Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Update: Mind. Learn. Eat. Shape. Play

You may find that too much media cov­er­age on how to take good care of our brains is con­fus­ing, if not poten­tial­ly mis­lead­ing. In The True Sto­ry — is men­tal exer­cise good, bad, or irrel­e­vantDr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon dis­sects for you a recent large study which was large­ly report­ed as bad news when in fact it brings good news (no mir­a­cles, but good news).  We hope you enjoy her insight­ful analy­sis — and all the excel­lent arti­cles that fol­low in the Sep­tem­ber edi­tion of our month­ly eNewslet­ter cov­er­ing cog­ni­tive health and brain fit­ness top­ics. Please remem­ber that you can use the box in the right col­umn to sub­scribe and receive this newslet­ter via email.

Do you Mind

Dear sapi­ens sapi­ens, do you mind: Dr. Joshua Stein­er­man encour­ages you to ask your­self the tough ques­tions: Do you mind your brain? Do you know your nog­gin’? Can you claim cere­bral own­er­ship or is your men­tal a rental? Plus, why we need a new lex­i­con for pos­i­tive cog­ni­tion inter­ven­tions.

Time for a Cog­ni­tive Reserve Day: with 36 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide with demen­tia today and relat­ed care costs around 1 per­cent of the world’s gross domes­tic prod­uct (GDP), and grow­ing fast, may it be time to com­ple­ment World Alzheimer’s Day with Word Cog­ni­tive Reserve’s Day?

Food for Thought

Debunk­ing learn­ing styles: a recent arti­cle in The New York Times debunks many old myths about learn­ing and learn­ing styles, sum­ma­riz­ing emerg­ing cog­ni­tive neu­ro­science find­ings.

Sci­ence for the Peo­ple: quick now — think of a ques­tion, any ques­tion, that comes to mind. Chances are some one in the excel­lent ros­ter of 28 sci­ence blog­gers who took part in Sharp­Brains’ edi­tion of Sci­en­tia Pro Pub­li­ca blog car­ni­val answered it.

Food for Thought — II

West­ern’ Style Diet Increas­es Risk of ADHD: Dr. David Rabin­er reports how, on the one hand, a recent large study track­ing 1172 Aus­tralian ado­les­cents and their par­ents found that dietary fac­tors can play an impor­tant role in the devel­op­ment of atten­tion deficits, at least for some chil­dren.

A Con­trolled Tri­al of Herbal Treat­ment for ADHD: on the oth­er hand, Dr. Rabin­er adds, a recent ran­dom­ized-con­trolled tri­al sup­ports the idea that appro­pri­ately pre­pared and tar­get­ed herbal com­pounds have the poten­tial to be ther­a­peu­tic and reduce atten­tion deficit symp­toms.

Shap­ing the Future

Q&A about the new Sharp­Brains Coun­cil for Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion: we have received many good ques­tions about the new Sharp­Brains Coun­cil … here you are our answers.

Meet the Experts: since 2006 we have inter­viewed dozens of experts on the future of cog­ni­tive enhance­ment and men­tal health, build­ing up the foun­da­tion for the type of inno­va­tion the Sharp­Brains Coun­cil wants to fos­ter. Here you can find what 26 lead­ing-edge sci­en­tists and experts believe and why.

Get­ting ther­a­py through your iPhone: The Dai­ly Beast (a great new media out­let) just pub­lished this excel­lent arti­cle on an emerg­ing “small rev­o­lu­tion” in men­tal health care.

Brain Teas­er

Brain Teas­er: are you ready to test your men­tal rota­tion skills?

Please feel free to share this month­ly eNewslet­ter to friends and col­leagues. Have a great month of Octo­ber!

Minding the Aging Brain

Cog­ni­tive train­ing (the basis for what we call “brain fit­ness” these days) has a wide array of appli­ca­tions. The most recentneurons one, which is cap­tur­ing public’s imag­i­na­tion, monop­o­liz­ing media cov­er­age, and cre­at­ing cer­tain con­fu­sion, is Healthy Brain Aging. We are for­tu­nate to have Dr. Joshua Stein­er­man, one of our new Expert Con­trib­u­tors, offer today his great voice to this con­ver­sa­tion. Enjoy!

- Alvaro
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Mind­ing the Aging Brain

– By Joshua R. Stein­er­man, M.D.

Sci­en­tists, philoso­phers, artists, and experts from all fields of human endeav­or lament: it ain’t easy get­ting old­er. It? Do they refer to frailty and dis­abil­i­ty? To bod­i­ly dis­ease? To life at its essence?

It’s all in your head

The mind is not set in stone, but it is encased by bone. It’s real­ly all about the brain, the hyphen in the mind-body conun­drum. That squishy gray neu­ronal jun­gle is the inter­face between inter­nal life and envi­ron­men­tal sen­sa­tions and stim­u­la­tion. As expect­ed, the brain shows signs of aging just as a wrin­kled brow, a stooped pos­ture, or an arthrit­ic fin­ger might. The most com­mon brain changes observed in aging and in age-asso­ci­at­ed neu­ropsy­chi­atric dis­ease include:

Read the rest of this entry »

Math Brain Teaser: The Unkindest Cut of All, Part 1 of 2

In hon­or of Math­e­mat­ics Aware­ness Month, here is anoth­er math­e­mat­i­cal brain ben­der from puz­zle mas­ter Wes Car­roll.

The Unkind­est Cut of All, Part 1 of 2

Dif­fi­cul­ty: HARD
Type: MATH (Spa­tial)
Square

Ques­tion:
The area of a square is equal to the square of the length of one side. So, for exam­ple, a square with side length 3 has area (32), or 9. What is the area of a square whose diag­o­nal is length 5?

In this puz­zle you are work­ing out your spa­tial visu­al­iza­tion (occip­i­tal lobes), mem­o­ry (tem­po­ral lobes), and hypoth­e­sis gen­er­a­tion (frontal lobes).

Solu­tion:
12.5

Expla­na­tion:
I am espe­cial­ly fond of these two ways to solve this prob­lem:

1. Draw the right tri­an­gle whose hypotenuse is the square’s diag­o­nal, and whose two legs are two sides of the square. Then use the Pythagore­an The­o­rem (a^2 + b^2 = c^2) to solve for the length of each side. Since two sides are equal, we get (a^2 + a^2 = c^2), or (2(a^2) = c^2) ). Since c is 5, 2(a^2) = 25, mak­ing a^2 equal to 25/2, or 12.5. Since the area of the square is a^2, we’re done: it’s 12.5.

2. Tilt the square 45 degrees and draw a square around it such the the cor­ners of the orig­i­nal square just touch the mid­dles of the sides of the new, larg­er square. The new square has sides each 5 units long (the diag­o­nal of the small­er square), and it there­fore has area 25. How­ev­er, a clos­er inspec­tion reveals that the area of the larg­er square must be exact­ly twice that of the small­er. There­fore the small­er square has area 25/2, or 12.5.

You can now go on to Con­cen­tric Shapes: The Unkind­est Cut of All, Part 2 of 2

 

More brain teas­er games:

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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