Archive for Books

Book discount to honor Mental Health Awareness Month

LarryKing_TheSharpBrainsGuideMay is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we would like to contribute to worldwide educational efforts.

We are offering the Kindle edition of The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness at an 80% discount, from today until May 31st. If you still don’t have your copy, or know of someone else who would enjoy the book, please take a minute or two to learn more…

Wishing lifelong Brain and Mental Health to everyone,

The SharpBrains Team Read the rest of this entry »

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Book explores relationship between body and brain

Book explores relationship between body and brain
Milan News-Leader, MI
“He believes the three are intertwined and has written a book titled, “Brain Fitness – A Recipe for Feeding Your Child’s Dreams and Unlocking Their Maximum Brain Power.” Evans says the book is meant to help parents understand the links between body and

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We have moved

Hello dear readers: after a transition period, we have definitively moved to http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog

we-moved.jpg

Please visit us there if you want to keep reading our (close to) daily articles. Please update your feed, and any technorati/ stumbleupon/ del.ic.ious account you may have pointing at this old address. Our new location:
http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog

We won’t be posting more articles here.

We’ll see you there!
-Caroline & Alvaro

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Dana Alliance’s Brain Awareness Week for Brain Health

The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives is keeping up its great outreach initiatives:

1- Check their blog with posts such as Resolve to be good to your brain, too. Tip: “Brain change takes time; allow your brain time to get used to new circumstance” (from the Dana Guide to Brain Health). 

You can read our The Dana Guide to Brain Health book review.

2- The Brain Awareness Week 2007, March 12-18th, with many activities around the world to “advance public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research. The Dana Alliance is joined in the campaign by partners in the United States and around the world, including medical and research organizations; patient advocacy groups; the National Institutes of Health, and other government agencies; service groups; hospitals and universities; K-12 schools; and professional organizations.”

Learn how you can participate! 

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Lifelong learning, literally: neuroplasticity for students, boomers, seniors…

What a month. We promised you with our blog title 7 months ago that we would be your “Window into the Brain Fitness Revolution”, but we couldn’t have predicted that CBS, Time Magazine, WSJ, NYT and other mainstream media would be such great allies in this effort.

Brain Fitness for All

Let’s start with (Wall Street Journal Science Editor) Sharon Begley’s article titled How The Brain Rewires Itself, based on her Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain book. She provides a fascinating overview, summarized as

FOR DECADES, THE PREVAILING DOGMA IN neuroscience was that the adult human brain is essentially immutable, hardwired, fixed in form and function, so that by the time we reach adulthood we are pretty much stuck with what we have. Yes, it can create (and lose) synapses, the connections between neurons that encode memories and learning… . The doctrine of the unchanging human brain has had profound ramifications. …But research in the past few years has overthrown the dogma. In its place has come the realization that the adult brain retains impressive powers of “neuroplasticity” — the ability to change its structure and function in response to experience. These aren’t minor tweaks either.

In short, the brain is not that different from a muscle (better said, a group of muscles). It can be trained. At any age. Not with magical pills or cures, but with focus and disciplined training.

Brain Fitness for Students

Just today we found out that Sharp sums in the head aim to blunt impact of TV, on a topic we have been discussing for a few weeks with several of our scientific advisors. We quote:

  • “Gilles de Robien, the Education Minister (in France), has ordered children to carry out between 15 and 20 minutes of calcul mental (mental arithmetics) every day from the age of 5.
  • Mr de Robien moved after a report from the French Science Academy said that children who practiced sums in their heads had better memories and quicker brains.
  • Questions for the final year of French primary school
  • Calculate in your head
    1. Half of 48, 72, 414, 826 and 1,040
    2. Three times 41, 52, 109, 212 and 503
    3. A third of 12, 66, 93, 309, 636 and 3,024
    4. 76-9, 987-9, 456-19, 497-19 and 564-29
    5. 15×4, 25×4, 30×4, 35×4, 40×4 and 45×4
  • (The answers in the article)

What a great mental training program, and example of the role schools can play in cultivating the minds of students and developing cognitive skills beyond the typical focus on traditional academic disciplines.

Talk about neuroscience applied to education: we will be reporting from a fascinating conference in San Francisco, February 15-17, titled Learning & the Brain: Enhancing Cognition and Emotions for Learning And Student Performance, sponsored by leading universities and the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.

  • Speakers include a truly “Dream Team” of neuroscientists and educators such as Michael S. Gazzaniga, William C. Mobley, John D.E. Gabrieli, Robert M. Sapolsky, Robert Sylwester, and many many others. You can check the program here http://www.edupr.com/schedule2.htm.
  • The description of the event is: “Use this explosion of scientific knowledge to create new, powerful paradigms for teaching and healthcare. Cutting-edge discoveries in neuroscience may soon transform educational and clinical interventions by enhancing memory and cognition. Discover the influences of emotions, gender and the arts. Explore new ways to enhance cognition and to assess potential benefits and pitfalls of using pharmacology, technology and therapy to boost performance.”

The organizers of the conference extended a very kind offer to SharpBrains readers.

A) The normal price for the conference is $499 before January 30th, and $545 afterwards.

B) For SharpBrains readers, you can register at the reduced price of $475 if you do so before February 2nd. You can register here http://www.edupr.com/reg.html, making sure to write SharpBrains1 in the comments section

Brain Fitness for Seniors

A great Chicago Tribune article a couple of days ago, titled Seniors see improvement in brain-training classes, includes

  • “Over the next few years, we will see these [brain health] programs burst into the mainstream with great force,” predicted Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, a clinical professor of neurology at New York University School of Medicine and co-founder of Sharp Brains, a company that evaluates and helps markets brain-fitness programs. A growing body of scientific studies supports the trend.”
  • “The major finding was stunning: Relatively short training regimens — 10 sessions of 1 to 1.5 hours each over five or six weeks — improved mental functioning as long as five years later. Booster sessions helped advance these gains, and some people found it easier to perform everyday tasks, such as managing finances, after mental workouts.”
  • “I think what this shows, conclusively, is that when healthy older people put effort into learning new things, they can improve their mental fitness,” said Michael Marsiske, a member of the research team and an associate professor at the University of Florida at Gainesville. “And even if structured learning is relatively brief, you should be able to see the benefits of that learning for some time to come.”
  • Not all training is alike, however. In the ACTIVE study, each form of mental training (for memory, speed or reasoning) affected only the function targeted without crossing over into other realms. Training results were strongest for speed of mental processing and weakest for memory.
  • “What this tells us is that specific brain functions may need different types of training,” said Dr. Jeffrey Elias, chief of the cognitive-aging program at the National Institute on Aging, which helped fund the ACTIVE study.
  • “With that in mind, researchers probably will design comprehensive programs with multiple types of training to forestall age-related mental decline, Elias predicted.”

Brain Fitness for All

Students and seniors can train their brains. Which means: all the rest of us can do so, too. More and more science-based and structured programs will appear-now there are only a handful of them. We will keep you informed in this blog and site.

To help advance public awareness, the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives is organizing the Brain Awareness Week 2007, March 12-18, 2007, with a plethora of activities worldwide. You can check the US ones here, including our Exercising Our Brains class organized with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

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Neuroscience Interview Series: on learning and “brain gyms”

Given that we are getting new readers let’s re-introduce our Neuroscience Interview Series. If you click on the category (in the right bar) that says Neuroscience Interview Series, you will find the updated list of interviews we have conducted (and also some that have found elsewhere, such as the one with Posit Science’s Dr. Michael Merzenich and Dr. John Ratey).

The interviews we have conducted and published so far, with most recent first:

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Inaugural Edition: Brain Fitness Blog Carnival #1

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Brain Fitness Blog Carnival. The timing couldn’t be better — you have probably seen the featured CBS News/TIME Series on Brain Neuroplasticity.Thanks to the over 40 people who submitted posts. We have had to select the posts we enjoyed the most to help facilitate an engaging and informed conversation.

Learning is physical. Our experience literally shapes our brains. And vice versa. The media seems to be focusing mostly on brain fitness for seniors, but its implications go beyond that, as you will see in this post by Caroline: What is Brain Fitness?, and the articles in this carnival.

Science-based understanding is evolving from “Use it or Lose It” to “Use It and Improve It”. As Fast Company’s Alan Deutschman provocatively puts it in his last book, Change or Die. We couldn’t agree more with his summary recommendation: “Relate. Repeat. Reframe.” Alan presents a blog article announcing his book (here is his original article).

Keep Reading the Inaugural Edition: Brain Fitness Blog Carnival #1.

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