Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


How mindfulness meditation is infiltrating the corporate world

mindful workI thought I’d read every­thing about mind­ful­ness, but this was news to me: Steve Jobs was a med­i­ta­tor. Back in 1981, long before mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion became a pop­u­lar sub­ject of sci­en­tif­ic inquiry, Jobs, the cofounder and pub­lic face of Apple Com­put­ers, was already prac­tic­ing mind­ful­ness as a way to calm his mind, stay focused, and feel hap­pi­er.

Accord­ing to David Gelles, busi­ness reporter for the New York Times, Jobs is not some lone outlier—the num­ber of busi­ness lead­ers embrac­ing mind­ful­ness is at an all time high, and grow­ing. To write his new book, Mind­ful Work: How Med­i­ta­tion Is Chang­ing Busi­ness from the Inside Out, Gelles trav­eled the coun­try, talk­ing to Read the rest of this entry »

To improve total health and fitness, let’s enhance brain functioning

brains-mindsSur­geon gen­er­al says brain health ‘new fron­tier’ (ARNEWS):

Brain health is the “new fron­tier” in sci­ence said Lt. Gen. Patri­cia D. Horo­ho as she kicked off a two-day con­sor­tium on the top­ic. Tap­ping into the full poten­tial of the brain can Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Contrasting Brain Growth in Baby Humans and Baby Chimpanzees

Chart­ing Brain Growth in Humans and Chimps (New York Times):
— “Although baby humans and baby chim­panzees both start out with unde­vel­oped fore­brains, a new study reports that the human brain increas­es in vol­ume much more rapid­ly ear­ly on.”
— “The growth is in a region of the brain known as the pre­frontal cor­tex and is part of what makes humans cog­ni­tive­ly advanced com­pared with oth­er ani­mals, includ­ing the chim­panzee, our clos­est rel­a­tive. The pre­frontal cor­tex plays a major role in deci­sion-mak­ing, self-aware­ness and cre­ative think­ing.”

–> To learn more about study Dif­fer­en­tial Pre­frontal White Mat­ter Devel­op­ment in Chim­panzees and Humans: click Here (requires sub­scrip­tion).

–> To explore what may have hap­pened oth­er­wise, you may want to watch the new movie Rise of the Plan­et of the Apes.

Neuroplasticity through Mind Hygiene

Stephanie West Allen, our lawyer-blog­ger friend and Dr. Jef­frey M. Schwartz, a research psy­chi­a­trist at the School of Med­i­cine at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia at Los Ange­les and a neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty expert, have writ­ten a thought-pro­vok­ing arti­cle for The Com­plete Lawyer.

See Arti­cle: Exer­cise Mind Hygiene On A Dai­ly Basis. Excerpt:

- “Here’s an exam­ple of a Gold­en Moment of Choice: You have decid­ed that you are going to keep your promise and get home each evening in time to put the kids to bed. When 7 p.m. rolls around, you rec­og­nize that you can move in one of two direc­tions: you can keep work­ing or get going. Because of your habit of work­ing very late, the synaps­es in your brain have been forged to sup­port your habit, and you feel the urge to stay. This phys­i­o­log­i­cal com­po­nent of your habit­u­al behav­ior is mak­ing your deci­sion dif­fi­cult. Nev­er­the­less, you decide to leave. Now, each time you make this new choice, it will be eas­i­er: You will be lay­ing down “going-home-to-the-kids” synaps­es to sup­port the new behav­ior (and you will be using self-direct­ed neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty).

- Our abil­i­ty to step back and see that we have the choice is key. Often we do not even get that far: 7 p.m. comes and goes with­out our real­iz­ing that it’s a GMC. In order to improve your abil­i­ty to observe your­self and your choic­es, you need to devel­op your self-aware­ness”.

Arti­cle: Exer­cise Mind Hygiene On A Dai­ly Basis

Read­ing this, and with a wife  and 6‑week-old baby start­ing to fall asleep, reminds me of some­thing…

how to say, “Good night, dear Blog!”

Better science and data for eldercare and wellness technologies

Inter­est­ing arti­cle titled Key to fund­ing for elder­care tech­nolo­gies? Pilots, just pub­lished in CNET. A few quotes:

  • No mat­ter the size, a pilot not only serves as a means to vet whether an elder­care tech­nol­o­gy will work, but it also gen­er­ates much need­ed data for insur­ance com­pa­nies and gov­ern­ment enti­ties to weigh whether they might be will­ing to pay for such tech­nolo­gies, accord­ing to pan­elists Tues­day at the fourth annu­al Health­care Unbound con­fer­ence.”
  • Oth­er pilots includ­ed a group of 35 par­tic­i­pants in 2003 with IBM and the Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging. The 18-month pilot exam­ined how seniors ages 65 and over used IBM’s soft­ware to change the way a Web site is viewed, such as its font size­col­ors, size of the page and oth­er fea­tures, Gaudet said.”
  • Front Porch, a Cal­i­for­nia-based orga­ni­za­tion that oper­ates a net­work of retire­ment com­mu­ni­ties, began a pilot two years ago with Dakim, using its Dakim (m)Power Cog­ni­tive Fit­ness Sys­tem.”

I’d say the key goes beyond pilots: we need good qual­i­ty and pub­lished research to engage pol­i­cy mak­ers and insur­ance com­pa­nies. And a big­ger focus on pre­ven­tion and well­ness, as we saw in the post Bill Clin­ton on health care and well­ness.

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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