Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Daniel Ferguson: Big Data opens a world of opportunity in health, psychology, neuroscience

Daniel Ferguson

Daniel Fer­gu­son

Please tell us about your inter­est in applied brain sci­ence. What areas are you most inter­est­ed in? 
I am most­ly intrigued by brain train­ing and behav­ioral response using neuro/biofeedback and augmented/virtual real­i­ty.

What is one impor­tant thing you are work­ing on now, and where can peo­ple learn more about it? 
We are work­ing on ways to lever­age aug­ment­ed real­i­ty for ful­ly immer­sive expe­ri­ences that can impact mood. Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Time to become mental capitalists and invest in our brains?

Time for the Novem­ber edi­tion of the month­ly Sharp­Brains eNewslet­ter, fea­tur­ing a wealth of resources and insights on how to invest in our brains, includ­ing top­ics such as brain health, med­i­ta­tion, neu­ropsy­chol­o­gy, brain train­ing games, chemo brain, dyslex­ia, neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty, cog­ni­tive bias­es, stress, and more. Not to for­get a cou­ple of fun teasers. Enjoy!

Brain Fit­ness Q&A Ses­sions:

The Big Pic­ture:

New Research:

New Books:

Brain Teasers:

Thank you for your inter­est and atten­tion and have a great Decem­ber.

Research on Applied Neuroplasticity: Rewiring the Brain to Ease Pain

Rewiring the Brain to Ease Pain (Wall Street Jour­nal):-

How you think about pain can have a major impact on how it feels. That’s the intrigu­ing con­clu­sion neu­ro­sci­en­tists are reach­ing as scan­ning tech­nolo­gies let them see how the brain process­es pain. That’s also the prin­ci­ple behind many mind-body approach­es to chron­ic pain that are prov­ing sur­pris­ing­ly effec­tive in clin­i­cal tri­als. Some are as old as med­i­ta­tion, hyp­no­sis and tai chi, while oth­ers are far more high tech.”

Link to Study Towards a phys­i­ol­o­gy-based mea­sure of pain (PloS One): Read the rest of this entry »

Grand Rounds: Best of Health and Medical Blogging

Wel­come to a new edi­tion of Grand Rounds blog car­ni­val, the week­ly edi­tion of what’s best in the health and med­ical blo­gos­phere. This week, twen­ty four blog­gers share data, insights, ques­tions, reflec­tions and more. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

From Meditation to MBSR

meditationVery nice Los Ange­les Times arti­cle on the grow­ing research behind, and accep­tance of, med­i­ta­tion in main­stream med­i­cine (through what is called Mind­ful­ness-Based Stress Reduc­tion, or MBSR): Doc­tor’s orders: Cross your legs and say ‘Om’.

A few quotes:

- “It appears to work. In a new study, pub­lished in Octo­ber in the jour­nal Pain, Natalia Morone, an assis­tant pro­fes­sor of med­i­cine at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Pitts­burgh, tracked the effect of mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion on chron­ic low­er back pain in adults 65 and old­er. The ran­dom­ized, con­trolled clin­i­cal tri­al found that the 37 peo­ple who par­tic­i­pat­ed in an eight-week mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion pro­gram had sig­nif­i­cant­ly greater pain accep­tance and phys­i­cal func­tion than a sim­i­lar size con­trol group. Sub­se­quent­ly, the con­trol group took the same eight-week pro­gram and had sim­i­lar results.”

- “As a med­i­ta­tor, I learned the val­ue of being present and how that allows clar­i­ty in pro­cess­ing our dai­ly lives,” Zeltzer said. “The clin­i­cal team sees chil­dren with chron­ic pain who are very dif­fi­cult to treat and have been to many oth­er spe­cial­ists and feel dis­cour­aged by the time they come to us. I felt that learn­ing to med­i­tate would help the team feel a sense of bal­ance and equa­nim­i­ty in the face of the anx­i­ety and dis­tress brought to them by these patients and their fam­i­lies.”

- “SCIENTISTS have stud­ied the effects of med­i­ta­tion on pain for near­ly three decades, ever since 1979, when MIT-trained micro­bi­ol­o­gist Jon Kabat-Zinn, pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus and founder of the Cen­ter for Mind­ful­ness at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mass­a­chu­setts Med­ical Cen­ter, used mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion in a 10-week pro­gram to teach chron­ic pain patients how to cope. Kabat-Zin­n’s 1990 best­seller, “Full Cat­a­stro­phe Liv­ing,” described the tech­nique he used — mind­ful­ness-based stress reduc­tion, or MBSR.”

Full arti­cle: Doc­tor’s orders: Cross your legs and say ‘Om’

Relat­ed posts:

- Mind­ful­ness-Based Stress Reduc­tion (MBSR) and oth­er stress man­age­ment tech­niques

- Mind & Life Insti­tute

Pic: Den­nis Col­lette, via Flickr

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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