Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Icon

The ultimate in transfer from brain training to real-world outcomes: Reducing the risk of at-fault accidents by almost 50%

___

Can you train your brain to dri­ve longer into your gold­en years? (CTV News):

For the elder­ly, the loss of a driver’s licence could mean the end of inde­pen­dence and the begin­ning of a decline in health, with far-reach­ing con­se­quences in their dai­ly lives…New assis­tive dri­ving tech­nolo­gies seem like an obvi­ous solu­tion in the years to come, but buy­ing new vehi­cles can be too expen­sive; while options like going for adult dri­ving lessons can be too great a blow to some seniors’ pride. Now, sci­en­tists claim that there’s anoth­er option avail­able to help old­er dri­vers main­tain their abil­i­ties on the road. Read the rest of this entry »

Can Brain Fitness Innovation Enhance Cognitive Rehab and Driving Safety?

Today we share must-read insights from  Kather­ine Sul­li­van, Direc­tor of the Brain Fit­ness Cen­ter at Wal­ter Reed Army Med­ical Cen­ter, and Peter Kissinger, Pres­i­dent of the AAA Foun­da­tion for Traf­fic Safe­ty. Both of them will dis­cuss their ongo­ing work and lessons learned at the upcom­ing 2011 Sharp­Brains Sum­mit (March 30th — April 1st, 2011). The inter­views below were con­duct­ed via email.

Kather­ine Sul­li­van is the Direc­tor of the Brain Fit­ness Cen­ter at Wal­ter Reed Army Med­ical Cen­ter.

1. Kather­ine, how would you define “brain fit­ness” vs. “phys­i­cal fit­ness”?

In our con­text (help­ing active duty ser­vice mem­bers and vet­er­ans recov­er from cog­ni­tive dys­func­tion most asso­ci­at­ed with trau­mat­ic brain injury), I’d say brain fit­ness is the out­come we work towards: the cog­ni­tive resources required to return to duty or rein­te­grate into dai­ly and pro­fes­sion­al lives as much as pos­si­ble. In this sense, Read the rest of this entry »

Update: New Research, Resources, and Teasers for All

Every­one these days is talk­ing about edu­ca­tion and test­ing reform, but why is rel­e­vant brain research often ignored? Which organ if not the brain does the learn­ing and teach­ing part? Renowned edu­ca­tor and brain expert Dr. Robert Syl­west­er shares his rec­om­mend­ed Top Brain Books for Edu­ca­tors and Learn­ers to help inform the con­ver­sa­tion. A must read!

Save the Date: the 2011 Sharp­Brains Sum­mit, the sec­ond edi­tion of our annu­al indus­try and research con­fer­ence, will take place vir­tu­al­ly from March 28th to March 31st 2010. Details will fol­low soon.

With­out fur­ther ado…please enjoy the Novem­ber edi­tion of our month­ly eNewslet­ter:

Research Bites

Foot­ball and brain dam­age: In high-con­tact sports such as foot­ball, even hits not lead­ing to con­cus­sions can affect the brain.

How to take omega‑3: Eat­ing fish (source of omega‑3) reduces risks of demen­tia but DHA sup­ple­ments have no effect on Alzheimer’s symp­toms.

Vit­a­mins against Alzheimer’s? A good review shows that Vit­a­min B has unclear effects on mem­o­ry and cog­ni­tive decline.

Brain train­ing helps old­er dri­vers: tar­get­ed cog­ni­tive train­ing can help reduce old­er dri­vers’ car crash­es. Dr. Mich­e­lon explains why and how.

Resources and Tips

Top 10 Q&A about Child’s Brain Devel­op­ment: In the 1st part of our series, The Brain across the Lifes­pan, we answer 10 ques­tions to help you under­stand the devel­op­ing brain.

Our Brain on Music: Scott Kauf­man shows that there is lit­tle evi­dence that lis­ten­ing to Mozart’s music boosts brain func­tions. Music can have an effect, but we need to do more than lis­ten.

Work­ing Mem­o­ry: What is work­ing mem­ory? Why do we care? How can we best enhance it? Dr. Mich­e­lon answers these ques­tions through con­crete exam­ples and a Q&A.


Books

Rethink­ing Alzheimer’s Pre­ven­tion and Treat­ment: In this excerpt from their recent book “The Alzheimer’s Solu­tion” Ken Kosik and Lin­da Clegg pro­pose a new mod­el for brain care: The “cog­ni­tive shop”.

Did You See the Goril­la? Daniel Simons, co-author of  “The Invis­i­ble Goril­la”, inter­viewed by David DiS­al­vo, tells us about the myth of mul­ti-task­ing.

Cog­ni­tive Devel­op­ment in the first 20 years: In this excerpt from his lat­est book “A Child’s Brain”, Dr. Syl­west­er syn­the­sizes the first 20 years of devel­op­ment.

Council Insights

How will we assess, enhance and repair cog­ni­tion across the lifes­pan?: Learn about a brain health rev­o­lu­tion in the mak­ing and how we can shape it, straight from the new Sharp­Brains Coun­cil for Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion.

Brain Teasers

Brain Games for each Cog­ni­tive Abil­i­ty: To under­stand why we need to go beyond cross­word puz­zles, stim­u­late your whole brain with this selec­tion of brain teasers and games.

Have a great Decem­ber, and please don’t for­get to engage via Face­book and Twit­ter!

Why Brain Training Helps Older Drivers

A study just pub­lished in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Geri­atric Soci­ety has been much pub­li­cized recent­ly (see for instance, this L.A. Times arti­cle). The study showed that a com­put­er-based brain train­ing pro­gram suc­ceed­ed in reduc­ing at-fault car crash­es for old­er dri­vers. The effects of the train­ing last­ed over 6 years.

This result made the news as one of the rare trans­fers of brain train­ing ben­e­fits to every­day life.  Why was this train­ing suc­cess­ful and not oth­ers? Prob­a­bly because brain train­ing needs to be spe­cif­ic and not gen­er­al. If you prac­tice play­ing base­ball you do not expect to get bet­ter at play­ing bas­ket­ball, right? The same is true of brain func­tions: If you train your lan­guage skills, do not expect to get bet­ter at mem­o­riz­ing num­bers. Read the rest of this entry »

Allstate: Can we improve Driver Safety using Posit Science InSight?

Insur­ance com­pa­ny All­state and brain fit­ness soft­ware devel­op­er Posit Sci­ence just announced (see press release Pro­tect­ing Penn­syl­va­nia Dri­vers, One Brain at a Time) a very intel­li­gent ini­tia­tive:

Video exer­cis­es aid dri­ving skills (Chica­go Tri­bune)

-“All­state, which called the Posit pro­gram “poten­tial­ly the next big break­through in auto­mo­bile safe­ty,” said it expects its soft­ware exer­cis­es to reduce risky dri­ving maneu­vers by up to 40 per­cent and improve stop­ping dis­tance by an aver­age of 22 feet when trav­el­ing at 55 miles per hour.”

-“We’ll look to see whether over the next six to nine months there will be a reduc­tion in” the num­ber of acci­dents between the group par­tic­i­pat­ing in the video exer­cis­es and those sit­ting out, said Tom War­den, assis­tant vice pres­i­dent of All­state’s research and plan­ning cen­ter.

Tom Warden Allstate

I am for­tu­nate to inter­view Tom War­den, Assis­tant Vice Pres­i­dent and Leader of Allstate’s Research and Plan­ning Cen­ter, based in Men­lo Park, Cal­i­for­nia.

Alvaro Fer­nan­dez: Tom, thank you for your time. Can you please explain the con­text behind this new ini­tia­tive that you just announced?

Tom War­den: Our research cen­ter is con­stant­ly look­ing for new ideas to improve the dri­ving behav­ior of dri­vers of all ages. Recent­ly we have paid extra empha­sis on ways to improve the safe­ty of old­er dri­vers.

Let me pro­vide some back­ground here. All­state, as a com­pa­ny, has always been one of the pio­neers in help­ing to intro­duce new safe­ty mea­sures. For exam­ple, we were among the pio­neers in the 60s to advo­cate for manda­to­ry use of seat­ing belts, giv­en research stud­ies on the ben­e­fits for dri­vers and pas­sen­gers alike. More recent­ly, we helped lob­by for wider adop­tion of airbags, an effec­tive but expen­sive way of pro­tec­tion that only became main­stream when man­u­fac­tur­ers were required to include them.

Let’s talk now about your agree­ment with Posit Sci­ence. What will hap­pen over the next months?

The first thing we are doing is to con­duct a research study to ana­lyze the real-life impact of Posit Sci­ence InSight, a com­put­er-based cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­gram, on acci­dent rates. We know that as dri­vers get old­er Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Search in our archives

Follow us and Engage via…

twitter_logo_header
RSS Feed

Watch All Recordings Now (40+ Speakers, 12+ Hours)

Enter Your Email to receive Sharp­Brains free, monthly eNewslet­ter:

Join more than 50,000 Sub­scribers and stay informed and engaged.