Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Update: Let’s move, slow down, innovate, think and play

You have heard that physical exercise is good for the brain. How much exercise are we talking about? Can the benefits be seen both for children and adults? In Fitter bodies = fitter brains. True at all ages? Dr. Pascale Michelon answers these questions for you, based on latest scientific studies.

We need fun ways to get out the couch more and exercise both physically and cognitively. What about setting up community-based adult playgrounds, such as this one in Beijing?

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New Brain Health Series

People of all ages read SharpBrains.com and this monthly update, so we are preparing a series of articles on Brain Health across the Lifespan. The series will include 4 parts:

  • The Child Brain, published in November 2010
  • The Adolescent Brain, in December 2010
  • The Adult Brain, in January 2011
  • The Aging Brain, in February 2011
  • Each part will include surprising facts on how the brain works, debunk commons myths about cognition and brain health, and link to resources such as books and documentaries. If you want to read these articles as we publish them via SharpBrains.com, you can follow us in Facebook and Twitter. Tell your friends and colleagues about the series!

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    Let’s Move

    Walking increases Brain Volume: A recent neuro-imaging study shows that walk­ing reg­u­larly can increase brain vol­ume and reduce the risks of devel­op­ing cog­ni­tive impairment.

    Move to another Country, to another Occupation: A couple recent studies reinforce the Cognitive Reserve framework that suggests we can protect our brains by speaking more than one language and by not retiring early.

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    Let’s Slow Down

    Take that Nap – It May Boost Your Learning Capacity: Scott Barry Kaufman tells us why sleep is good for the brain. It turns out that sleep is tied to a bet­ter immune sys­tem, meta­bolic con­trol, mem­ory, learn­ing, creativity and emo­tional func­tion­ing.

    Boost your Attention with Meditation: Another way to slow down is to meditate. Through summaries of studies and an interview with Dr. Newberg, we discuss how meditation can improve your concentration skills.

    Train your Brain to Focus on Positive Experiences: In this article by the Greater Good Magazine, Rick Hanson explains the “negativity bias” of the brain and what steps we can take to rewire our brains for last­ing hap­pi­ness.

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    Let’s Innovate

    If much health care is actually evidence-free, what type of evidence and tools do we need to make real-world progress?: building on a recent OpEd by Peter Orszag, Alvaro Fernandez asks us to assess the value and limitations of innovative brain health tools based on how they seem to perform compared to existing alternatives- not compared to Platonic research ideals. This basic concept serves as the foundation of the new SharpBrains Council for Brain Fitness Innovation.

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    Let’s Think

    Cognitive stimulation helps Alzheimer’s patients: Another scientific review shows that pro­grams focus­ing on global cog­ni­tive stim­u­la­tion could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease by 5 years. The authors conclude that efforts to develop and imple­ment cognitive-based inter­ven­tion for the treat­ment of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease must be pur­sued.

    The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head: In his new book, Dr. Gary Small describes how the onset of brain health problems may resemble a brain fog, making the role of the physician and the caregiver particularly important.

    Have you read The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness, by Alvaro Fernandez and Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg?: if so, please take 5 minutes to answer this brief survey. Your feedback will ensure that future editions are even more relevant and valuable. If you haven’t read it yet, you can learn more and order here.

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    Let’s Play: Top 10 Illusions

    Are you ready to experience our selection of Visual Illusions? See if you can trust your brain…enjoy these Top 10 Visual Illusions..

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    From Distress to De-Stress: helping anxious, worried kids (Part 2 of 2)

    Last week, in this article’s first part, we discussed the importance of actually teaching children how to get themselves into a physical state of being relaxed, explored several suggestions I hope you found useful.

    Let’s continue.

    Teachers can help student overcome stress by teaching them to identify the impediments they might encounter in doing a certain task.

    The teacher can ask:

    What’s going to get in the way of you doing this work?
    He or she may have to jump-start the students thinking by suggesting such things as:
    – competing events (family activities, friends call, IM-ing, new video game, etc.)
    – lack of adequate place to study
    – inadequate prior preparation or skills
    – a negative attitude (this is not necessary, I can’t do math, I’ll never need to know this, etc).
    – health factors (I’m sick; I’m tired)

    Conversely, teachers have to teach students to identify the enhancers; What’s going to make it more likely that you will do this, and do this well?
    (examples)
    – I have confidence in my ability
    – I feel competent in this skill
    – I am committed to learning this because: I have the necessary resources to complete this task, such as materials, sources of information, people supports; parents, tutor, other kids

    Teachers can turn distress into de-stress by using the Language of Success

    The key is to de-emphasize PRAISE and emphasize SELF-APPRAISAL.

    Teachers can encourage self-evaluation by Read the rest of this entry »

    From Distress to De-Stress: helping anxious, worried kids (Part 1 of 2)

    Teaching kids how to relax.

    Consider this vignette:

    -Roxanne: (agitated and loudly) I can’t stand this freakin book!

    -Teacher: Roxanne, you need to take it easy. Just calm down! Try to relax.You need to finish your reading.

    -Roxanne: (to herself) Right easy for you to say, teacher. But very hard for me to do. What do you mean calm down? I feel like my head is going to explode.

    -Teacher: (seeing no response) Well if you can’t settle down, maybe a trip to the office will help you!

    Some kids are so agitated that even if they know how to relax, they can’t. If you think about it, calming down when you’re upset is the hardest time to do it! Other kids can’t calm down or relax because they don’t know what that feels like. Teachers, occupational therapists, physical education teachers and parents need to actually teach children (of all ages) how to get themselves into a physical state of being relaxed. This doesn’t happen automatically. If it did, there wouldn’t be so many adult yoga classes!

    Setting the mental and emotional stage for success.

    Teachers who want to reduce stress and increase learning know that getting kids into a positive mindset will do both. They say Read the rest of this entry »

    Check out the Summit Agenda and Reserve Your Spot

    Learn all about the 2017 SharpBrains Virtual Summit in less than 2 minutes

    Search for anything brain-related in our article archives

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