Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


A User’s Guide to Lifelong Brain Health: BrainFit for Life

As the Brain Fit­ness indus­try con­tin­ues to gain momen­tum, and peo­ple explore all the incred­i­ble brain-train­ing tools being devel­oped, we hope that enthu­si­asts don’t take their eye off the impor­tance of the phys­i­cal health of the brain and all the sys­tems it com­mu­ni­cates with. The brain is unique in that it hous­es our cog­ni­tive and emo­tion­al capac­i­ties in the form of the mind. It is a ‘cog­ni­tive’ organ that hungers for stim­u­la­tion from new expe­ri­ences and chal­lenges. Many brain fit­ness pro­grams strive to sat­is­fy this need. Yet the brain is also a phys­i­cal organ that plays by many of the same rules as the heart, lungs, liv­er and kid­neys. To stay healthy and per­form opti­mal­ly it requires qual­i­ty nutri­tion, phys­i­cal activ­i­ty and opti­mal sleep. The brain, espe­cial­ly, relies on a healthy vas­cu­lar sys­tem to effi­cient­ly deliv­er oxy­gen and key nutri­ents and remove waste. In fact, the brain uses approx­i­mate­ly 20% of the oxy­gen we breathe to sat­is­fy its high-ener­gy demands. Giv­en that the brain only weighs about 2% of the body, we can con­sid­er it an ener­gy hog and we must cater to its needs very care­ful­ly.

Nutri­ents play key roles in brain func­tion. Sev­er­al have shown effi­ca­cy in clin­i­cal tri­als treat­ing cas­es of mood dis­or­ders, cog­ni­tive decline and of course ben­e­fit­ing the phys­i­cal health of the brain. Nutri­ents are both the raw mate­ri­als employed in cre­at­ing new neur­al con­nec­tions and Read the rest of this entry »

Brain and Cognition Expert Contributors

As you have prob­a­bly noticed, a grow­ing num­ber of Expert Con­trib­u­tors are writ­ing in our blog, so that we can col­lec­tive­ly dis­cuss the lat­est research and trends on cog­ni­tive and brain health, and the impli­ca­tions of brain research in gen­er­al for our every­day lives. 

If you haven’t done so already, make sure to sub­scribe to our newslet­ter (above) and our RSS feed (on the right).

Below you have the pro­files of some of our Con­trib­u­tors and links to their best arti­cles with us so far. Enjoy!

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Preventive Medicine for Brain Health

brainGiv­en the cur­rent polit­i­cal cli­mate, we are pleased to host this thought-pro­vok­ing arti­cle by 2 of our Expert Con­trib­u­tors. Dear Mr or Mrs Next Pres­i­dent: how can you help our minds take bet­ter care of our brains?


Ask Not What The Health Sys­tem Can Do For You…

– By Simon J. Evans, PhD and Paul R. Burghardt, PhD.

With the pres­i­den­tial debates gear­ing up again we are sure to hear more about health care. But we pro­pose a slight­ly dif­fer­ent ques­tion. In addi­tion to ask­ing how we can get more peo­ple health­care cov­er­age, we should also ask why so many peo­ple are sick in the first place.

The words of John Kennedy might today be, “Ask not what the health care sys­tem can do for you. Ask what you can do to reduce the health care bur­den”. But before delv­ing into what we can do, let’s take a look at some real­i­ties that our next pres­i­dent could face in their first ‘State of the Union’ address.

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Some pearls of wisdom from Stanford alumni

What a busy week, last one. We will be writ­ing dur­ing the week about some of the Sharp­Brains events that occured. 

The May/June Issue of Stan­ford Mag­a­zine has a nice sec­tion titled Just One Ques­tion, where a num­ber of Stan­ford alum­ni answer the ques­tion “What do peo­ple in your pro­fes­sion know that you wish every­one knew?”

Some of our favorite answers:

  • Zoe Lof­gren, ’70, rep­re­sents California’s 16th dis­trict in Con­gress. “When all is said and done, the Amer­i­can peo­ple decide the kind of Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment they get. It’s large­ly a myth that elect­ed offi­cials dis­re­gard the view­points of their con­stituents. That only hap­pens when vot­ers for­go the oppor­tu­ni­ty to express their point of view or when an elect­ed offi­cial (know­ing­ly or not) is prepar­ing to leave his or her elect­ed office. A dozen unscript­ed, indi­vid­ual let­ters on a sub­ject are enough to gal­va­nize a mem­ber of Con­gress rep­re­sent­ing 670,000 peo­ple.”
  • Doug Osheroff, the J.G. Jack­son and C.J. Wood Pro­fes­sor of Physics, won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1996. “I wish that more peo­ple had an under­stand­ing and appre­ci­a­tion of how sci­ence is done. That is, how sci­en­tists are able to expand the bound­aries of our knowl­edge and at the same time devel­op new tech­niques and tech­nolo­gies that real­ly do ben­e­fit mankind.”
  • Spencer Sher­man, MA ’69, PhD ’71, is a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist in San­ta Bar­bara, Calif. “Psy­chother­a­pists know that it’s okay to be not okay. That every­one suf­fers some­times. That suf­fer­ing is not unend­ing, unen­durable or with­out val­ue. That con­fu­sion and despair have mean­ing, and that out of them wis­dom and com­pas­sion emerge. That help exists and that it is sage to ask for it. That strength can be built and hap­pi­ness learned. That tri­als and mis­takes are nec­es­sary parts of that learn­ing. That there is no life free from pain. That it is the pain that dri­ves the growth. That flow­ers thank the soil from which they rise.”
  • (we are biased here) Alvaro Fer­nan­dez, MBA ’01, MA ’02, is CEO and co-founder of Sharp­Brains, Inc. “Many cog­ni­tive neu­ro­sci­en­tists wish that more peo­ple knew how flex­i­ble our brains are through­out our whole lives and what a big dif­fer­ence we can make to ensure a healthy, fit, brain and mind. We can exer­cise our brains—not just our biceps.”

You can check more answers to Just One Ques­tion.

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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