Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Icon

Trend: More healthcare and research facilities offer multipronged brain fitness programs

BrainFitnessJigsaw_webCan an exer­cise rou­tine real­ly help keep your men­tal “mus­cles” in good shape? (Har­vard Health Let­ter):

Fear of los­ing your mem­o­ry and think­ing skills is one of the great­est con­cerns of get­ting old­er. Maybe that’s behind the increas­ing num­ber of clin­ics offer­ing brain fit­ness pro­grams. “Brain train­ing” isn’t a typ­i­cal exer­cise pro­gram; it incor­po­rates a num­ber of activ­i­ties and lifestyle changes to help boost brain func­tion. “It makes very good sense to pro­mote cog­ni­tive health using a vari­ety of approach­es. I embrace it even as we await more data,” says Dr. Kirk Daffn­er, a neu­rol­o­gist and med­ical edi­tor of the Har­vard Spe­cial Health Report Improv­ing Memory…Hospitals and research facil­i­ties offer brain fit­ness pro­grams, and so do pri­vate prac­tices. “Ide­al­ly you want peo­ple who have done this for a long time and who offer a mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary approach, with a neu­rol­o­gist, psy­chol­o­gist, social work­er, phys­i­cal ther­a­pist, and dietit­ian,” says Dr. Pas­cual-Leone.”

To learn more:

Growing evidence that brain health requires personalized, multi-pronged interventions

physicalex_aging

.

The Right Dose of Exer­cise for the Aging Brain (New York Times):

A small amount of exer­cise may improve our abil­i­ty to think as we age, but more may not be bet­ter, accord­ing to a new study of exer­cise and cog­ni­tion…

In gen­er­al, the researchers found, most of the exer­cis­ers showed improve­ment in their think­ing skills…but these gains were about the same whether peo­ple had exer­cised for 75 min­utes a week or 225 min­utes Read the rest of this entry »

Study: To improve memory and thinking skills, try the Mediterranean diet with added olive oil and nuts

Mediterranean-Diet

.

Mediter­ranean diet may help coun­ter­act age-relat­ed declines in mem­o­ry and think­ing skills (Har­vard Health Blog):

A new study in this week’s JAMA Inter­nal Med­i­cine sug­gests that eat­ing a Mediter­ranean-style diet enhanced with extra-vir­gin olive oil or nuts is good for your mind as well as your heart. Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Sleeping less than 5 hours, or more than 9, can lead to cognitive decline

Alarm-Clock-next-to-bed-300x214Too lit­tle sleep, and too much, affect mem­o­ry (Har­vard Health Blog):

A group of women tak­ing part in the Nurs­es’ Health Study were asked about their sleep habits in 1986 and 2000, and were inter­viewed about mem­o­ry and think­ing skills three times over a lat­er six-year peri­od. Devore and her col­leagues observed worse per­for­mance on brain test­ing among 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 »

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.

Follow us and Engage via…

twitter_logo_header
RSS Feed

Search for anything brain-related in our article archives

Enter Your Email to receive Sharp­Brains free, monthly eNewslet­ter:

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