Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Icon

The Ten Habits of a Sharp Brain

As our final arti­cle for 2011, let us repur­pose one of Sharp­Brains’ most pop­u­lar blog posts since 2006. It may give you a few point­ers to sharp­en those New Years Res­o­lu­tions. Let’s sum­ma­rize some lifestyle guide­lines we can all fol­low to enhance and main­tain a sharp brain through life...

  1. Learn what is the “It” in “Use It or Lose It”. A basic under­stand­ing will serve you well to appre­ci­ate your brain’s beau­ty as a liv­ing and con­stant­ly-devel­op­ing dense for­est with bil­lions of neu­rons and synaps­es.
  2. Take care of your nutri­tion. Did you know that the brain only weighs 2% of body mass but con­sumes over 20% of the oxy­gen and nutri­ents we intake? As a gen­er­al rule, you don’t need expen­sive ultra-sophis­ti­cat­ed nutri­tion­al sup­ple­ments, just make sure you don’t stuff your­self with the “bad stuff”.
  3. Remem­ber that the brain is part of the body. Things that exer­cise your body can also help sharp­en your brain: phys­i­cal exer­cise enhances neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis.
  4. Prac­tice pos­i­tive, future-ori­ent­ed thoughts until they become your default mind­set and you Read the rest of this entry »

The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains — Time for Brain Fitness Resolutions?

Giv­en many of us are start­ing to pre­pare New Year Res­o­lu­tions, let’s revis­it one of Sharp­Brains’ most pop­u­lar-ever arti­cles that can help us all refine our Brain Fit­ness Res­o­lu­tions

The Ten Habits of High­ly Effec­tive Brains

  1. Learn what is the “It” in “Use It or Lose It”. A basic under­stand­ing will serve you well to appre­ci­ate your brain’s beau­ty as a liv­ing and con­stant­ly-devel­op­ing dense for­est with bil­lions of neu­rons and synaps­es.
  2. Take care of your nutri­tion. Did you know that Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Training Market Talk, at MIT/ BoomerTech Series

We’ll have an excit­ing ses­sion in Palo Alto on Octo­ber 6th, as part of the BoomerTech series orga­nized by the MIT Club and Smart­Sil­vers. Let me share the details now.

Fact or Fad: Who is Shap­ing the Brain Fit­ness Mar­ket?
Descrip­tion: Lots of buzz … Per­haps you think that “Senior Moments” are an inevitable part of aging. MIT Club Northern CaliforniaBut research shows you may be able to keep your brain young and fit the same way you do your body, with exer­cise and train­ing. With the suc­cess of Nintendo’s Brain Age, Posit Sci­ence and dozens of new soft­ware pro­grams and games that promise “brain fit­ness”, the real ques­tion is: “Are we expe­ri­enc­ing a fad, or an emerg­ing new con­sumer mar­ket?”

Join our speak­er, Alvaro Fer­nan­dez, author of the new book, The Sharp Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness, and our expert pan­el to dis­cuss:

* What are the top prod­ucts on the mar­ket today?
* Can the emerg­ing field of Brain fit­ness improve your job per­for­mance?
* How will con­sumers make informed deci­sions on what to buy and use?
* What are the emerg­ing trends to lever­age for entre­pre­neurs to jump into the mar­ket­place?

Click Here to Reg­is­ter

Speak­er, Pan­elist & Mod­er­a­tor

Alvaro Fer­nan­dez, Sharp­Brains — Alvaro is co-founder and CEO of Sharp­Brains, a lead­ing mar­ket research firm that tracks the mar­ket and research for cog­ni­tive assess­ments, train­ing, and games. A mem­ber of the World Eco­nom­ic Forum’s Glob­al Agen­da Coun­cils, he has been quot­ed in The New York Times, The Wall Street Jour­nal, USA Today, and more, and recent­ly co-authored the book, The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness: 18 Inter­views with Sci­en­tists, Prac­ti­cal Advice, and Prod­uct Reviews, to Keep Your Brain Sharp. Alvaro received mas­ters’ degrees in edu­ca­tion and busi­ness from Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty, and teach­es at UC-Berke­ley Osh­er Life­long Learn­ing Insti­tute.

Pan­elists

Roger Quy, Gen­er­al Part­ner, Tech­nol­o­gy Part­ners — Roger has been respon­si­ble for the life sci­ence prac­tice of Tech­nol­o­gy Part­ners since 1989. He spe­cial­izes in neu­rotech­nol­o­gy, invest­ing in both bio­phar­ma and med­ical device com­pa­nies. Roger began his career at the Queen Square Insti­tute of Neu­rol­o­gy, Lon­don where he was a Research Fel­low for the British Med­ical Research Coun­cil. He devel­oped and com­mer­cial­ized tech­niques for mon­i­tor­ing the brains of ambu­la­to­ry patients. He con­tributed to a text­book on epilep­sy and holds eight patents. Roger earned a BA with hon­ors in psy­chol­o­gy and law and a PhD in neu­ro­science from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Keele, Eng­land. He received an MBA from the Haas School of Busi­ness at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley.

Jan Zivic, Founder, Vibrant Brains — Jan’s inter­est in Brain Fit­ness is very per­son­al. She suf­fered a trau­mat­ic brain injury after an auto­mo­bile acci­dent sev­er­al years ago, and expe­ri­enced the con­cept of neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty first-hand as she reha­bil­i­tat­ed from not being able to walk or think ratio­nal­ly to restor­ing much of her pre­vi­ous func­tion.

Jan has served in a vari­ety of lead­er­ship roles includ­ing: the Board of Direc­tors of the Yer­ba Bue­na Cen­ter for the Arts where she cur­rent­ly serves as Pres­i­dent of the Board, the Library Com­mis­sion of SF, the Cal­i­for­nia Exec­u­tive Recruiters Asso­ci­a­tion (its first female Pres­i­dent), the Kather­ine Del­mar Burke Inde­pen­dent School, and The Fam­i­ly Ser­vices Agency of SF — Pres­i­dent of the Board. Jan was rec­og­nized as The SF Cable Car Awards “Woman of the Year,” and lat­er as the recip­i­ent of the Maya Angelou Com­mu­ni­ty Lead­er­ship Award, from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, San Fran­cis­co Med­ical School’s Cen­ter Of Excel­lence.

Date: Tues­day, Octo­ber 6, 2009

Time:

* 6:00PM Reg­is­tra­tion, Hors d’oeuvres and Net­work­ing
* 7:00PM Pre­sen­ta­tion and Pan­el Dis­cus­sion

Cost:

* $20.00 in advance on the web­site
* $25.00 Walk-ins at the door (cash or check please, no cred­it cards accept­ed at door)

Con­tact:

Michael Sar­fat­ti
tel 415–885-2293
sarfatti@alum.mit.edu

Loca­tion:

Wil­son Son­si­ni
950 Page Mill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Click Here to Reg­is­ter

The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains

Brain5Let’s review some good lifestyle options we can all fol­low to main­tain, and improve, our vibrant brains.

  • 1. Learn more about the “It” in “Use It or Lose It”. A basic under­stand­ing will serve you well to appre­ci­ate your brain’s beau­ty as a liv­ing and con­stant­ly-devel­op­ing dense for­est with bil­lions of neu­rons and synaps­es.
  • 2. Take care of your nutri­tion. Did you know that the brain only weighs 2% of body mass but con­sumesgood brain food over 20% of the oxy­gen and nutri­ents we intake? As a gen­er­al rule, you don’t need expen­sive ultra-sophis­ti­cat­ed nutri­tion­al sup­ple­ments, just make sure you don’t stuff your­self with the “bad stuff”.
  • 3. Remem­ber that the brain is part of the body. Things that exer­cise your body can also help sharp­en your brain: phys­i­cal exer­cise enhances neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis, at any age!
  • 4. Prac­tice pos­i­tive, action-ori­ent­ed thoughts until they become your default mind­set and you look for­ward to cre­at­ing some­thing beau­ti­ful every new day. Too much stress and anxiety–either induced by exter­nal events or by your own thoughts–actually kills neu­rons and pre­vent the cre­ation of new ones. physical exercise for brain health
  • 5. Thrive on Learn­ing and Men­tal Chal­lenges. The point of hav­ing a brain is pre­cise­ly to learn and to adapt to chal­leng­ing new envi­ron­ments. Once new neu­rons appear in your brain, where they migrate and how long they sur­vive depends on how you use them. “Use It or Lose It” does not mean “do cross­word puz­zle num­ber 1,234,567”. It means, “chal­lenge your brain, and often, with nov­el activ­i­ties”.
  • 6. We are (as far as we know) the only self-direct­ed organ­isms in this plan­et. Aim high. Once you grad­u­ate from col­lege, keep learn­ing. Once you become too com­fort­able in one job, find a new one. The brain keeps devel­op­ing ALWAYS, reflect­ing what you do with it.
  • 7. Explore, trav­el. Adapt­ing to new loca­tions forces you to pay more atten­tion to your envi­ron­ment. Make new deci­sions, use your brain.
  • 8. Don’t Out­source Your Brain. Not to media per­son­al­i­ties, not to politi­cians, not to your smart neigh­bour… Make your own deci­sions, and mis­takes. That way, you are train­ing your brain, not your neighbour’s.
  • 9. Devel­op and main­tain stim­u­lat­ing friend­ships. We are social ani­mals, and need social inter­ac­tion. Which, by the way, is why ‘Baby Ein­stein’ or all those edu­ca­tion­al apps have been shown not to be the panacea for chil­dren devel­op­ment.
  • 10. Laugh. Often. Espe­cial­ly to cog­ni­tive­ly com­plex humor, full of twists and sur­pris­es. Bet­ter, try to become the next Jon Stew­art

Now, remem­ber that what counts is not read­ing this article–or any oth­er– but prac­tic­ing a bit every day until small steps snow­ball into unstop­pable, inter­nal­ized habits…“cells that fire togeth­er wire together”…so, start improv­ing one of these 10 habits today. Revis­it the habit above that real­ly grabbed your atten­tion, and make a deci­sion to try some­thing dif­fer­ent today and tomor­row.

SharpBrainsGuide_3D–> To learn more about what you can do, check out The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness: How to Opti­mize Brain Health and Per­for­mance at Any Age.

Stress Management Workshop for International Women’s Day

Today is Inter­na­tion­al Women’s Day 2007.

Glob­al con­sult­ing com­pa­ny Accen­ture orga­nized a series of events, and I was for­tu­nate to lead a fun work­shop on The Neu­ro­science of Stress and Stress Man­age­ment in their San Fran­cis­co office, help­ing over 125 accom­plished women (and a few men) learn what stress is, its impli­ca­tions for our brain func­tion­ing, per­for­mance and health, and of course some tips and tech­niques to devel­op our “stress man­age­ment” mus­cles. It was an hon­or to be able to wrap up a great event that includ­ed Dis­trict Attor­ney Kamala D. Har­ris, two of the co-authors of This is Not the Life I Ordered, a video by Sen­a­tor Dianne Fein­stein, and some great Accen­ture women.

We dis­cussed how stress is the emo­tion­al and phys­i­o­log­i­cal reac­tion to a threat, whether real or imag­ined, that results in a series of adap­ta­tions by our bod­ies. And how stress man­age­ment can bring a vari­ety of ben­e­fits: sus­tained peak per­for­mance, cog­ni­tive flex­i­bil­i­ty, mem­o­ry, deci­sion mak­ing, and even longevi­ty.
You can see a very inter­est­ing exam­ple of the rela­tion­ship between atten­tion, mem­o­ry and stress with this exper­i­ment: Atten­tion and work­ing mem­o­ry

Let me share some key take-aways from the work­shop, togeth­er with some exer­cis­es we used to illus­trate key points:

1) Stress can be a major road­block for peak per­for­mance and health
2) Some tips and tech­niques to bet­ter man­age stress:
a) Pick your bat­tles 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.