Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


April 21st virtual lecture to discuss 25 Must-Know Facts about Brain Health, Neuroplasticity and Technology

BrainFitnessJigsaw_webDear Sharp­Brains friend,

As Dr. Robert Bilder, Tan Le and myself final­ize the cur­ricu­lum for the upcom­ing vir­tu­al lec­ture on April 21st, we are work­ing hard to select the key brain-relat­ed facts that every­one should tru­ly under­stand in order to nav­i­gate the grow­ing stream of news arti­cles, research reports and mar­ket­ing claims. Focus­ing on 25 fun­da­men­tal facts (instead of the 50 ini­tial­ly envi­sioned) will enable us to dis­cuss each in more depth, empow­er­ing par­tic­i­pants with more clear and sol­id take-aways.

With those 25 Must-Know Facts we will zoom into the most sig­nif­i­cant (and often over­looked) areas in the brain fit­ness jig­saw puz­zle you can see above. We won’t dis­cuss gen­er­al­i­ties, we will dis­cuss specifics about:Online_Class-banner_25-facts

  • How the brain works, and what neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty is
  • What new sci­en­tif­ic find­ings mean (and what they don’t mean)
  • Key guide­lines for aer­o­bic exer­cise, nutri­tion, men­tal stim­u­la­tion, stress man­age­ment, social­iza­tion
  • The do’s and don’ts in lever­ag­ing tech­nol­o­gy for med­i­ta­tion, refram­ing, bio/ neu­ro­feed­back, cog­ni­tive train­ing
  • How to self-mon­i­tor, find indi­vid­ual pri­or­i­ties, pri­or­i­tize options

We hope you will be able to reg­is­ter and join us! (use this 20%-off dis­count when you reg­is­ter: SB20)

Final­ly, let me answer a few ques­tions we have received from many inter­est­ed par­tic­i­pants:

  1. Will I be able to ask ques­tions? Yes, of course. We want this to be a very inter­ac­tive ses­sion, and to respond to your spe­cif­ic ques­tions. We will reserve at least 30 min­utes for Q&A.
  2. What if I can’t attend the lec­ture live? Every­thing will be record­ed (both the lec­ture and the Q&A) so reg­is­tered par­tic­i­pants will be able to access it lat­er, start­ing the day after the webi­nar.
  3. If I reg­is­ter, when do I gain access to all those record­ings from the 2015 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit that you are offer­ing on a com­pli­men­ta­ry basis? Once you reg­is­ter to the April 21st vir­tu­al lec­ture, you will receive an email with­in 24 hours with instruc­tions to access all online record­ings (15+ hours; 30+ amaz­ing speakers…the reg­u­lar price of these record­ings is $125, so we hope as many of you as pos­si­ble can ben­e­fit from this one-time oppor­tu­ni­ty).

Cheers, and hope to “see you” soon!

Six tips to build resilience and prevent brain-damaging stress

These days, we all live under con­sid­er­able stress — eco­nom­ic chal­lenges, job demands, fam­i­ly ten­sions, always-on tech­nol­o­gy and the 24-hour news cycle all con­tribute to cease­less wor­ry. While many have learned to sim­ply “live with it,” this ongo­ing stress can, unless prop­er­ly man­aged, have a Read the rest of this entry »

Transcript: Paul Nussbaum on Meditation, Neuropsychology and Thanksgiving

Below you can find the full tran­script of our engag­ing Q&A ses­sion yes­ter­day on holis­tic brain health with clin­i­cal neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist Dr. Paul Nuss­baum, author of Save Your Brain. You can learn more about the full Brain Fit­ness Q&A Series Here.

Per­haps one of the best exchanges was: Read the rest of this entry »

May Update: Brain Training in Mental Health Toolkits for Prevention and Rehabilitation

The use of a vari­ety of brain train­ing inter­ven­tions is grow­ing in the area of men­tal health. Emerg­ing evi­dence sug­gests that in the near future tar­get­ed brain train­ing may even be used to pre­vent sub­stance abuse. For exam­ple, train­ing work­ing mem­o­ry may reduce sub­stance abusers’ dis­count­ing of long-term rewards and pun­ish­ments — such dis­count­ing is one of the rea­sons why peo­ple sus­cep­ti­ble to addic­tions do not ben­e­fit from tra­di­tion­al informational/ edu­ca­tion­al approach­es to drug pre­ven­tion.

Let’s explore some expand­ing appli­ca­tions of brain train­ing, and much more, in this lat­est edi­tion of the month­ly Sharp­Brains eNewslet­ter.

Brain Training and Mental Health

ADHD: Brain Train­ing, Neu­ro­feed­back, Diet, and More: What can be done to fight ADHD and improve the lives of peo­ple suf­fer­ing from it?

Neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty in the Brain of Chil­dren with Neu­ro­log­i­cal Dis­or­ders: Brain train­ing may be an option for chil­dren suf­fer­ing from Tourette Syn­drom to help reduce the symp­toms.

Brain Train­ing and Schiz­o­phre­nia: Social cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­grams can boost schiz­o­phren­ics’ skills social skills.

Rethink­ing the Clas­si­fi­ca­tion of Men­tal Ill­ness: How can we rethink the clas­si­fi­ca­tion of psy­chopathol­ogy (via the new DSM‑5) to reflect our cur­rent under­stand­ing of the brain as a dynam­ic sys­tem?

Upcom­ing events: Cog­ni­tive Reme­di­a­tion in Psy­chi­a­try (June 10th, NYC), Enter­tain­ment Soft­ware and Cog­ni­tive Neu­rother­a­peu­tics Soci­ety (Sep­tem­ber 19–20, San Fran­cis­co).


Lifestyle for Brain Health

More Friends, Big­ger Brain: The num­ber of friends you have could be pre­dicted by the size of our amyg­dala!

Music and Demen­tia: Play­ing music pro­tects the brain lat­er on. Music may also be used to teach new facts to peo­ple suf­fer­ing from demen­tia.

Exer­cise and Over­weight Chil­dren: Aer­o­bic exer­cise can boost over­weight chil­dren exec­u­tive func­tions.

The Brain Grows With Prac­tice…: We know that when the brain mas­ters a new skill, tar­get­ed brain areas/ cir­cuits get enlarged. We now know that those areas and cir­cuits even­tu­ally shrink back to nor­mal, but per­for­mance gain can be main­tained!


Food for Thought

What is Brain Fit­ness? What are Emerg­ing Oppor­tu­ni­ties to Retool Brain Health? Here are the answers by sev­en 2011 Sharp­Brains Sum­mit Speak­ers.

Nav­i­gate through the 30 most pop­u­lar arti­cles of last year in to learn more about the brain and how to maintain/ enhance brain func­tion­ing across the lifes­pan..

Brain Teaser

Can you lis­ten to these laughs and dis­tin­guish whether it is a human or a com­puter laugh­ing? Also, giv­en how good laugh­ing is…how about try­ing this to find out how much stressed you are? You may be sur­prised.


We hope you enjoyed this newslet­ter. Please do feel free to share this with friends and col­leagues via Face­book, Twit­ter and LinkedIn.

What about an Adult Playground?

The pos­i­tive effects of exer­cise on brain health have been demon­strat­ed in many stud­ies now. The next step may be to devel­op low-cost pro­grams in the com­mu­ni­ty that pro­vide appro­pri­ate sup­port and struc­ture for adults (espe­cial­ly old­er adults) to encour­age phys­i­cal activ­i­ty.
A great exam­ple of such pro­gram is The Adult Play­ground in Bei­jing, Chi­na (Dhand et al., 2010):

Half a foot­ball field large, this space con­sist­ed of all-weath­er stretch­ing and strength­en­ing equip­ment such as ellip­ti­cal machines, flat bench­es, mod­i­fied leg press machines, rail­ings at dif­fer­ent heights, mon­key bars, and arm and leg rota­to­ry devices. The area was teem­ing with adults, most old­er than 60 years, who were not only exer­cis­ing but also play­ing games such as Chi­nese hacky sack (a Chi­nese game from the 5th cen­tu­ry BC) and tra­di­tion­al board games.

The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has erect­ed sev­er­al out­door adult play­ground of this type across urban areas. This seems to be a great exam­ple of a low-cost, eas­i­ly acces­si­ble, solu­tion com­bin­ing phys­i­cal exer­cise with social­iza­tion as well as cog­ni­tive exer­cise.

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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