Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Brain Games and Optical Illusions @ National Geographic

optical illusion gamesSev­er­al Sharp­Brains friends rec­om­mend the recent 3‑part Nation­al Geo­graph­ic TV mini-series Brain Games focused on Per­cep­tion, Atten­tion and Mem­o­ry. You can learn about the series and exper­i­ment a good num­ber of visu­al illu­sions Here.

You may also enjoy this arti­cle on Visu­al Illu­sions in Art and Sci­ence, and these clas­sic illu­sions from our own brain teas­er library:
- The Muller-Lyer Illu­sion.
— Don’t try this with your part­ner, or you may fight.
— How many col­ors do you see in The Her­mann Grid?
— This is less obvi­ous than it may appear.
— Is this a cir­cle or what?
— Are these 2 rows par­al­lel?
— What do you see?

Update: Let’s move, slow down, innovate, think and play

You have heard that phys­i­cal exer­cise is good for the brain. How much exer­cise are we talk­ing about? Can the ben­e­fits be seen both for chil­dren and adults? In Fit­ter bod­ies = fit­ter brains. True at all ages? Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon answers these ques­tions for you, based on lat­est sci­en­tif­ic stud­ies.

We need fun ways to get out the couch more and exer­cise both phys­i­cal­ly and cog­ni­tive­ly. What about set­ting up com­mu­ni­ty-based adult play­grounds, such as this one in Bei­jing?

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New Brain Health Series

Peo­ple of all ages read SharpBrains.com and this month­ly update, so we are prepar­ing a series of arti­cles on Brain Health across the Lifes­pan. The series will include 4 parts:

  • The Child Brain, pub­lished in Novem­ber 2010
  • The Ado­les­cent Brain, in Decem­ber 2010
  • The Adult Brain, in Jan­u­ary 2011
  • The Aging Brain, in Feb­ru­ary 2011
  • Each part will include sur­pris­ing facts on how the brain works, debunk com­mons myths about cog­ni­tion and brain health, and link to resources such as books and doc­u­men­taries. If you want to read these arti­cles as we pub­lish them via SharpBrains.com, you can fol­low us in Face­book and Twit­ter. Tell your friends and col­leagues about the series!

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    Let’s Move

    Walk­ing increas­es Brain Vol­ume: A recent neu­ro-imag­ing study shows that walk­ing reg­u­larly can increase brain vol­ume and reduce the risks of devel­op­ing cog­ni­tive impair­ment.

    Move to anoth­er Coun­try, to anoth­er Occu­pa­tion: A cou­ple recent stud­ies rein­force the Cog­ni­tive Reserve frame­work that sug­gests we can pro­tect our brains by speak­ing more than one lan­guage and by not retir­ing ear­ly.

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    Let’s Slow Down

    Take that Nap — It May Boost Your Learn­ing Capac­i­ty: Scott Bar­ry Kauf­man tells us why sleep is good for the brain. It turns out that sleep is tied to a bet­ter immune sys­tem, meta­bolic con­trol, mem­ory, learn­ing, cre­ativ­i­ty and emo­tional func­tion­ing.

    Boost your Atten­tion with Med­i­ta­tion: Anoth­er way to slow down is to med­i­tate. Through sum­maries of stud­ies and an inter­view with Dr. New­berg, we dis­cuss how med­i­ta­tion can improve your con­cen­tra­tion skills.

    Train your Brain to Focus on Pos­i­tive Expe­ri­ences: In this arti­cle by the Greater Good Mag­a­zine, Rick Han­son explains the “neg­a­tiv­i­ty bias” of the brain and what steps we can take to rewire our brains for last­ing hap­pi­ness.

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    Let’s Innovate

    If much health care is actu­al­ly evi­dence-free, what type of evi­dence and tools do we need to make real-world progress?: build­ing on a recent OpEd by Peter Orszag, Alvaro Fer­nan­dez asks us to assess the val­ue and lim­i­ta­tions of inno­v­a­tive brain health tools based on how they seem to per­form com­pared to exist­ing alter­na­tives- not com­pared to Pla­ton­ic research ideals. This basic con­cept serves as the foun­da­tion of the new Sharp­Brains Coun­cil for Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion.

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    Let’s Think

    Cog­ni­tive stim­u­la­tion helps Alzheimer’s patients: Anoth­er sci­en­tif­ic review shows that pro­grams focus­ing on glob­al cog­ni­tive stim­u­la­tion could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease by 5 years. The authors con­clude that efforts to devel­op and imple­ment cog­ni­tive-based inter­ven­tion for the treat­ment of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease must be pur­sued.

    The Naked Lady Who Stood on Her Head: In his new book, Dr. Gary Small describes how the onset of brain health prob­lems may resem­ble a brain fog, mak­ing the role of the physi­cian and the care­giv­er par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant.

    Have you read The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness, by Alvaro Fer­nan­dez and Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg?: if so, please take 5 min­utes to answer this brief sur­vey. Your feed­back will ensure that future edi­tions are even more rel­e­vant and valu­able. If you haven’t read it yet, you can learn more and order here.

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    Let’s Play: Top 10 Illusions

    Are you ready to expe­ri­ence our selec­tion of Visu­al Illu­sions? See if you can trust your brain…enjoy these Top 10 Visu­al Illu­sions..

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    Top 10 Brain Teasers and Games, with a neuroscience angle

    No mat­ter what we are read­ing or doing, there is always the need to take a lit­tle break and chal­lenge our minds (and to learn a bit about how our brains work). Here you have a selec­tion of the 10 Brain Teasers that peo­ple have enjoyed most in this site.

    1. Do you think you know the col­ors?: the Stroop Test

    2. Can you count?: Bas­ket­ball atten­tion exper­i­ment

    3. Plan­ning is not that easy: Tow­ers of Hanoi

    4. Inter­ac­tive visu­al illu­sion: the Muller-Lyer Illu­sion

    5. Who is this?: A very impor­tant lit­tle guy

    5. How many…: Train your Frontal and Pari­etal lobes

    6. What’s the miss­ing num­ber: Pat­tern Recog­ni­tion Brain Teas­er

    7. Who’s the eldest?: Rea­son­ing Skills Brain Teas­er

    8. Brain Puz­zle for the Whole Brain: The Blind Beg­gar

    9. Is a cir­cle a cir­cle?: Visu­al Per­cep­tion Brain Teas­er

    10. How is this pos­si­ble?
    Read the rest of this entry »

    2007 New Year Resolution: Carnival of Brain Fitness

    Hap­py 2007 to every­one!

    We have just for­mu­lat­ed our New Year Res­o­lu­tion: make 2007 the year when brain plas­tic­i­ty and Brain Fit­ness became main­stream con­cepts.

    How do we start? well, let’s announce the launch of the Car­ni­val of Brain Fit­ness (a Blog Car­ni­val is basi­cal­ly the vehi­cle that blogs use to share posts around spe­cif­ic top­ics).

    Goal: to facil­i­tate a dia­logue about this emerg­ing field across mul­ti­ple per­spec­tives, from sci­en­tists and health pro­fes­sion­als, to edu­ca­tion and train­ing ones, to basi­cal­ly every­one who has con­duct­ed an exper­i­ment on his on her brain and mind, and has news to report.

    Con­text: The sci­en­tif­ic foun­da­tions lie in neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis, neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty, cog­ni­tive train­ing and stress man­age­ment. Med­ical and health appli­ca­tions range from stroke and TBI reha­bil­i­ta­tion to ADD/ADHD and ear­ly Alzheimer’s to Mind­ful­ness Based Stress Reduc­tion and cog­ni­tive ther­a­py. Edu­ca­tion­al and train­ing appli­ca­tions go from help­ing kids improve read­ing abil­i­ties to help­ing man­age stress and anx­i­ety — includ­ing work with the “men­tal game” in sports and high-demand activ­i­ties pr pro­fes­sions. Each of us may also have expe­ri­ences to report, where we saw first hand, no mat­ter our age, our innate abil­i­ty to refine and trans­form our­selves (and our brains).

    Mechan­ics: If you’d like to con­tribute, Read the rest of this entry »

    The Hermann Grid Visual Illusion

    How many col­ors do you see in this image?

    Hermann Grid

    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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