Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Exercise your brain in the Cognitive Age

In the past two days, The New York Times has pub­lished two excel­lent arti­cles on brain and cog­ni­tive fit­ness. Despite appear­ing in sep­a­rate sec­tions (tech­nol­o­gy and editorial), the two have more in com­mon than imme­di­ate­ly meets the eye. Both raise key ques­tions that politi­cians, health pol­i­cy mak­ers, busi­ness leaders, educators and consumers should pay atten­tion to.

1) First, Exer­cise Your Brain, or Else You’ll … Uh …, by Katie Hafn­er (5/3/08). Some quotes:

- “At the same time, boomers are seiz­ing on a mount­ing body of evi­dence that sug­gests that brains con­tain more plas­tic­i­ty than pre­vi­ous­ly thought, and many peo­ple are tak­ing mat­ters into their own hands, doing brain fit­ness exer­cis­es with the same inten­si­ty with which they attack a tread­mill.”

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Jogging our Brains for Brain Vitality, Healthy Aging-and Intelligence!

Stroop Test

Quick: say the col­or in which each word in this graph­ic is dis­played (don’t just read the word!):

Here you have a round-up of some great recent arti­cles on mem­o­ry, aging, and cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties such as self-con­trol:

1) How to Boost Your Willpow­er (New York Times).

- “The video watch­ers were lat­er giv­en a con­cen­tra­tion test in which they were asked to iden­ti­fy the col­or in which words were dis­played. (Note: now you see why we start­ed with that brain exer­cise…) The word  for instance, might appear in blue ink. The video watch­ers who had sti­fled their respons­es did the worst on the test, sug­gest­ing that their self-con­trol had already been deplet­ed by the film chal­lenge.”

- “Final­ly, some research sug­gests that peo­ple strug­gling with self-con­trol should start small. A few stud­ies show that peo­ple who were instruct­ed for two weeks to make small changes like improv­ing their pos­ture or brush­ing their teeth with their oppo­site hand improved their scores on lab­o­ra­to­ry tests of self-con­trol. The data aren’t con­clu­sive, but they do sug­gest that the quest for self-improve­ment should start small. A vow to stop swear­ing, to make the bed every day or to give up just one food may be a way to strength­en your self-con­trol, giv­ing you more willpow­er reserves for big­ger chal­lenges lat­er.”

Com­ment: learn­ing, build­ing abil­i­ties, are process­es that require prac­tice and grow­ing lev­els of dif­fi­cul­ty. Like train­ing our mus­cles in the gym. So the advice to start small and pro­gres­sive­ly do more makes sense. Many times the ene­my of learn­ing is the stress and anx­i­ety we pro­voke by try­ing to do too many things at the same time…

2) Jog­ging Your Mem­o­ry (Newsweek) Thanks Chris for alert­ing us!

- “No one should expect mir­a­cles soon, if at all. But the deep­er sci­en­tists peer into the work­ings of mem­o­ry, the bet­ter they under­stand Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness Training for Trainers

We are very excit­ed to announce a work­shop host­ed joint­ly by the Osh­er Life­long Learn­ing Insti­tutes (OLLI) at Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley and San Fran­cis­co State Uni­ver­si­ty and Sharp­Brains (us!). We are offer­ing a three-day work­shop for edu­ca­tors and brain fit­ness prac­ti­tion­ers seek­ing instruc­tion­al cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in the Sharp­Brains course, Exer­cis­ing Our Brains.

Sharp­Brains has intro­duced the first sci­ence-based brain fit­ness cen­ter with infor­ma­tion and pro­grams to help peo­ple of all ages exer­cise their brains. They have offered the pop­u­lar Exer­cis­ing Our Brains course at SF State’s Osh­er Life­long Learn­ing Insti­tute (OLLI) since Octo­ber 2005.”

Are you see­ing all the arti­cles about Brain Fit­ness in the pop­u­lar press and wondering,“What is this all about?, “Can some­one help me nav­i­gate through all the pro­grams out there? “How is Brain Fit­ness rel­e­vant to me in my per­son­al life or at work?. As the lead­ing source of infor­ma­tion and edu­ca­tion on Brain Fit­ness, we have deliv­ered a series of cus­tomized train­ing ses­sions to com­pa­nies and orga­ni­za­tions that com­bine mod­ules ‑includ­ing sci­en­tif­ic overview, the indus­try trends and key play­ers, fun team-build­ing exer­cis­es- that can be tai­lored to your orga­ni­za­tion’s spe­cif­ic needs. Ses­sions last from 1 to 6 hours, depend­ing on your group’s com­po­si­tion and agen­da and are deliv­ered either in per­son or via web con­fer­ence. If you want more infor­ma­tion on Sharp­Brains work­shops for your insti­tu­tion click on Work­shops.

Who should attend:

Edu­ca­tors and prac­ti­tion­ers who are seek­ing to teach the course Exer­cis­ing Our Brains. Ide­al can­di­dates are: edu­ca­tors who are work­ing in the area of psy­chol­o­gy, health, and well­ness, and who are ide­al­ly already affil­i­at­ed with learn­ing cen­ters eager to offer a brain fit­ness class.


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Brain Awareness Week

When is Brain Aware­ness Week?

March 12–18, 2007

What Will Happen

The Brain Aware­ness Week is a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn more about how the brain func­tions and how to cul­ti­vate a healthy brain. The Dana Foun­da­tion and mul­ti­ple part­ners, such as Sharp­Brains, will lead out­reach events world­wide.

In the blog of the Dana Foun­da­tion we can read today that “To my knowl­edge, the brain is the only organ in the human body that is cel­e­brat­ed and hon­ored for an entire week. This year, 2,000 orga­ni­za­tions in 69 coun­tries will observe Brain Aware­ness Week with activ­i­ties, exhibits and com­pe­ti­tions, most from March 12 through 18.”

SharpBrains-Related Activities During Brain Awareness Week

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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