Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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The NeuroGeneration and Humankind’s Quest to Enhance the Brain

Some peo­ple may be uneasy with the idea of “brain enhance­ment,” but the quest to boost our brain­pow­er is noth­ing new; it is an essen­tial part of human nature. Ever since Homo sapi­ens emerged near­ly 200,000 years ago, we have been search­ing for ways to upgrade the hard­ware and wet­ware in our heads, and we’ve been cre­at­ing and using tools to help us do it—physical and cog­ni­tive tools that help us solve prob­lems and com­plete tasks more effi­cient­ly, tools that extend our nat­ur­al abil­i­ties and allow us to do things that weren’t pos­si­ble before. Lan­guage, num­bers, sci­ence, education—these are all tools we’ve devel­oped to improve our men­tal capac­i­ties.

Our most pow­er­ful tool for nav­i­gat­ing the ever-chang­ing world, how­ev­er, is the brain itself. Read the rest of this entry »

What Everyone Should Know About Stress, Brain Health, and Dance

-- Dancing to the clapping of bands. Egyptian, from the tomb of Ur-ari-en-Ptah, about 3300 B.C. (British Museum.)

– Danc­ing to the clap­ping of bands. Egypt­ian, from the tomb of Ur-ari-en-Ptah, 6th Dynasty, about 3300 B.C. (British Muse­um)

Every­one expe­ri­ences stress at some point in our lives. It is impor­tant to know that stress can harm the brain, and also that dance can be a great avenue for a per­son resist, reduce, or escape it.

Stress can change the phys­i­cal struc­ture and func­tion of the brain, affect­ing wiring and thus per­for­mance of one’s activ­i­ties. Read the rest of this entry »

What Educators and Parents Should Know About Neuroplasticity, Learning and Dance

dance

— The Dance for Ath­letes class at Glen Burnie High School per­forms a swing piece

Dance. Is it mere­ly art?  Is it just recre­ation?  Think again.

Dance is now being stud­ied as a path­way to enhance learn­ing.  And, sci­en­tists say, edu­ca­tors and par­ents should take note of the move­ment.

Recent­ly at the annu­al meet­ing of the Soci­ety for Neu­ro­science annu­al meet­ing, more than 6,800 atten­dees paid rapt atten­tion to renowned chore­o­g­ra­ph­er Mark Mor­ris as he answered ques­tions about Read the rest of this entry »

To Harness Neuroplasticity, Start with Enthusiasm

We are the archi­tects and builders of our own brains.

For mil­len­nia, how­ev­er, we were obliv­i­ous to our enor­mous cre­ative capa­bil­i­ties. We had no idea that our brains were chang­ing in response to our actions and atti­tudes, every day of our lives. So we uncon­scious­ly and ran­dom­ly shaped our brains and our lat­ter years because we believed we had an immutable brain that was at the mer­cy of our genes.

Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth. Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Training for Babies: Hope, Hype, Both?

Train­ing the brain is pos­si­ble because of neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty. Our dai­ly expe­ri­ences can trig­ger neu­ro­plas­tic changes in the brain, such as the growth of new brain cells (neu­rons) and new con­nec­tions (synaps­es) between neu­rons. Plas­tic­i­ty is observed at all ages but is at its peak dur­ing brain devel­op­ment, as a baby and then a child learns basic knowl­edge and skills nec­es­sary to sur­vive. We should thus expect that the brain of a baby could be eas­i­ly trained. This is what Wass and his col­leagues recent­ly demon­strat­ed in a new study with 11-month-old babies. Read the rest of this entry »

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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