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.
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 But our healthcare and retirement systems are on track to go bankrupt – their premises are outdated.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.
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.
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.
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Have a Happy Thanksgiving!