Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Brain Plasticity, Health and Fitness Books

As you may have noticed, we just changed a few things in our site, includ­ing prepar­ing a more sol­id Resources sec­tion. Please take a look at the nav­i­ga­tion bar at the top.

One of the new pages, that we will update often, is an expand­ed Books page. Here are the books that we are rec­om­mend­ing now.

Fas­ci­nat­ing books on neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty (the abil­i­ty of the brain to rewire itself through expe­ri­ence):

Sharon Begley: Train Your Mind, Change Your BrainTrain Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Sci­ence Reveals Our Extra­or­di­nary Poten­tial to Trans­form Our­selves — by Sharon Beg­ley.


The Brain That Changes Itself - Norman DoidgeThe Brain That Changes Itself: Sto­ries of Per­son­al Tri­umph from the Fron­tiers of Brain Sci­ence — by Nor­man Doidge.


Great pop­u­lar sci­ence books by Read the rest of this entry »

Random Learning? the 8 Random Facts Meme

Orli from Neu­ron­tic tagged me with a new meme –writ­ing about 8 Ran­dom Per­son­al Facts- that is cir­cu­lat­ing among sci­ence blog­gers.  Well, I will hap­pi­ly write about 8 facts that appeared in unex­pect­ed ways yet, seen with per­spec­tive, seem to be a type of non-ran­dom ran­dom­ness, if that makes sense…  

  1. As the old­est child, I was the most responsible/ serious/ with best grades…you get the pic­ture. One of my youngest sib­lings spe­cial­ized in teas­ing me and mak­ing my life dif­fi­cult (from my per­spec­tive then). At some point, I real­ized that my auto­mat­ic men­tal reac­tion to any­thing sus­pi­cious that hap­pened in my life (my bike is not where I left it, there are 2 books miss­ing…) was an angry “this must have been my broth­er!” fol­lowed by intra-fam­i­ly con­flict and the need for UN peace­keep­ers. Let’s say he was respon­si­ble for only 40% of such events…so I real­ized my atti­tude made no sense and it was some­thing I need­ed to con­trol. So, at some point, I devel­oped the men­tal habit of mak­ing fun of my own stu­pid­i­ty when­ev­er that auto­mat­ic reac­tion appeared, and pro­tect­ing a more ratio­nal approach to solv­ing the prob­lem.
  2. Around the same time, at a rou­tine meet­ing between my moth­er, school staff and myself, some­one made a com­ment along “Alvaro has spec­tac­u­lar grades, but he must under­stand that suc­cess in life does not depend on grades alone”. Fas­ci­nat­ing, I remem­ber think­ing, how can that be pos­si­ble? What may that mean? Is it not “fair” and self-evi­dent that if I have great grades every­thing good will fol­low in life? Maybe this opened my mind to under­stand­ing that “intel­li­gence” goes well beyond IQ…
  3. For many years I kept a jour­nal-like doc­u­ment with brief “lessons learned” and “concepts/ say­ings / real­i­ties I don’t under­stand yet”. Some­thing like a “diary of learn­ing and things to be learned”. I don’t keep such a doc­u­ment anymore…and cer­tain­ly not because now I under­stand every­thing.
  4. My last 2 years in high school were extreme­ly social, hav­ing relo­cat­ed to a Read the rest of this entry »

Creativity, Michael Ray and Motto

Mot­to Mag­a­zine brings a great inter­view between Ani­ta Sharpe and Michael Ray, on How To Reach Your High­est Goal. Very fun week­end read­ing mate­r­i­al, includ­ing plen­ty of quotes and reflec­tions on how cre­ativ­i­ty can be trained/ enhanced by one of my favorite Stan­ford MBA pro­fes­sors. Some quotes:

  • But as the 1980s began, Ray and Myers kicked off more than two decades teach­ing one of the most influ­en­tial and talked about cours­es at Stan­ford University’s Grad­u­ate School of Busi­ness — a class on cre­ativ­i­ty and inno­va­tion. They taught MBA stu­dents who would go on to become some of the great­est cre­ators in the world of busi­ness, includ­ing eBay’s first pres­i­dent, Jef­frey Skoll, and Good to Great author Jim Collins.”
  • When (Apple co-founder) Steve Jobs came to our class, every­body was say­ing we have to get into the com­put­er busi­ness. He said, you don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly have to do that. He said, go into San Fran­cis­co and get a job as a wait­er and find out what comes out of that.”
  • MOTTO: You have had a num­ber of renowned and suc­cess­ful stu­dents. How would you sum­ma­rize the char­ac­ter­is­tics that they share that con­tribute to their inner and out­er suc­cess?
  • RAY: A sense of open­ness of con­scious­ness. Those peo­ple who are Read the rest of this entry »

Can a brain fitness program help me become more creative?

Creative BrainHere is ques­tion 20 from Brain Fit­ness 101: Answers to Your Top 25 Ques­tions.

Can a brain fit­ness pro­gram help me become more cre­ative?

Key Points:

  • Cre­ativ­i­ty can be trained, like oth­er men­tal mus­cles.
  • Set up struc­tured time, places, or rou­tines that pro­vide a frame­work for cre­ativ­i­ty to hap­pen.
  • Reduc­ing your stress helps to keep your brain more flex­i­ble.
  • Using many parts of the brain as well as try­ing new things will stim­u­late the areas of your brain involved in cre­ativ­i­ty.

Answer: Read the rest of this entry »

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