“…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 more…] about One more study shows “brain supplements” don’t work to enhance brain health and function
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:
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?
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 more…] about Transcript: Dr. Gary Small on Enhancing Memory and the Brain
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:
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.
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.
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 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 you already read The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness?
1. Pick the only part of your body that does not contain fat:
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
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
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 more…] about Brain Quiz: Do You Have a Brain?
Roundup 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 more…] about Alzheimer’s Prevention and Diagnostic Tests
Over the last months, thanks to the traffic growth of SharpBrains.com (over 100,000 unique visitors per month these days, THANK YOU for visiting today and please come back!), a number of proactive book agents, publishers and authors have contacted us to inform us of their latest brain-related books. We have taken a look at many books, wrote reviews of The Dana Guide to Brain Health book review‚ and Best of the Brain from Scientific American, and interviewed scientists such as Judith Beck, Robert Emmons and James Zull.
Now we are launching a new Author Speaks Series to provide a platform for leading scientists and experts writing high-quality brain-related books to reach a wide audience. We are honored to start the series with an article by Larry McCleary, M.D, former acting Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Denver Children’s Hospital, and author of The Brain Trust Program: A Scientifically Based Three-Part Plan to Improve Memory, Elevate Mood, Enhance Attention, Alleviate Migraine and Menopausal Symptoms, and Boost Mental Energy (Perigee Trade, 2007).
Without further ado, let’s enjoy Dr. McCleary’s article:
Brain Evolution and Why it is Meaningful Today to Improve Our Brain Health
You may feel overwhelmed by the stream of seemingly contradictory suggestions regarding the best way to maintain mental clarity as you age. Based on an analysis of seminal factors in the development of modern brain anatomy, I believe it is possible to make some very compelling recommendations for growing big brains, enhancing their function, and making them resistant to the aging process. These may be loosely categorized as factors pertaining to the mental or physical attributes of the brain. Although they are not truly independent entities, such a conceptualization provides a basis for the generation of brain healthy prescriptions. Diet, physical exercise, and stress reduction enhance neuronal resilience. Sleep and mental stimulation are vital for cognitive ability, learning, and memory.
Diet: Follow a modern shore-based/marine diet including seafood in its most general sense, non-starchy vegetables of all colors, berries, and eggs. Other sources of lean protein containing long-chain omega 3 fatty acids such as free range beef, chicken, bison, or elk are nutritious alternatives.
Physical exercise (Think fight or flight — activity.): Include all types. Aerobic activities such as swimming, bicycling, walking, or hiking for promotion of vascular health and weight control; resistance training for promotion of neurotrophic factors, naturally occurring compounds that make brain cells more resistant to aging, such as IGF‑1 (Insulin-like growth factor‑1) and BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor); and balance, coordination, and agility training such as ping-pong, balance beam, trampoline, and jumping rope to enhance cognitive speed and motor skills.
Stress Control: From an evolutionary perspective, stressors (such as meeting a cave bear) and intense physical activity (running or fighting) were brief in duration and usually occurred together. Modern stressors (psychological or emotional stress) tend to be unremitting and are generally uncoupled from the physical (fight or flight) component, meaning stress develops without any associated physical activity. Such intense physical pursuits are now called exercise. Not surprisingly, exercise is a perfect physiologic antidote for stress due to its beneficial impact on cortisol (the stress hormone) and blood pressure and should be incorporated into any program of stress reduction.
Adequate sleep: The body needs rest, but the brain requires sleep. Acute or chronic sleep deprivation causes devastating short and long-term consequences to brain anatomy (synaptic loss) and function (memory and learning difficulties). Off-line information processing and memory consolidation are additional sleep-related benefits.
Mental stimulation: Brain-training, a cognitively challenging lifestyle, novelty, and socialization are vital for the promotion of neuronal plasticity and neurogenesis (the formation of new nerve cells and neuronal connections), the enhancement of specific brain functions such as memory, and the development of cognitive reserve — additional mental processing potential that may be brought online when needed.
The combination of these recommendations, each of which was instrumental in the transformation from primitive to modern nervous systems, provides a template for the most logical approach for enhancing mental function and resisting neurodegeneration as we travel through life.
The Evolutionary Rationale
The human brain clearly has the genetic potential for dramatic expansion. This was illustrated about [Read more…] about Brain Evolution and Why it is Meaningful Today to Improve Our Brain Health