Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Best predictor of sustained weight-loss? Prefrontal cortex activation

Fig­ure 3. Weight Loss at Month 1 Cor­re­lat­ed with Changes in BOLD in Regions Asso­ci­at­ed with Cog­ni­tive Con­trol. Cred­it: Selin Neselil­er et al

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New research sug­gests that high­er-lev­el brain func­tions have a major role in los­ing weight. In a study among 24 par­tic­i­pants at a weight-loss clin­ic, those who achieved great­est suc­cess in terms of weight loss demon­strat­ed more activ­i­ty in the brain regions of the lat­er­al pre­frontal cor­tex asso­ci­at­ed with self-con­trol. Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Brain training game helps resist unhealthy snack foods

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Online game ‘may con­trol snack­ing’ (BBC News):

A com­put­er game may help some peo­ple con­trol their unhealthy snack­ing habits, sug­gests a small study from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Exeter.

The online game, devel­oped by psy­chol­o­gists at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Exeter and Cardiff Uni­ver­si­ty, used “brain train­ing” tech­niques to change behav­iour — in this case, to resist unhealthy snack foods.  Read the rest of this entry »

March/ April Update: Brain Health Status Quo No Longer An Option

The 2011 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit (March 30th — April 1st) gath­ered more than 260 research and indus­try lead­ers from 16 coun­tries for 3 days to dis­cuss the chang­ing land­scape of Brain Health and Cog­ni­tive Fit­ness. It was a great suc­cess! Find the key lessons and take-home points from the Sum­mit in these 2 arti­cles by Drs. Jamie Wil­son and Luc Beau­doin, respec­tive­ly: 10 Emerg­ing Themes:  Why Brain Health Sta­tus Quo is Not an Option and 7 Key Lessons from the Sharp­Brains Sum­mit.

Con­sid­er this: “Col­lab­o­ra­tion is emerg­ing in ways that were unthink­able only a few years ago. Researchers are open­ing up their data and method­olo­gies to gain insights from one anoth­er. Com­mer­cial orga­ni­za­tions are part­ner­ing via dig­i­tal chan­nels, con­tent syn­di­ca­tion and oth­er areas of best prac­tice. Social entre­pre­neurs and local prac­ti­tion­ers are shar­ing  moti­va­tional tips and edu­ca­tional resources in their efforts to build pro­grams from the bot­tom up.  Open inno­va­tion is dri­ving a bet­ter mar­ket­place for con­sumers. All these col­lab­o­ra­tive efforts are the seeds of suc­cess­ful inno­va­tion, and despite still being in the foothills, it would seem bet­ter to go hand in hand, than tak­ing a lone­ly road.”

We hope the arti­cles of this free newslet­ter will help you think about the future and your own role in shap­ing it as a pro­fes­sion­al and/ or a life­long learn­er.

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Brain and Neuroplasticity

Med­i­ta­tion and the Brain: This arti­cle by Greater Good Mag­a­zine dis­cuss­es how med­i­tat­ing can increase the den­sity of gray mat­ter in brain regions asso­ci­ated with mem­ory, stress, and empa­thy. 

The Ben­e­fits of a One-Time Cog­ni­tive Train­ing Pro­gram: They last but wane over time as shown in the 3-month fol­low-up results of the IMPACT study.

Can Direct Brain Stim­u­la­tion Boost Per­for­mance? The answer seems to be yes, accord­ing to three stud­ies using dif­fer­ent types of electrical/magnetic brain stim­u­la­tion.

How the Brain of a Blind Per­son Rewires Itself: The brain areas devot­ed to vision in peo­ple with eye sight turn out to be respond­ing to speech in blind peo­ple.

How are Young Brains Affect­ed by Stress? An inter­est­ing arti­cle from the Dana Foun­da­tion on the con­se­quences of ear­ly life stress.

Can weight loss boost mem­o­ry? The mem­ory of obese patients under­go­ing gas­tric-bypass surgery is shown to improve 12 weeks after surgery.

The Inner Savant In All of Us: Scott Kauf­man inter­views Dr. Tre­f­fert, expect on savan­tism and autism, tech­ni­cal con­sul­tant to the award-win­ning movie Rain Man, to dis­cuss the hid­den brain poten­tials that may lie dor­mant in all of us.

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Assessments and Remediation

Dri­ving Safe­ly after a Stroke: Scores for 3 sim­ple cog­ni­tive tests were found to pre­dict the actu­al dri­ving eval­u­a­tion out­come of many peo­ple after a stroke.

Schiz­o­phre­nia Research is Lead­ing the Way: An inter­est­ing review of the dif­fer­ent cog­ni­tive reme­di­a­tion tech­niques used with peo­ple suf­fer­ing from schiz­o­phre­nia.

Vir­tu­al Real­i­ty Games for Stroke Patients: Promis­ing results show that vir­tual real­ity and oth­er video games involv­ing motion can enhance motor improve­ment after a stroke.

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Books

Children’s Self Con­trol and Cre­ativ­i­ty: Two Seeds of Intel­li­gence: An excerpt from the book Brain Rules for Baby, by John Med­ina, that pro­vides a good sum­mary of the cog­ni­tive sci­ence find­ings shed­ding light on how a baby’s brain grows from 0 to 5.

Inte­gra­tive Neu­ro­science, Per­son­al­ized Med­i­cine: This book takes an in depth and hard look at the cur­rent sta­tus and future direc­tion of treat­ment pre­dic­tive mark­ers in Per­son­al­ized Med­i­cine for the brain.

The Longevi­ty Project: UC-River­side researchers Howard Fried­man and Leslie Mar­tin draw key lessons from an eight-decade-long Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity Ter­man study of 1,500 peo­ple.

Exploit­ing Tech­nol­o­gy and Col­lab­o­ra­tion to Enable Qual­i­ty Aging. In this essay, extract­ed from the book Longevi­ty Rules, Joseph Cough­lin explores the role that tech­nol­ogy can play in aging well.

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Brain Teaser

Brain Games to Test Your Mem­o­ry: Dis­cov­er how well you can remem­ber ran­dom words and names.

We hope you enjoyed this edi­tion of the Sharp­Brains eNewslet­ter. Please do feel free to share this with friends and col­leagues. The more, the mer­ri­er!

Can weight loss boost memory?

In the past few days you may have come across head­lines claim­ing that weight loss can improve mem­o­ry. If so, you may be won­der­ing what to make of this.

Let’s take a brief look at the study at the ori­gin of these arti­cles. Par­tic­i­pants were 109 bariatric surgery patients and 41 obese peo­ple (con­trols) who had not under­gone surgery. Bariatric surgery refers most­ly to gas­tric bypass surgery, which cre­ates a small­er stom­ach and bypass­es part of the small intes­tine. The bariatric patients were enrolled in the Lon­gi­tu­di­nal Assess­ment of Bariatric Surgery project con­duct­ed, among oth­ers, by researchers at Kent State uni­ver­si­ty and Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty.

The mem­o­ry of the 150 par­tic­i­pants was assessed before the surgery as well as 12 weeks after. Results showed that the mem­o­ry of the surgery patients had improved where­as the mem­o­ry of the obese con­trols had declined. Read the rest of this entry »

Encephalon #50 Edition: Brain & Mind Research

Wel­come to Encephalon 50th edi­tion, where you will find anoth­er superb col­lec­tion of blog posts on all things Brain and Mind.Encephalon brain and mind blog carnival

Enjoy these con­tri­bu­tions:

Sci­ence & Tech­nol­o­gy

Mind Hacks reports that Face­book ate my psy­chi­a­trist. We can learn about the ben­e­fits of social net­work­ing sites like Face­book, bring­ing great per­spec­tive to recent and mis­guid­ed media spec­u­la­tion (fuelled by a recent talk at the Roy­al Col­lege of Psy­chi­a­trists). Vaugh­an, will you please report on the ben­e­fits of par­tic­i­pat­ing (and, bet­ter, host­ing) Encephalon?.

Dun­geons And Drag­ons — Or Mazes And Mon­sters?: Pod­Black Cat offers a thought-pro­vok­ing review of the ther­a­py (includ­ing self-ther­a­py) appli­ca­tions of role-play­ing games such as the clas­sic Dun­geons And Drag­ons and the more recent mas­sive­ly mul­ti­play­er online games.

Cog­ni­tive Dai­ly cov­ers anoth­er type of game. Read the rest of this entry »

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