Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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News you can use: To improve memory, exercise brain and body at the same time

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Time for Sharp­Brains’ eNewslet­ter  track­ing the lat­est think­ing, research and tools for brain health.

This month we fea­ture five fas­ci­nat­ing inter­views at the fron­tier of applied neu­ro­science and a recent study sug­gest­ing that “Per­form­ing mem­o­ry train­ing exer­cis­es at the same time as ped­al­ing a sta­tion­ary bike led to bet­ter gains in mem­o­ry than doing the train­ing exer­cis­es after work­ing up a sweat…”

Enjoy the read!

New thinking:

New research:

New tools:

 

Final­ly, you may want to learn about cog­ni­tion and men­tal self-rota­tion with these quick brain teasers.

Have a great month of March,

The Sharp­Brains Team

New and great book by Steven Pinker reminds us that Technology is not destroying our Minds (but there’s always more Enlightened ways to harness it)

5 signs the world’s improv­ing, accord­ing to Bill Gates’s new favorite book ever (Mar­ket Watch):

Bill Gates has long been a huge fan of Har­vard psy­chol­o­gy pro­fes­sor Steven Pinker and his book, “The Bet­ter Angels of Our Nature: Why Vio­lence Has Declined.” In fact, last year the Microsoft founder hailed it as the most inspir­ing book he has ever read, and he urged col­lege grads to read it.

Well, Pinker appar­ent­ly has man­aged to top him­self with his new book, “Enlight­en­ment Now,” which is “like ‘Bet­ter Angels’ on steroids,” accord­ing to Gates … As a taster of what to expect, here are five facts that Gates list­ed as his favorite from the book Read the rest of this entry »

Learning & The Brain: Interview with Robert Sylwester

Robert SylwesterDr. Robert Syl­west­er is an edu­ca­tor of edu­ca­tors, hav­ing received mul­ti­ple awards dur­ing his long career as a mas­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tor of the impli­ca­tions of brain sci­ence research for edu­ca­tion and learn­ing. He is the author of sev­er­al books and many jour­nal arti­cles, and mem­ber of our Sci­en­tif­ic Advi­so­ry Board. His most recent book is The Ado­les­cent Brain: Reach­ing for Auton­o­my (Cor­win Press, 2007). He is an Emer­i­tus Pro­fes­sor of Edu­ca­tion at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ore­gon.

I am hon­ored to inter­view him today.

Alvaro Fer­nan­dez: Let’s start with that eter­nal source of debate. What do we know about the respec­tive roles of genes and our envi­ron­ment in brain devel­op­ment?

Robert Syl­west­er: Genet­ic and envi­ron­men­tal fac­tors both con­tribute to brain mat­u­ra­tion. Genet­ics prob­a­bly play a stronger role in the ear­ly years, and the envi­ron­ment plays a stronger role in lat­er years. Still the mother’s (envi­ron­men­tal) use of drugs dur­ing the preg­nan­cy could affect the genet­ics of fetal brain devel­op­ment, and some adult ill­ness­es, such as Huntington’s Dis­ease, are genet­i­cal­ly trig­gered.

Nature and nur­ture both require the sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions of the oth­er in most devel­op­men­tal and main­te­nance func­tions. We typ­i­cal­ly think of envi­ron­men­tal fac­tors as things that hap­pen to us, over which we have lit­tle con­trol.

Can’t our own deci­sions have an effect in our own brain devel­op­ment? For exam­ple, what if I choose a career in invest­ment bank­ing, vs. one in jour­nal­ism or teach­ing?

We make our own career deci­sions in life, and most of us make a com­bi­na­tion of good and bad deci­sions, which influ­ence our brain’s mat­u­ra­tion.

My father was very unusu­al in his career tra­jec­to­ry in that he worked at one place through­out his entire adult life, and died three months after he retired at 91. I’ve always thought that it’s a good idea to make a change every ten years or so and do some­thing dif­fer­ent either with­in the same orga­ni­za­tion or to move to anoth­er one.

It’s just as good for orga­ni­za­tions to have some staff turnover as it is for staff to move to new chal­lenges. The time to leave one posi­tion for anoth­er is while you and your employ­er are 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 tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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