis­ease and oth­er signs of demen­tia to take hold. Instead, savvy Baby Boomers are expand­ing their minds (no, not the way they did in the 60s) with the aid of the com­put­er, puz­zles, and games. A brain health move­ment is sweep­ing Read the rest of this entry »

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