Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


The Ten Habits of a Sharp Brain

As our final article for 2011, let us repurpose one of SharpBrains’ most popular blog posts since 2006. It may give you a few pointers to sharpen those New Years Resolutions. Let’s summarize some lifestyle guidelines we can all follow to enhance and maintain a sharp brain through life...

  1. Learn what is the “It” in “Use It or Lose It”. A basic understanding will serve you well to appreciate your brain’s beauty as a living and constantly-developing dense forest with billions of neurons and synapses.
  2. Take care of your nutrition. Did you know that the brain only weighs 2% of body mass but consumes over 20% of the oxygen and nutrients we intake? As a general rule, you don’t need expensive ultra-sophisticated nutritional supplements, just make sure you don’t stuff yourself with the “bad stuff”.
  3. Remember that the brain is part of the body. Things that exercise your body can also help sharpen your brain: physical exercise enhances neurogenesis.
  4. Practice positive, future-oriented thoughts until they become your default mindset and you Read the rest of this entry »

AARP’s Best Brain Fitness Books

We are honored to announce that AARP has included our very own book The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness (182 pages; $14.95) in its new List of Best Books on Brain Fitness, which will be unveiled during AARP’s upcoming Life@50 National Event. We hope this list will help many more individuals and institutions learn about our resource: given that 80% of respondents to a recent AARP survey selected “Staying Mentally Sharp” as their top priority, we certainly know there is a significant need for quality information!

AARP’s Best Books Guide

Brain Fitness

The Dana Guide to Brain Health, by Floyd E. Bloom, M. Flint Beal, and David J. Kupfer (Dana Press, 2006).

The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: 18 Interviews with Scientists, Practical Advice, and Product Reviews, to Keep Your Brain Sharp, by Alvaro Fernandez and Elkhonon Goldberg. (SharpBrains Inc., 2009).

Save Your Brain: The 5 Things You Must Do To Keep Your Mind Young and Sharp
, by Paul Nussbaum. (McGraw-Hill, 2010).

The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind, by Barbara Strauch (Viking, 2010).

The Memory Bible: An Innovative Strategy for Keeping Your Brain Young
, by Gary Small (Hyperion, 2003).


Also Recommended:

The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain, by Gene Cohen (Basic Books, 2006).

The Brain That Changes Itself, by Norman Doidge (Penguin, 2007).

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, by John Ratey and Eric Hagerman (Little, Brown and Co., 2008).

Think Smart: A Neuroscientist’s Prescription for Improving Your Brain’s Performance, by Richard Restak (Riverhead, 2010).

Compiled by:
Office of Academic Affairs, AARP

The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains – Time for Brain Fitness Resolutions?

Given many of us are starting to prepare New Year Resolutions, let’s revisit one of SharpBrains’ most popular-ever articles that can help us all refine our Brain Fitness Resolutions

The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains

  1. Learn what is the “It” in “Use It or Lose It”. A basic understanding will serve you well to appreciate your brain’s beauty as a living and constantly-developing dense forest with billions of neurons and synapses.
  2. Take care of your nutrition. Did you know that Read the rest of this entry »

Book Announcement: The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness

Our first book is available in!

Background: In 2005 I read two books by my now co-author, Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, that changed my career and life. Dr. Goldberg presented an exciting overview of emerging brain research debunking many old myths. Reflecting on what I was learning, I thought, “If all this is true, there is a revolution in the making that will impact education, healthcare, the way we learn and the way to take care for our brains. Someone will need to act as a translator, analyst and educator, to help individuals and society at large appreciate the implications of this research and start using this knowledge here and now.”

After several meetings with Dr. Goldberg, who kindly responded to my initial unsolicited letter, we decided to partner and create SharpBrains with a mission to “to provide individuals, companies and institutions with independent, high-quality, research-based, information and guidance to navigate the growing cognitive health and brain fitness market.”

Since then, we have launched one of the most popular brain websites, blogs and newsletters, two annual market reports that have become the standard in our field, a lifelong learning curriculum taught in multiple universities, and we are now pleased to bring to you our first book. We hope you enjoy it.

Book description: While most of us have heard the phrase “use it or lose it,” very few SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness. The Bookunderstand what “it” means, or how to properly “use it” in order to maintain brain function and fitness. The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness is an invaluable guide that helps readers navigate growing brain research and identify the lifestyle factors and products that contribute to brain fitness. By gathering insights from eighteen of the world’s top scientists and offering tools and detailed descriptions of over twenty products, this book is an essential guide to the field of brain fitness, neuroplasticity and cognitive health. An accessible and thought-provoking read, The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness educates lifelong learners and professionals in healthcare, education, business, etc., on emerging trends and forecasts of what the future will hold.

Praise for the book

“Finally, an insightful and complete overview of the science, products and trends to debunk old myths and help us all maintain our brains in top shape. A must-read for everyone with a brain – an instant classic.”
Gloria Cavanaugh, former President & CEO of the American Society on Aging and founding Board member of the National Alliance for Caregiving

“The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness offers a valuable and stimulating blueprint for anyone who wants to grow older sustainably — that is, with sound mind and good humor. Fernandez and Goldberg are the pioneers we’ve been waiting for to help us do exactly that. Buying this book is the ultimate no-brainer.”
Joel Makower, Executive Editor,, and author, Strategies for the Green Economy

“A masterful guide to the brain training revolution. Promises to stimulate a much needed conversation that will nudge society to build a new brain fitness culture on solid, research-based, foundations.”
P. Murali Doraiswamy MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Duke University and Co-author of The Alzheimer’s Action Plan

“Our curriculum and research circle will begin summer work by reading The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness, a much-needed new resource to help us better understand our brains and minds and how to nourish them through life.”
Susan E. Hoffman, Director, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UC Berkeley

“All of us researching healthy brain function owe SharpBrains a debt of gratitude for promoting a science-based approach to brain health education and offering an unbiased view of the landscape. Now, with The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness, Alvaro Fernandez and Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg serve up plentiful food for thought to satisfy the growing number of adults who are hungry for a healthy mind.”
Joshua R. Steinerman, M.D., Assistant Professor of Neurology and Director of the Neurodegenerative Disease Clinical Trials Program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center

“I am a neurosurgeon and have a great interest in the rapidly advancing field of neuroscience, especially the areas of neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. New developments happen so fast that it is difficult to keep up. This book by Alvaro Fernandez and Elkhonon Goldberg offers a spectacular introduction to the field, valuable both to the public at large and healthcare professionals.”
Guy Otis Danielson III, MD, President of the NeuroCare Network Tyler, Texas

“Finally, a book that makes sense out of the confusing brain fitness movement! I believe brain fitness could very well be the next big thing. Baby boomers like me are getting older and we want to stay mentally sharp, maintain if not strengthen our cognitive skills, and above all avoid mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, there’s been many conflicting claims and confusing products that has made it difficult for me and thousands of others people to decide just what we should do. SharpBrains’ guide is an honest, clearly written examination of brain fitness concepts, the underlying science, and the best products and services out there. It’s a first-class, pioneering resource that summarizes all I need to know about how to stay sharp for many more years.”
David Bunnell, founder of PC, PC World, Macworld and BioWorld

Continue reading about (and order!) The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: 18 Interviews with Scientists, Practical Advice, and Product Reviews, to Keep Your Brain Sharp

Maintain Your Brain and Stay Sharp: An Upcoming Guide and Resource

You may be reading all about brain fitness and brain training. It seems every week brings a new barrage of articles and studies which often contradict what you read the month before: Does Gingko Biloba help delay Alzheimer’s Disease? Can physical exercise help you stay sharp as you age? Which computer-based “brain fitness programs”, if any, are worth your money?

All this coverage reflects very exciting scientific findings but also poses a key dilemma: How to become an informed lifelong learner and consumer when there are few and contradictory authoritative guidelines?

The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness (to be published in May 2009; $24.95) aims to fill that void. This guide is the result of over a year of extensive research including more than a hundred interviews with scientists, professionals and consumers, and a deep literature review. Below you have some of the main findings from our effort. The guide not only covers these aspects in more depth and offers practical guidance, but also includes 18 interviews with prominent scientists to help you understand the research better.

Can we introduce you to your Brain?

The Guide will start at the obvious starting point: The Human Brain. In order to make informed decisions about brain health, one needs to first understand the basic organization of the human brain and how it tends to change as we get older.

* The brain is composed of a number of regions serving distinct functions. Forget IQ: our life and productivity depend on a variety of brain functions, not just one.

* There is nothing inherently fixed in the trajectory of how brain functions evolve as we age. Your lifestyle, actions, and even thoughts, do matter.

The 4 Pillars of Brain Maintenance

Neuroplasticity is the lifelong capacity of the brain to change and rewire itself in response to the stimulation of learning and experience. The latest scientific research shows that specific lifestyles and actions can, no matter our age, improve the health and level of functioning of our brains.

What factors seem to have the most influence? Read the rest of this entry »

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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 and think tank tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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