Posts Tagged brain

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

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How to practice good mental hygiene during the coronavirus outbreak

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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

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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 »

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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

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In honor of Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, let’s discuss 10 Key Facts To Harness Brain Plasticity And Prolong Brain Health

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, so let me share 10 Key Facts to harness brain plasticity & prolong brain health that come from the hundreds of scientific and medical studies we analyzed to prepare the book The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: How to Improve Brain Health and Performance at Any Age:

  • 1. Genes do not determine the fate of our brains (not even the infamous APOE4). Thanks to lifelong neuroplasticity, our lifestyles are as important as our genes-if not even more important- in determining how our brains grow and our minds evolve.
  • 2. There is more than one “It” in “Use It or Lose It” — our performance depends on a variety of brain functions and cognitive skills, not just one (be it “attention” or “memory” or any other).
  • 3. Physical exercise and increased fitness promote brain functioning through a variety of mechanisms, such as increased brain volume, blood supply and growth hormone levels. In particular, cardiovascular exercise seems to bring the greatest brain benefits.
  • 4. Mental stimulation strengthens the connections between neurons (synapses), improving neuron survival and cognitive functioning and building your cognitive reserve–which helps your brain better cope with normal aging and Alzheimer’s pathology in the long-term.
  • 5. The only leisure activity that has been associated with reduced cognitive function is watching television. What could explain that? Well, routine, passive activities do not challenge the brain. Keeping up the challenge requires going to the next level of difficulty, trying something new, generating new thoughts and strategies and lessons learned.
  • 6. The Mediterranean Diet, supplemented with olive oil and nuts, is associated with decreased risk of cognitive decline.
  • 7. Moderate doses of caffeine increase alertness but there is no clear sustained lifetime health benefit (or harm).
  • 8. Taking “brain supplements”  does not seem to boost cognitive function or reduce risks of cognitive decline or dementia, unless directed to address an identified deficiency.
  • 9. Chronic stress reduces and can even inhibit neurogenesis. Memory and general mental flexibility are impaired by chronic stress…so it’s good to see the growing evidence that meditation and biofeedback can successfully teach users to self-regulate physiological stress.
  • 10. No size fits all…so, to improve and prolong brain function, it’s critical to understand and address individual needs and starting point.

What counts in terms of neuroplasticity and brain health is not reading this article–or any other–but practicing healthy behaviors every day. Please revisit the fact above that really grabbed your attention–ideally one that you may have overlooked and therefore may bring most “bang for the buck” now–and make a decision to try something new this summer.

To learn more:

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Update: Why Untrained Brains Are A Bit Like Puppies (And How Dance Offers Great Brain Training)

Time for SharpBrains’ April e-newsletter, featuring what’s new in brain health and cognitive performance. Quite stimulating reading 🙂

New thinking

New research

>New tools

Upcoming event

 

Finally, here you have 5 quick brain teasers to sharpen two key cognitive skills: attention and working memory.

 

Have a great month of May,

 

The SharpBrains Team

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Neuroplasticity: Past, Present and Future

— One of Ramón y Cajal’s iconic images, showing a Purkinje neuron with its treelike structure

The Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis hosts a wonderful temporary exhibit highlighting the medical illustrations of neuroplasticity pioneer Santiago Ramón y Cajal. Titled The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, it will remain open until May 21st, 2017.

Who was Ramón y Cajal? Why does his research on neuroscience and neuroplasticity matter? Keep reading article over at The Creativity Post.

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