Archive for December, 2008

Top 30 Brain Health and Fitness Articles of 2008

Here brain teasers job interview you have SharpBrains’ 30 most popular articles, ranked by the number of people who read each article in 2008. Thirteen Expert Contributors and staff members have written these articles for you, covering a wide range of brain health and fitness topics.

Please note that, since the first article already includes most of our most popular brain teasers, we have excluded teasers from the rest of the ranking.

Blog Channel
Article
1. Top 50 Brain Teasers and Games to Test your Brain
- By Alvaro Fernandez
It is always good to stimulate our minds and to learn a bit about how our brains work. Here you have a selection of the 50 Brain Teasers that people have enjoyed the most.
2. The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains
- By Alvaro Fernandez
Let’s review some good lifestyle options we can follow to maintain, and improve, our vibrant brains. My favorite: don’t outsource your brain (even to us).
3. Why do You Turn Down the Radio When You’re Lost?
- By Caroline Latham
You’re driving through suburbia one evening looking for the street where you’re supposed to have dinner at a friend’s new house. You slow down to a crawl, turn down the radio, stop talking, and stare at every sign. Why is that? Neither the radio nor talking affects your vision. Or do they?
4. Brain Plasticity: How learning changes your brain
- By Pascale Michelon
You may have heard that the brain is plastic. As you know the brain is not made of plastic! Neuroplasticity or brain plasticity refers to the brain’s ability to CHANGE throughout life.
5. Top 10 Brain Training Future Trends
- By Alvaro Fernandez
In an emerging market like brain fitness training, it is difficult to make precise projections. But, we can observe a number of trends that executives, consumers, public policy makers, and the media should watch closely in the coming years, as brain fitness and training becomes mainstream, new tools appear, and an ecosystem grows around it.
6. Brain Exercise and Brain Health FAQs
- By Alvaro Fernandez
Answers to 7 most common questions around brain exercise and health, to help you navigate this emerging field.
7. It is Not Only Cars That Deserve Good Maintenance: Brain Care 101
- By Alvaro Fernandez
If we can all agree on the importance of maintaining our cars that get us around town, what about maintaining our brains sitting behind the wheel?
8. Evaluation Checklist for Brain Fitness Software and Training Games
- By Alvaro Fernandez
Unless you have been living in a cave, you have read by now multiple articles about the brain training and brain exercise craze. Now, how do you know which of the new programs can help you more, or whether you need any of them?
9. Brain Training Games: Context, Trends, Questions
- By Alvaro Fernandez
This past Tuesday, the MIT Club of Northern California, the American Society on Aging, and SmartSilvers sponsored an event to explore the realities and myths of this growing field. Here is the summary.
10. Stress Management Workshop for International Women’s Day
- By Alvaro Fernandez
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).
11. Mindfulness and Meditation in Schools for Stress Management
- By Jill Sutie
With eyes closed and deep breaths, students are learning a new method to reduce anxiety, conflict, and attention disorders. But don’t call it meditation.
12. Stress and Neural Wreckage: Part of the Brain Plasticity Puzzle
- By Gregory Kellet
“My brain is…fried, toast, frazzled, burnt out.” How many times have you said or heard one version or another of these statements. Most of us think we are being figurative when we utter such phrases, but research shows that the biological consequences of sustained high levels of stress may have us being more accurate than we would like to think.
13. How can I improve my short term memory? Is there a daily exercise I can do to improve it?
- By Caroline Latham
By choosing to attend to something and focus on it, you create a personal interaction with it, which gives it personal meaning, making it easier to remember.
14. Cognitive and Emotional Development Through Play
- By David Elkind
Play is rapidly disappearing from our homes, our schools, and our neighborhoods. Decades of research has shown that play is crucial to physical, intellectual, and social-emotional development at all ages.
15. Judith Beck: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person
- By Alvaro Fernandez
Brain Fitness doesn’t require the use of expensive equipment. Your brain is enough. We were honored to interview Dr. Judith Beck on how cognitive techniques can be applied to develop a number of important mental skills. The latest application of these?. Losing weight.
16. Easy Steps to Improve Brain Health
- By Caroline Latham
We can summarize a lot of research by saying that there are four essential pillars to maintaining a healthy brain that functions better now and lasts longer. Those pillars are: 1) Physical Exercise, 2) Mental Exercise, 3) Good Nutrition, 4) Stress Management.
17. Report: The State of the Brain Fitness/ Training Software Market 2008
- By Alvaro Fernandez
After many months of work, we have just released our inaugural report on the emerging Brain Fitness Software Market, the first to define the brain fitness and training software market and analyze the size and trends of its four customer segments.
18. Improve Memory with Sleep, Practice, and Testing
- By Bill Klemm
There are whole markets (think crosswords, herbal supplements, drugs, brain fitness software) aimed at helping us improve our memory. Now, what is ¨memory¨? and how does the process of memory work?.
19. 10 Brain Tips To Teach and Learn
- By Laurie Bartels
If you agree that our brains are designed for learning, then as educators it is incumbent upon us to be looking for ways to maximize the learning process for each of our students, as well as for ourselves.
20. Cognitive Training and Brain Fitness: Interview with Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg
- By Alvaro Fernandez
Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg is a clinical professor of neurology at New York University School of Medicine. His areas of expertise include executive functions, memory, attention deficit disorder, dementia, traumatic brain injury. Dr. Goldberg was a student and close associate of the great neuropsychologist Alexander Luria.
21. Maximize the Cognitive Value of Your Mental Workout
- By Schlomo Breznitz
Like in the case of physical fitness, cognitive fitness requires deliberate exercising. The main reason for this rests on the fact that our brains are basically lazy. There are in principle two very different modes of activity that our brains engage in whenever faced with a problem.
22. Brain Fitness Program and Neuroplasticity @ PBS
- By Alvaro Fernandez
Information on the PBS special program on neuroplasticity, brain fitness, aging and the brain titled “Brain Fitness Program”.
23. Mindfulness Meditation for Adults & Teens with ADHD
- By David Rabiner
Although medication treatment is effective for many individuals with ADHD, including adolescents adults, there remains an understandable need to explore and develop interventions that can complement or even substitute for medication.
24. Can Intelligence Be Trained? Martin Buschkuehl shows how
- By Alvaro Fernandez
Dr. Martin Buschkuehl is one of the University of Michigan’s Cognitive Neuroimaging Lab researchers involved in a recent cognitive training study that received much media attention since it was published at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
25. How Strong is the Research Support for Neurofeedback in Attention Deficits?
- By David Rabiner
Understanding the extent of available research can help families better understand the strengths and limitations of the existing research on neurofeedback and enable them to make a better informed decision about whether to consider this treatment option for their child.
26. Exercising the body is exercising the mind
- By Adrian Preda
One of the most important development in neuroscience was when the official dogma claiming that there was no neurogenesis (production of new brain cells) in the adult brain was toppled.
27. Brain Evolution and Why it is Meaningful Today to Improve Our Brain Health
- By Larry McCleary
You may feel overwhelmed by the stream of seemingly contradictory suggestions regarding the best way to maintain mental clarity as you age. Based on an analysis of seminal factors in the development of modern brain anatomy, I believe it is possible to make some very compelling recommendations for growing big brains, enhancing their function, and making them resistant to the aging process.
28. Physical Exercise and Brain Health
- By Pascale Michelon
What is the connection between physical and mental exercises? Do they have additive effects on brain health? Are they redundant? Let’s start by reviewing what we know about the effects of physical exercise on the brain.
29. Posit Science, Nintendo Brain Age, and Brain Training Topics
- By Alvaro Fernandez
The concept of having a “brain age” is, itself, profoundly unscientific. It is one thing to have that concept popularized by a game developer such as Nintendo through its popular Brain Age/ Training Series, and another one to have it reinforced by companies that are developing and marketing science-based applications.
30. Sleep, Tetris, Memory and the Brain
- By Shannon Moffet
Sleep is so obvious a physiologic need (from insects to mammals, all animals sleep) that it doesn’t even occur to most of us to wonder why we have to do it.

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Towards a Healthy Living & Cognitive Health Agenda

Here you have the November edition of our monthly newsletter covering cognitive health and brain fitness topics. Please remember that you can subscribe to receive this Newsletter by email, simply by subscribing (for free) here.

Thank you for your interest, attention and participation in our SharpBrains community. As always, we appreciate your comments and suggestions.

Summit of the Global Agenda

How can we persuade business leaders, policy-makers and researchers of the urgency to develop and promote an integrated “Healthy Living” agenda focused on maintaining lifelong physical and cognitive health, vs. the usual mindset focused on dealing with specific diseases and problems once they arise?

In The Future of the Aging Society: Burden or Human Capital?, I summarize some of the key themes discussed at the World Economic Forum event in Dubai on November 7-9th. The world is aging – and in healthier ways. But our healthcare and retirement systems are on track to go bankrupt – their premises are outdated. The current disease-based research agenda compounds the problem. Solutions? 1) Promote Healthy Lifestyles that help Maintain Physical and Cognitive Functional Abilities, 2) Redesign Environments to Foster Health, Engagement and Financial Security, 3) Develop an Integrated Healthy Living & Aging Research Agenda. Specifically, we could work with the UN and Global 2000 companies to move forward a new agenda.

Planet Earth 2.0: A New Operating System: Imagine seeing a top sheik in Dubai, wrapped in traditional Arab clothing, exclaim “Yes We Can” (a la Obama) in front of the 800 global experts, adding that “we build the future with our own hands”. Some of the attendants of the World Economic Forum’s Summit of the Global Agenda urged us to “reboot” the system. More than a “reboot”, we may have to upgrade to a new global “Yes We Can” operating system.

Brain Fitness Research

Training Attention and Emotional Self-Regulation: Dr. Michael Posner, a prominent  cognitive neuroscientist and first recipient of the Dogan Prize, grants us a fascinating interview on what attention, self-regulation, and effortful control are, and how to improve them using software, meditation, and parenting. In his words, “we have found no ceiling for abilities such as attention, including among adults. The more training (…) the higher the results.”

Neuroplasticity and the Brain That Changes Itself: Laurie Bartels reviews the excellent book by Norman Doidge, explaining that “the neuroscience behind Doidge’s book involves neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to rewire itself. This means that the brain – our intelligence – is not something fixed in concrete but rather a changing, learning entity.”

Can We Pick Your Brain re: Cognitive Assessments?: In our view, a critical component in the maturity of the brain fitness market will be the availability of inexpensive, valid and reliable objective cognitive assessments,  to help measure how our brain functions change over time and identify priorities for targeted improvements. Dr. Joshua Steinerman asks if you would be up for them?

Use It (Properly) or Lose It

Memory Problems? Perhaps you are Multi-tasking: Dr. Bill Klemm tells us that “Multi-tasking violates everything we know about how memory works.” He explains that “(multi-tasking) probably does make learning less tedious, but it clearly makes learning less efficient and less effective.”

Physical and mental exercise to prevent cognitive decline: The American Medical News, a weekly newspaper for physicians published by the American Medical Association, just published an excellent article on the importance of physical and mental exercise. We are very happy to see efforts like these to train physicians and health professionals in general,  given that most of them were trained under a very different understanding of the brain than the one we have today.

Brain Fitness 2: Sight & Sound: PBS recently announced the second installment of their popular Brain Fitness Program show, to start airing soon.

MetaCarnival #1: a conversation across the blogosphere: We often insist on “Novelty, Variety and Challenge” as key ingredients for good “brain exercise”. There are many ways to mix those ingredients – you may enjoy this one, the first interdisciplinary gathering of blogs and blog carnivals covering health, science, anthropology, general advice and more.

Brain Teasers

Top 15 Brain Teasers and Games for Mental Exercise: Over the last 2 years we have published close to 100 puzzles, teasers, riddles, and every kind of mental exercise (without counting our in-depth interviews with top neuroscientists). Which ones have proven most stimulating for you. Let us know. Here is a selection of our Top 15 teasers.

Final Details

That’s all for now. Next month, we will be offering another great selection of articles: Dr. Andrew Newberg will discuss the brain value of meditation,  Dr. David Rabiner will review a recent study on how neurofeedback may assist in the diagnostic of attention deficits, and much more.

Please share this newsletter with your friends and colleagues if you haven’t done so already.

Happy holidays!

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