Posts Tagged brain

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:

Advertisements

Leave a Comment

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

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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 »

Leave a Comment

Top 10 SharpBrains Resources in 2015 to Navigate the Brain Health Revolution

These are the 10 most popular SharpBrains resources in 2015, spanning a wide range of brain, health & neurotechnology topics and available in multiple platforms:

1. Best prac­tices to assess and enhance brain func­tion via mobile devices and wearables (Slidedeck)

2. Brain Health in the Per­va­sive Neu­rotech­nol­ogy Era (Slidedeck)

3. SharpBrains @ New York Public Library: Practical Advice to Keep Your Brain Sharp (YouTube video)

4. Why We Need to Retool “Use It Or Lose It”: Healthy Brain Aging (ICAA article)

5. Under what con­di­tions does brain train­ing work? (Slidedeck)

6. Pervasive Neurotechnology: A Groundbreaking Analysis of 10,000+ Patent Filings Transforming Medicine, Health, Entertainment and Business (Infographic)

7. Review of The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness (Scientific American blog) — The book is now available in English, Spanish, Japanese and Polish!

8. How Does a Child’s Brain Learn? (Slidedeck)

9. Solving the Brain Fitness Puzzle Is the Key to Self-Empowered Aging (Generations article)

10. 25 Key References to Navigate the Brain Health and Neurotechnology Revolution ( SharpBrains article)

We hope you enjoy them, and share your favorites with other sharp friends and colleagues! To stay on top of new articles and resources, you can follow us via FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and our eNewsletter.

And, if you are looking for some additional cognitive stimulation, check out these great brain teasers, games and illusions, for adults of any age!

Warm regards,

The SharpBrains Team

Leave a Comment

Top 10 SharpBrains Articles of 2015

These are the 10 most popular articles with sharpbrains.com readers in 2015, covering everything brain-related from latest research findings to healthy living tips and emerging neurotechnologies:

1. Can you grow your hippocampus? Yes. Here’s how, and why it matters

2. To harness neuroplasticity, start with enthusiasm

brain_hands_large3. The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains

4. How learning changes your brain

5. Why you turn down the radio when you’re lost

6. 10 neu­rotech­nolo­gies about to trans­form brain enhance­ment and brain health

7. What are cognitive abilities and how to boost them?

8. 8 Tips To Remember What You Read

9. Solving the Brain Fitness Puzzle Is the Key to Self-Empowered Aging

10. Six tips to build resilience and prevent brain-damaging stress

 

We hope you enjoy them, and share your favorites with other sharp friends and colleagues! To stay on top of new articles and resources, you can follow us via Facebook, TwitterLinkedIn and our eNewsletter.

Have a great 2016!

Alvaro Fernandez & the SharpBrains Team

Leave a Comment

Update: Know Thyself, Know How Your Brain Works

What is work­ing mem­ory, and why it mat­ters? Can we multi-task as good as we seem to assume? What should we all know about how our brains work, and why?

We hope you enjoy this August eNewslet­ter, fea­tur­ing six dis­tin­guished con­trib­u­tors who answer those ques­tions, and more. Please remem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this free Brain Fit­ness eNewslet­ter by email.

Know Thy­self

Why work­ing mem­ory mat­ters in the knowl­edge age: As Dr. Tracy Alloway points out, one way to visu­al­ize work­ing mem­ory is as the brain’s “Post-it Notes” — we make men­tal scrib­bles of bits of infor­ma­tion we need to remem­ber and work with. With­out enough work­ing mem­ory we can­not func­tion as a soci­ety or as indi­vid­u­als. Learn more by par­tic­i­pat­ing in this study launched by Dr. Alloway’s team in con­junc­tion with the British Sci­ence Festival.

What should every­one learn about the brain?: Dr. Jo Ellen Rose­man and Mary Kop­pel from the Amer­i­can Asso­ci­a­tion for the Advance­ment of Sci­ence (AAAS) dis­cuss recent rec­om­men­da­tions on what all stu­dents should know. Not just the basics of brain struc­ture and func­tion, but also a good under­stand­ing of men­tal health—such as the mind/body rela­tion­ship, fac­tors that shape behav­ior, ways of cop­ing with men­tal dis­tress, and the diag­no­sis and treat­ment of men­tal disorders.

News

Pool­ing data to accel­er­ate Alzheimer’s research: A good arti­cle in the New York Times presents the rea­sons behind grow­ing research of how to detect Alzheimer’s Dis­ease. A pilot study shows how com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive train­ing may help reduce falls among elderly. Amazon.com rec­om­mends The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness in a thought-provoking mix.

Beyond News

Needed: fund­ing for inno­v­a­tive research on slow­ing cog­ni­tive decline via cog­ni­tive train­ing: Sharp­Brains reader and UK researcher Nick Almond shares a note debunk­ing the so-called BBC brain train­ing exper­i­ment  and out­lin­ing the type of research he and col­leagues at Leeds Uni­ver­sity deem necessary.

Long-term effects of neu­ro­feed­back treat­ment for ADHD: Dr. David Rabiner reviews the 6-month follow-up of a sci­en­tific study on whether neu­ro­feed­back can help kids with atten­tion deficits, find­ing that ben­e­fits indeed remained 6 months after treat­ment had ended. Given, how­ever, that only around 50% of chil­dren showed ben­e­fits, it is impor­tant to regard this tool as part of a mul­ti­modal treat­ment program.

Brain Teaser

Test your atten­tional focus and multi-tasking: How often do you read a doc­u­ment while talk­ing on the phone with a client? Or think about your prob­lems at work while help­ing your child with his home­work? Human atten­tion is lim­ited, and we need to man­age it well, as shown in this teaser pre­pared by Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon.

Have a great Sep­tem­ber. And, should you hap­pen to be in Barcelona, Spain, on Sep­tem­ber 14th, make sure to attend Alvaro Fer­nan­dez talk there titled “How and Why Dig­i­tal Tech­nol­ogy Will Trans­form Edu­ca­tion, Train­ing and Brain Health”.

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »