Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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One more study shows “brain supplements” don’t work to enhance brain health and function

Omega 3 supplementsWhy Can’t Fish Oil Sup­ple­ments Keep Our Brains Sharp? (NPR):

…why is it that a new study of old­er women pub­lished in the jour­nal Neu­rol­o­gy finds that omega-3s may not ben­e­fit think­ing skills or help fend off cog­ni­tive decline?…As study author Eric Ammann, of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Iowa, points out in an email, “most ran­dom­ized tri­als of omega-3 sup­ple­ments have not found an effect on cog­ni­tive func­tion.” Read the rest of this entry »

Transcript: Dr. Gary Small on Enhancing Memory and the Brain

Below you can find the full tran­script of our engag­ing Q&A ses­sion today on mem­ory, mem­ory tech­niques and brain-healthy lifestyles with Dr. Gary  Small, Direc­tor of UCLA’s Mem­ory Clin­ic and Cen­ter on Aging, and author of The Mem­ory Bible. You can learn more about his book  Here, and learn more about upcom­ing Brain Fit­ness Q&A Ses­sions Here.

Per­haps one of the best ques­tions and answers was:

2:55
Ques­tion: Gary, you’ve worked many years in this field. Let us in on the secret. What do YOU do you, per­son­al­ly, to pro­mote your own brain fit­ness?
2:57
Answer: I try to get at least 30 min­utes of aer­o­bic con­di­tion­ing each day; try to min­i­mize my stress by stay­ing con­nect­ed with fam­i­ly and friends; gen­er­al­ly eat a brain healthy diet (fish, fruits, veg­eta­bles), and try to bal­ance my online time with my offline time. Which reminds me, I think it is almost time for me to sign off line. 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!

Brain Quiz: Do You Have a Brain?

Have you already read The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness?

Let’s see…brain health and brain fitness

1. Pick the only part of your body that does not con­tain fat:

a. Arm
b. Thigh
c. Brain
d. None

Answer: d) Fats are also present in the brain: in neu­rons’ mem­branes to keep them flex­i­ble. These fats are the omega 3 and omega 6 fat­ty acids mol­e­cules. (Page 32 of the book)

2. Pick the only food prod­uct that doesn’t con­tain Omega-3 fat­ty acids

a. Tuna
b. Wal­nut
c. Kiwi
d. Jel­ly Beans

Answer: d) Fat­ty acids can be found in cold-water fish (such as mack­er­el, her­ring, salmon, and tuna), kiwi, and wal­nuts. (Page 33)

3. Pick the only food prod­uct that doesn’t con­tain antiox­i­dants

a. Olive oil
b. Milk
c. Nuts
d. Berries

Answer: b) Antiox­i­dants can be found in veg­etable oils, nuts, green leafy veg­eta­bles (e.g., spinach), cit­rus fruit, and berries. (Page 33)

4. Chron­ic Stress can­not:

a. Pre­vent you from being cre­ative
b. Kill brain cells
c. Pre­vent you from sleep­ing
d. Kill liv­er cells

Answer: d) Pro­longed expo­sure to adren­al steroid hor­mones like cor­ti­sol, which is released into the blood stream when we are stressed, can lead to cell death and block the for­ma­tion of new neu­rons. (Page 35)

5. What type of phys­i­cal exer­cise is the best for your brain health?

a. Weight lift­ing
b. Aer­o­bic exer­cis­es
c. Flex­i­bil­i­ty exer­cis­es Read the rest of this entry »

Alzheimer’s Prevention and Diagnostic Tests

Brain Health NewsRoundup of sev­er­al insight­ful arti­cles and recent research:

Fish Oil May Help Pre­vent Alzheimer’s (Wash­ing­ton Post)

- “The omega-3 fat­ty acids found in fish oil might play an impor­tant role in pre­vent­ing Alzheimer’s dis­ease, accord­ing to a research team at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Los Ange­les (UCLA).”

- “Pub­lish­ing in the Dec. 26 issue of the Jour­nal of Neu­ro­science, the sci­en­tists demon­strat­ed that the omega-3 fat­ty acid docosa­hexaenoic acid (DHA) increas­es the pro­duc­tion of LR11, a pro­tein that is found at reduced lev­els in Alzheimer’s patients. LR11 is known to destroy the pro­tein that forms the plaques asso­ci­at­ed with the dis­ease, the researchers explained.”
— “Alzheimer’s is a debil­i­tat­ing neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease that caus­es mem­o­ry loss, demen­tia, per­son­al­i­ty change and ulti­mate­ly death. The Alzheimer’s Asso­ci­a­tion esti­mates that 5.1 mil­lion Amer­i­cans are cur­rent­ly afflict­ed with the dis­ease. The asso­ci­a­tion pre­dicts that may increase to between 11 mil­lion and 16 mil­lion peo­ple by 2050.”

Find­ing Alzheimer’s Before a Mind Fails’ (New York Times)

- “Ms. Ker­ley is part of an ambi­tious new sci­en­tif­ic effort to find ways to detect Alzheimer’s dis­ease at the ear­li­est pos­si­ble moment. Although the dis­ease may seem like a calami­ty that strikes sud­den­ly in old age, sci­en­tists now think it begins long before the mind fails.”

- “Many sci­en­tists believe the best hope of progress, maybe the only hope, lies in Read the rest of this entry »

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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