Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Rethinking Alzheimer’s Prevention and Treatment: The Cognitive Shop/ Brain Fitness Center

Editor’s note:
Ken­neth S. Kosik, MD, and Ellen Clegg, authors of a recent book on Alzheimer’s Dis­ease pre­ven­tion and treat­ment, force­ful­ly pro­pose a new frame­work and mod­el for brain care: What about set­ting up “cog­ni­tive shops” as “a sort of one-stop shop­ping for every­thing from Alzheimer’s dis­ease pre­ven­tion to guid­ed care for mild or mod­er­ate dis­ease”. What fol­lows is the thought-pro­vok­ing con­clu­sion sec­tion from their book “The Alzheimer’s Solu­tion. How Today’s Care Is Fail­ing Mil­lions and How We Can Do Bet­ter” (repro­duced with per­mis­sion), not very dif­fer­ent from the “brain fit­ness cen­ter” mod­el we have talked about in the past.


Chap­ter 10. CONCLUSIONS

Just as the idea of hos­pice care rev­o­lu­tion­ized death and dying in Amer­i­ca, the idea of bundling many aspects of Alzheimer’s care under one roof in a cog­ni­tive shop could change the way we approach this dire disease—one that has no cure and leaves no sur­vivors. Cer­tain­ly, the scope of the prob­lem pos­es med­ical and eco­nom­ic risks for the coun­try. These risks, and poten­tial steps for a solu­tion, were chart­ed by the bipar­ti­san Alzheimer Study Group in the spring of 2009. The report, issued by the Alzheimer Study Group co-chaired by for­mer con­gress­man Newt Gin­grich and for­mer sen­a­tor Bob Ker­rey, minces few words. Read the rest of this entry »

Arts and Smarts: Test Scores and Cognitive Development

(Editor’s Note: we are pleased to bring you this arti­cle thanks to our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Greater Good Mag­a­zine.)

At a time when edu­ca­tors are pre­oc­cu­pied with stan­dards, test­ing, and the bot­tom line, some researchers sug­gest the arts can boost stu­dents’ test scores; oth­ers aren’t con­vinced. Karin Evans asks, What are the arts good for?

When poet and nation­al endow­ment for the Arts Chair­man Dana Gioia gave the 2007 Com­mence­ment Address at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty, he used the occa­sion to deliv­er an impas­sioned argu­ment for the val­ue of the arts and arts edu­ca­tion.

Art is an irre­place­able way of under­stand­ing and express­ing the world,” said Gioia. “There are some truths about life that can be expressed only as sto­ries, or songs, or images. Art delights, instructs, con­soles. It edu­cates our emo­tions.”

For years, arts advo­cates like Gioia have been mak­ing sim­i­lar pleas, stress­ing the intan­gi­ble ben­e­fits of the arts at a time when many Amer­i­cans are pre­oc­cu­pied with a market–driven cul­ture of enter­tain­ment, and schools are con­sumed with meet­ing fed­er­al stan­dards. Art brings joy, these advo­cates say, or it evokes our human­i­ty, or, in the words of my 10–year–old daugh­ter, “It cools kids down after all the oth­er hard stuff they have to think about.”

Bol­ster­ing the case for the arts has become increas­ing­ly nec­es­sary in recent years, as school bud­get cuts and the move toward stan­dard­ized test­ing have pro­found­ly threat­ened the role of the arts in schools. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, passed in 2002, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment start­ed assess­ing school dis­tricts by their stu­dents’ scores on read­ing and math­e­mat­ics tests.

As a result, accord­ing to a study by the Cen­ter on Edu­ca­tion Pol­i­cy, school dis­tricts across the Unit­ed States increased the time they devot­ed to test­ed subjects—reading/language arts and math—while cut­ting spend­ing on non–tested sub­jects such as the visu­al arts and music. The more a school fell behind, by NCLB stan­dards, the more time and mon­ey was devot­ed to those test­ed sub­jects, with less going to the arts. The Nation­al Edu­ca­tion Asso­ci­a­tion has report­ed that the cuts fall hard­est on schools with high num­bers of minor­i­ty chil­dren.

And the sit­u­a­tion is like­ly to wors­en as state bud­gets get even tighter. Already, in a round of fed­er­al edu­ca­tion cuts for 2006 and 2007, arts edu­ca­tion nation­al­ly was slashed by $35 mil­lion. In 2008, the New York City Depart­ment of Education’s annu­al study of Read the rest of this entry »

On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not

Where does our “Feel­ing of Know­ing” come from? Have you ever felt cer­tain that you knew an answer even though you couldn’t think of it right off? Where does that “feel­ing of know­ing” come from? The answer to this ques­tion is the focus of neu­rol­o­gist Robert Burton’s new book On Being Cer­tain: Believ­ing You Are Right Even When You’re Not.

I recent­ly reviewed Dr. Burton’s book on the Brain Sci­ence Pod­cast and last week I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to inter­view him for the show. He explained that one of the ori­gins for his book was his expe­ri­ence with patients with con­di­tions like Cotard’s syn­drome (where the patient thinks he is dead or does not exist). What Dr. Bur­ton calls the “feel­ing of know­ing” is so strong that peo­ple con­sis­tent­ly trust it even when their beliefs con­tra­dict the evi­dence. At first it might seem sur­pris­ing that this feel­ing is gen­er­at­ed at an uncon­scious lev­el in our brain, yet the same sort of pro­cess­ing cre­ates the world we see and hear. It is well-known that what we see is not what enters our eyes, but Read the rest of this entry »

All Slidedecks & Recordings Available — click image below

Search for anything brain-related in our article archives

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.

Enter Your Email to receive Sharp­Brains free, monthly eNewslet­ter:

Join more than 50,000 Sub­scribers and stay informed and engaged.