Posts Tagged Brain teasers

eNews: Repetitive negative thinking seen to increase (or perhaps be caused by) Alzheimer’s pathology


Time for a new edition of SharpBrains’ e-newsletter, featuring this month 13 research findings, resources and brain teasers for lifelong brain and mental health.

#1. “We found that people who exhibited higher repetitive negative thinking patterns experienced more cognitive decline over a four-year period. They also had specific declines in memory (which is an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease), and had more amyloid and tau deposits in their brain … There’s increasing evidence that chronic stress is both harmful to your body – and your brain. But more research is needed to understand this link.” Repetitive negative thinking may increase (or perhaps be caused by) cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s pathology

#2. “…even simple cognitive processes like making a shopping list now require more brainpower. “Now, rather than thinking, ‘I’ll just run to the store’, you’re thinking about what you need, what stores are open and whether it’ll be safe to go there. Let’s say your brain can do four tasks at once. Now all of a sudden there are 10, and you can’t do any of them” … rebooting your working memory may also mean cutting down on your news consumption and considering a break from social media. But the most effective thing to do might simply be to convince yourself it’s OK to be struggling.” Why stress regulation and working memory are core building blocks of lifelong resilience

#3. Ten years from now, will we see DSM-6 or Something Much Better (SMB)-1? The way we approach Mental Health today is broken beyond repair. The question is, what comes next, and how fast can we get there?

#4. Now, please draw the letter J in your mind. Then, draw the letter D. Turn it 90 degrees to the left and put it in top of the J. What does this shape resemble? Enjoy these three quick brain teasers to exercise your working memory

#5. “Reading science fiction and fantasy can help readers make sense of the world. Rather than limiting readers’ capacity to deal with reality, exposure to outside-the-box creative stories may expand their ability to engage reality based on science … With increasing rates of anxiety, depression, and mental health issues for youth in the past two decades, it may be the case that young people, no different from American society generally, are suffering from reality overload.” — Esther L. Jones, Ph.D Reading science fiction can help children build critical thinking and resilience

#6. “For decades, use of biofeedback to help sufferers of anxiety, among other psychological conditions, has largely been limited to clinical settings with expensive—and somewhat tedious—medical equipment. Now, with an assist from developers of virtual-reality games, effective therapeutic biofeedback is becoming more affordable, accessible and engaging.” Virtual-reality gaming + affordable biofeedback = Anxiety therapy for all?

#7. Now comes the real challenge: getting doctors to prescribe it, insurers to pay for it, kids to use it and hopefully see significant improvements in daily life. FDA clears first videogame to be prescribed to kids with ADHD: EndeavorRx by Akili Interactive Labs

#8. Hope you enjoy this overview by Dr. Ricardo Gil-da-Costa at Neuroverse and our very own Alvaro Fernandez: Explore The State of Noninvasive Neurotechnology in 37 minutes and 1 image

#9. Here with neuroscientist Mara Dierssen, in Spanish: Cómo minimizar el impacto del Covid-19 en nuestro cerebro

#10. Ignoring problems doesn’t typically solve them — good to see serious attempts to understand, detect and address chemo brain. Growing research shows how two of the major cancer treatments, radiation and chemotherapy, can lead to long-term cognitive impairment

#11. “… COVID-19 may lead to anywhere from 27,644 to 154,037 additional U.S. deaths of despair, as mass unemployment, social isolation, depression and anxiety drive increases in suicides and drug overdoses.” Time to reimagine brain & mind care: Four immediate priorities to flatten the mental distress curve

#12. Moving beyond Either/ Or Thinking: Antidepressant vortioxetine combined with cognitive training may help delay cognitive decline

#13. Not the worst week to leave Earth, but still plenty of mental health challenges in space. Request for proposals to help astronauts combat behavioral health challenges such as stress and isolation


Have a good and safe summer,

The SharpBrains Team

Leave a Comment

What’s New in Brain Health and Mental Well-being, plus a few fun Brain Teasers

Time for a new edition of SharpBrains’ e-newsletter.

#1. First of all, it’s not all bad news this month. Study finds that moderate lifetime drinking may lead to lower Alzheimer-related beta amyloid deposits in the brain

#2. And, talk about personalized medicine! This fascinating study showing how brain imaging (fMRI) + machine learning + intensive, non-invasive neurostimulation = targeted treatments that can maximize efficacy and minimize side effects: Reinventing depression treatment via transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS)

#3. Also, not a minute too soon … Meditation apps have gone mainstream in the covid-19 era and Digital health start-ups raised a record $3.1 billion in Q1; focus will likely evolve from providers to consumers and employers

#4. Fyi, a very timely virtual event coming Tuesday April 28th, online: Explore strategies and tools to boost mental wellbeing during (and after) Covid-19

#5. Now, “While Pear has an advantage over the competition in that its products are backed by randomized clinical trials, physicians and health plans are still working out how to prescribe and pay for digital therapeutics.” The FDA clears Somryst, Pear’s digital therapeutic to treat chronic insomnia

#6. Net net, now is the time for individual and collective action to shift to a healthier “new normal” for all: 3 ways to protect your mental health during –and after– COVID-19 (in Spanish: Tres hábitos de higiene mental para vencer al COVID-19 y crear un futuro más saludable). Want more? Enjoy these Three tips for wise minds to calm coronavirus anxiety

#7. A small but important study for that hopeful near future when universities and colleges reopen their doors: Study finds mixed results of Adderall as cognitive enhancer (seems to boost emotion more than cognition)

#8. But, first things first. “The Bee Gees song “Stayin’ Alive” reached #1 on the pop charts in 1977. Maybe it was the beat, maybe it was John Travolta’s dancing. Or maybe it’s that the Gibb brothers’ central lyric is quite literally always playing in our head. Keeping us safe —that is, “stayin’ alive ”— is the primary mission of the brain”

Enough with coronavirus outbreak. Anything else going on? Yes!

#9. The Right to Personal Identity. The Right to Free Will. The Right to Mental Privacy. The Right to Equal Access to Mental Augmentation. The Right to Protection from Algorithmic Bias. Will these five NeuroRights help harness emerging neurotechnologies for the common good?

#10. “Today, the scientific investigation of transcendent experiences is, in my view, one of the most exciting frontiers in the science of well-being.” Transcending Maslow’s famous “hierarchy of needs” through Maslow’s own research on Peak Experiences

#11. You CAN have your cake and eat it too: Here’s a brain teaser to stimulate your mental imagery, spatial rotation … and appetite

#12. Question: My first thought after congratulating myself on being so clever about something? Tease your brain with these eight fun riddles


Wishing you and yours a great month of May,


The SharpBrains Team

Leave a Comment

How to practice good mental hygiene during the coronavirus outbreak


It’s time for a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring this time 14 timely news and resources for mental health and brain health innovation.

First of all, let’s remain safe, healthy, and centered during the current health crisis by following these tips provided by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley:

1. Stay calm and focused
2. Pay attention to those doing the right thing
3. Show gratitude
4. Remember our common bonds

1) “Of course, all of these guidelines don’t supplant the importance of practicing good hygiene. We need to continue to frequently wash our hands and avoid touching our faces, so that we can lessen the chance of infecting ourselves and others. But we also should remember our mental hygiene—staying calm ourselves, being grateful especially to those doing the right thing, and remembering our common humanity. In this way, we can help to make the world safer for all of us.” Four tips to practice good mental hygiene during the coronavirus outbreak

2) “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”
–Alexander Graham Bell

Thankfully, neurotech pioneer Tan Le outlines several areas where we can take a practical approach to address changes already underway and lay the groundwork for a more seamless transition to a new era. Fast Forward to 2040: How to prepare for the new era in brain enhancement that will change the way we think, work, and heal

3) Here’s a beautiful way to explore the anatomy of brain regions and brain functions. The Virtual Brain Web Atlas: How the Mind emerges from the Brain

4) “Before students decide to slip in their earbuds, though, they should carefully consider both their musical selection and the nature of the task” … because “We found that (1) music generally impaired complex task performance, (2) complex music facilitated simple task performance, and (3) preference for external stimulation moderated these effects. Therefore, the data suggest that music’s effects on task performance depend on the music, the task, and the performer” Does music facilitate or impair cognitive task performance? It depends…

5) Because learning cannot, must not, ever stop: Meet the Top 50 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2020

6) Any plans for the summer? Four ways hiking promotes cognitive and emotional health

7) Harnessing tech to promote social connectedness: Every Wednesday starting today we can join scientist/ entrepreneur Rana el Kaliouby online to discuss her new book! Virtual book tour to explore the frontier of Emotional Intelligence and Technology

8) On-field or off-field, training goes on: Sports teams find creative ways to cross-train the brain off-field

9) “You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure” hasn’t yet reached public health … but it will. To screen, or not to screen (for dementia), that is still the question

10) Summarizing a recent study, “children’s sleep should be evaluated as part of an ADHD evaluation as sleep difficulties are more common … addressing sleep issues in children with ADHD is a feasible and relatively low-cost approach that can be a valuable treatment component for many children.” Study: A brief sleep intervention can bring measurable and sustained benefits to children with ADHD

11) Some may and will disagree, but net net this offers a major opportunity to harness smartphone use data for good: Verily and LivaNova accelerate efforts to detect and treat depression

12) Potential big news in the neuromodulation market; coronavirus or not we all have awesome brains and will experience brain/ mental health needs in the future: Medtronic might acquire LivaNova’s neuromodulation business

13) What if “An employer wants to reduce the risk of on-the-job disability, so it screens applicants for neurological markers that they are predisposed to chronic pain and depression…” Let’s anticipate the potential misuse of neurological data to minimize the risks–and maximize the benefits

14) The first brain teaser/ test here is especially relevant these days … Seven fun brain teasers to honor our unique Brains and Minds during Brain Awareness Week 2020


Have a good and healthy Spring,

The SharpBrains Team

Leave a Comment

Seven fun brain teasers and puzzle games to honor Brain Awareness Week 2020

Let’s celebrate Brain Awareness Week next week, March 16–22nd, by challenging our minds with one brain teaser per day … or, why not, trying them all at once 🙂

Here’s a selection of seven fun brain teasers, puzzles & games that SharpBrains readers (primarily adults, but younger minds too) have enjoyed the most since 2010.

Ready. Set. Go!

On Monday:

Test your stress level and see if you’re in the right mental state for the busy week. And here are some tips to handle stress better if you need to after taking the test …

On Tuesday:

Tell us, which way is the bus heading?

On Wednesday:

Explore your perceptual biases

On Thursday:

Think outside the box with a few fun riddles

On Friday:

Please consider Linda’s job prospects

On Saturday:

Complete these proverbs and exercise your memory and reasoning

On Sunday:

Hmm. Where do words go?

About Brain Awareness Week:

Every March, Brain Awareness Week (BAW) unites the efforts of partner organizations worldwide in a celebration of the brain for people of all ages. Activities are limited only by the organizers’ imaginations and include open days at neuroscience labs; exhibitions about the brain; lectures on brain-related topics; social media campaigns; displays at libraries and community centers; classroom workshops; and more.

This year BAW will take place March 16–22th, 2020.

To explore more fun brain teasers and puzzle games:

Leave a Comment

Latest brain research, tools and teasers to think outside the mental health status quo box

Time for a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring a range of  research findings, resources, brain teasers and riddles to help translate emerging neuroscience into real-world applications and improve our collective brain & mental health.

New thinking:

New research:

New tools:

Fun brain teasers:


Have a great month of March,


The SharpBrains Team


Leave a Comment

Brain teaser: How could this happen?

Imagine spending the summer polishing your PhD thesis in the library. Every day you take the subway, a train going up North to the university.

One day you realize that the trains going South can bring you to the beach. Nothing is wrong with some leisure. You calculate that if you spend half of the remaining summer vacation in the library that should be enough to finish the thesis. To spice up the summer,every day you catch the first train that comes to the platform. It may be South train going to the beach or the North one heading to the university. Read the rest of this entry »

Leave a Comment

Seven riddles to celebrate Halloween


Q: Who created the universe?
A:  Mama!

Q: What is full of hope, often thought of, but doesn’t exist?
A: Tomorrow.

Q: What is it that you can fear, anticipate, even cause, but will never be able to experience?
A: Death.

Q: What is another name for Life?
A: Death’s exquisitely furnished waiting-room.

Q: Do you desire to live forever?
A:  You do already. (Prove that you don’t!)

Q: If life’s a scream, what’s death?
A: A shrug!

Q: What is by far the most outstanding and surprising of all humankind’s successes?
A:  Waking up in the morning.


– Keith Perreur-Lloyd is an Anglo-French composer and musician currently living in Spain. You can learn more about his classical compositions here.

More fun ways to challenge your brain and mind:

Leave a Comment

Quick brain teaser to stretch your mind and understand your cognitive biases


This is Ellen, a single and bright woman. When she was a student —in high school and in college too— Ellen was deeply involved in environmental issues, and also participated in social justice protests.

Now it’s 2019, and Ellen is 31-year-old.

Question: Which of the following statements are more probable regarding Ellen’s occupation today, and in what order?

A) Ellen is a bank teller;

B) Ellen works as a TV reporter;

C) Ellen is a bank teller at a small community bank; she remains active fighting climate change.


Quick, what’s your answer? In what order would you rank those 3 options? Read the rest of this entry »

Leave a Comment

Study: Trained older brains can outperform untrained younger ones at demanding cognitive tasks

Leave a Comment

Are you familiar with these research findings and neurotechnologies revolutionizing Brain & Mental Health?

Try adding 3 and 8 in your head.

That was easy. Now, trying adding 33 and 88. That was probably more difficult. Finally, try adding 333 and 888.

Time for SharpBrains’ October e-newsletter, this time discussing a range of research findings and technologies revolutionizing brain and mental health.

New thinking about cognition, brain and mind:

Emerging toolkit for brain health & enhancement:

News about the 2017 SharpBrains Virtual Summit (December 5-7th):

And finally, a couple of fun brain teasers to start the week of the right foot:


Have a great month of November!

The SharpBrains Team

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »