The Science and Practice of Brain Fitness

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Brain and brain fitness fundamentals.

Brain and brain fitness fundamentals.

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  • 1. The Science and Practice of Brain Fitness Alvaro Fernandez. June 10th, 2008
  • 2. An Introduction to SharpBrains  Brain Fitness Market Research and Advisory Services: Independent, not affiliated with products/ vendors.  For institutions: Market Research, Consulting and Training Services.  For individuals: Blog and Educational Website  Co-Founded by neuroscientist Elkhonon Goldberg and executive & educator Alvaro Fernandez.  Member of Scientific American Partner Network.  Over 10 scientists, educators, as blog Expert Contributors.  Featured by NYT, US News & World News, Reuters…  Learn more: www.sharpbrains.com  You can find all teasers that follow at: www.sharpbrains.com/teasers  Contact: Alvaro Fernandez at information@sharpbrains.com
  • 3. Industry-leading publications State of the Brain Brain Fitness 101 eGuide: 10-Questions Checklist Fitness Software Answers to Your Top 25 to Evaluate Programs Market 2008 ($495) Questions (Free) Making Brain Fitness Claims (Free)
  • 4. An Introduction to our Webinar Series #1: “The State of the Brain Fitness Software Market, 2008”  May 27th #2: “Brain Rules for Thinking Smarter”, with John Medina  June 3rd #3: “The Science and Practice of Brain Fitness”, based on classes ad speaking engagements  June 10th
  • 5. Key take-aways  Groundbreaking studies show the value of Mental Stimulation and Stress management, on top of nutrition and physical exercise.  We have “3 brains” and 7 key “mental muscles”.  Good brain exercise requires: - Novelty - Variety - Challenging Practice  There is an increasing number of science-based computer-based programs to train specific cognitive skills. None is a General Solution/ “magic pill”.
  • 6. Content  First, let’s warm-up  Science and trends  Training the 7 main “mental muscles”  Motor coordination  Emotions  Memory  Executive  Sensory  Language  Visual
  • 7. And let’s create some synapses  Which word in the English language is most often pronounced incorrectly?  Would you rather a crocodile attack you or an alligator?  What is the next number in the sequence 2 5 7 12 19 31 _
  • 8. Let’s work out some neurons while checking our attention and processing speed Quickly, name the colors of the following words
  • 9. How Accurate is your Memory? Draw the face of a penny. Which penny is the right one?
  • 10. Content  First, let’s warm-up  Science and trends  Training the 7 main “mental muscles”  Motor coordination  Emotions  Memory  Executive  Sensory  Language  Visual
  • 11. The “3 brains” 1) Reptilian: 3) “Human”: 2) Mammalian: breathing, thoughts emotions movement Graph by Rita Carter, Mapping the Mind
  • 12. Parts of the cortex- the “human” brain Deals with the most integrated brain functions: Frontal Lobe thinking, conceptualizing and planning. Movement, orientation, calculation and certain Parietal Lobe types of recognition. Temporal Lobe Auditory and language Occipital Lobe Visual Graph by Morphonix
  • 13. New research at the intersection of Cognition and Emotion  Some areas that typically improve as we age  Self-regulation  Emotional functioning  Wisdom: move from Problem solving to Pattern recognition  Some areas that typically decline as we age  Effortful, deliberative and resource-intensive  Processing speed  Memory: working, recall, source  Attention: selective, divided  Mental imagery  Problem-solving  For all, our actions influence the rate of improvement and/ or decline Source: Laura Carstensen, several papers (2005)
  • 14. The source of a few miscommunications Graph by Rita Carter, Mapping the Mind
  • 15. What happens when we learn something new New Old Graph by Rita Carter, Mapping the Mind
  • 16. The promise of neuroplasticity  Salk Institute: enriched environments for mice  London cab drivers: vigorous cognitive stimulation offset detrimental ageing effect  Jugglers: the visual brain grows  Studies on bilingual people  School Sisters of Notredame in Mankato, Minnesota, and the Cognitive Reserve  Cognitive Therapy  Meditation  Biofeedback © SharpBrains.
  • 17. Intervention modalities
  • 18. Program for Working Memory Training
  • 19. Stress management: the balloon gains altitude and overcomes obstacles as you relax
  • 20. Content  First, let’s warm-up  Science and trends  Training the 7 main “mental muscles”  Motor coordination  Emotions  Memory  Executive  Sensory  Language  Visual
  • 21. What does a complete brain workout look like?
  • 22. Content  First, let’s warm-up  Science and trends  Training the 7 main “mental muscles”  Motor coordination  Emotions  Memory  Sensory  Language  Visual  Executive
  • 23. Motor coordination  Draw a circle with the right hand and a square with the left one  Now, draw a square with the right hand and a circle with the left one  Sign up for a dancing class!
  • 24. Content  First, let’s warm-up  Science and trends  Training the 7 main “mental muscles”  Motor coordination  Emotions  Memory  Sensory  Language  Visual  Executive
  • 25. Visualization for relaxation Travel back to a time  Index: when you felt a healthy exhaustion  Middle: loving exchange  Ring: most caring gesture you have ever received  Little: most magnificient place you have seen Source: Five Good minutes, by Jeffrey Brantley
  • 26. The interaction of Emotion, Focus and keeping an Open Mind (basket example)
  • 27. Content  First, let’s warm-up  Science and trends  Training the 7 main “mental muscles”  Motor coordination  Emotions  Memory  Sensory  Language  Visual  Executive
  • 28. What is a memory and what is a pattern  Usual perception: memories are like snapshots taken by a camera  Reality: memories are circuits of neurons. We recreate experiences, not retrieve copies  Intuition: condensation of analytic experiences. Illustration by Elkhonon Goldberg, The Wisdom Paradox
  • 29. Content  First, let’s warm-up  Science and trends  Training the 7 main “mental muscles”  Motor coordination  Emotions  Memory  Sensory  Language  Visual  Executive
  • 30. Sensory Activities  Chocolate melting experiment: eyes closed, let the chocolate melt in your mouth
  • 31. Content  First, let’s warm-up  Science and trends  Training the 7 main “mental muscles”  Motor coordination  Emotions  Memory  Sensory  Language  Visual  Executive
  • 32. Haiku  Write a haiku that expresses what area of brain research you are most interested in and why. Haiku: A Japanese lyric verse form that has three lines of five, seven, and five syllables.
  • 33. Content  First, let’s warm-up  Science and trends  Training the 7 main “mental muscles”  Motor coordination  Emotions  Memory  Sensory  Language  Visual  Executive
  • 34. Visual: Which one doesn’t fit
  • 35. Content  First, let’s warm-up  Science and trends  Training the 7 main “mental muscles”  Motor coordination  Emotions  Memory  Sensory  Language  Visual  Executive
  • 36. Executive Functions: What box should come next?
  • 37. Towers of Hanoi: What is the minimum number of moves you need to place the disks in column C (you can not place a large plate on top of a smaller one)? A B C
  • 38. Key take-aways  Groundbreaking studies show the value of Mental Stimulation and Stress management, on top of nutrition and physical exercise.  We have “3 brains” and 7 key “mental muscles”.  Good brain exercise requires: - Novelty - Variety - Challenging Practice  There is an increasing number of science-based computer-based programs to train specific cognitive skills. None is a General Solution/ “magic pill”.
  • 39. Thanks for your attention! For information and teasers:  Visit www.sharpbrains.com  contact Alvaro at information@sharpbrains.com