Posts Tagged neuroplasticity

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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May e-newsletter: MIT Solve launches Brain Health Challenge, asking “How can every person improve their brain health and mental resilience?”

New thinking

New research

New tools

 

 

Have a great month of June and, for those based in the US, a great Memorial Day weekend,

 

The SharpBrains Team

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5 Facts You Need To Know To Understand, Navigate And Enjoy The Digital Brain Health Revolution

Hundreds of companies around the globe, now including Elon Musk’s Neuralink and even Facebook,  are researching and developing new ways to help brain owners be smarter, sharper, and healthier.

What explains this flurry of activity? Where may it be headed?

To help you understand what’s going on, let me highlight five key facts that emerged from the recent SharpBrains Virtual Summit, where 200+ participants in 16 countries shared and discussed the latest about neurotech­nolo­gy, brain health and digital health.

 

Fact 1. There are 7.5 billion human brains out there, and everyone needs help

Consider all unmet needs derived from the traditional pharma-exclusive approach to brain health.

Learning and cognitive disabilities in children are growing significantly, from ADHD and OCD, to autism. The related emotional and economic burden is substantial — yet, over 60-70% of those with treatment have poor outcomes, and many who need help don’t get any.
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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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Update: To honor Brain Awareness Week 2017, let’s highlight 10 Key Facts To Harness Neuroplasticity And Improve Brain Fitness

Brain Awareness Week took place this month, so let’s first of all discuss these 10 Key Facts to Harness Neuroplasticity & Improve Brain Fitness coming 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.

And here’s the rest of SharpBrains’ March e-newsletter exploring the latest in brain health and mental performance.

New research:

New thinking:

New tools (via SharpBrains’ analysis of neurotech patents):

Finally, here’s a brain teaser to test your pattern recognition and other cognitive skills: The Empty Triangle.

Have a nice Spring!

The SharpBrains Team

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20 Must-Know Facts to Harness Neuroplasticity and Improve Brain Health

holdingbrain——-

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, so let me share these 20 Must-Know Facts to Harness Neuroplasticity & Improve Brain Health that come from the hundreds of scientific and medical studies we analyzed  Read the rest of this entry »

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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

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