The Science and Practice of
      Brain Fitness



                Alvaro Fernandez. June 10th, 2008
An Introduction to SharpBrains

 Brain Fitness Market Research and Advisory Services:
  Independent, not affiliated with ...
Industry-leading publications


  State of the Brain   Brain Fitness 101 eGuide:   10-Questions Checklist
  Fitness Softwa...
An Introduction to our Webinar Series


#1: “The State of the Brain Fitness Software Market,
  2008”
   May 27th
#2: “Bra...
Key take-aways

    Groundbreaking studies show the value of Mental
     Stimulation and Stress management, on top of nut...
Content

    First, let’s warm-up
    Science and trends
    Training the 7 main “mental muscles”
        Motor coordi...
And let’s create some synapses


 Which word in the English language is most
  often pronounced incorrectly?

 Would you...
Let’s work out some neurons while checking
our attention and processing speed


Quickly, name the colors of the following ...
How Accurate is your Memory?

          Draw the face of a penny.




          Which penny is the right one?
Content

    First, let’s warm-up
    Science and trends
    Training the 7 main “mental muscles”
        Motor coordi...
The “3 brains”

                                                    1) Reptilian:
         3) “Human”:                2) M...
Parts of the cortex- the “human” brain




                       Deals with the most integrated brain functions:
  Fronta...
New research at the intersection of Cognition
and Emotion

   Some areas that typically improve as we age
     Self-regu...
The source of a few miscommunications




  Graph by Rita Carter, Mapping the Mind
What happens when we learn something new



                           New            Old




 Graph by Rita Carter, Mappi...
The promise of neuroplasticity


     Salk Institute: enriched environments for mice
     London cab drivers: vigorous c...
Intervention modalities
Program for Working Memory Training
Stress management: the balloon gains altitude
and overcomes obstacles as you relax
Content

    First, let’s warm-up
    Science and trends
    Training the 7 main “mental muscles”
        Motor coordi...
What does a complete brain workout look
like?
Content

    First, let’s warm-up
    Science and trends
    Training the 7 main “mental muscles”
        Motor coordi...
Motor coordination


   Draw a circle with the right hand and a
    square with the left one
   Now, draw a square with ...
Content

    First, let’s warm-up
    Science and trends
    Training the 7 main “mental muscles”
        Motor coordi...
Visualization for relaxation


Travel back to a time
     Index: when you felt a healthy exhaustion
     Middle: loving ...
The interaction of Emotion, Focus and
keeping an Open Mind (basket example)
Content

    First, let’s warm-up
    Science and trends
    Training the 7 main “mental muscles”
        Motor coordi...
What is a memory and what is a pattern
   Usual perception: memories are like snapshots
    taken by a camera
   Reality...
Content

    First, let’s warm-up
    Science and trends
    Training the 7 main “mental muscles”
        Motor coordi...
Sensory Activities


 Chocolate melting experiment: eyes closed,
  let the chocolate melt in your mouth
Content

    First, let’s warm-up
    Science and trends
    Training the 7 main “mental muscles”
        Motor coordi...
Haiku


 Write a haiku that expresses what area of
  brain research you are most interested in and
  why.
  Haiku: A Jap...
Content

    First, let’s warm-up
    Science and trends
    Training the 7 main “mental muscles”
        Motor coordi...
Visual: Which one doesn’t fit
Content

    First, let’s warm-up
    Science and trends
    Training the 7 main “mental muscles”
        Motor coordi...
Executive Functions: What box should come
next?
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 pl...
Key take-aways

    Groundbreaking studies show the value of Mental
     Stimulation and Stress management, on top of nut...
Thanks for your attention!



  For information and teasers:

     Visit www.sharpbrains.com

     contact Alvaro at
   ...
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The Science and Practice of Brain Fitness

  1. 1. The Science and Practice of Brain Fitness Alvaro Fernandez. June 10th, 2008
  2. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 8. Let’s work out some neurons while checking our attention and processing speed Quickly, name the colors of the following words
  9. 9. How Accurate is your Memory? Draw the face of a penny. Which penny is the right one?
  10. 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. 11. The “3 brains” 1) Reptilian: 3) “Human”: 2) Mammalian: breathing, thoughts emotions movement Graph by Rita Carter, Mapping the Mind
  12. 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. 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. 14. The source of a few miscommunications Graph by Rita Carter, Mapping the Mind
  15. 15. What happens when we learn something new New Old Graph by Rita Carter, Mapping the Mind
  16. 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. 17. Intervention modalities
  18. 18. Program for Working Memory Training
  19. 19. Stress management: the balloon gains altitude and overcomes obstacles as you relax
  20. 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. 21. What does a complete brain workout look like?
  22. 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. 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. 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. 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. 26. The interaction of Emotion, Focus and keeping an Open Mind (basket example)
  27. 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. 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. 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. 30. Sensory Activities  Chocolate melting experiment: eyes closed, let the chocolate melt in your mouth
  31. 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. 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. 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. 34. Visual: Which one doesn’t fit
  35. 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. 36. Executive Functions: What box should come next?
  37. 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. 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. 39. Thanks for your attention! For information and teasers:  Visit www.sharpbrains.com  contact Alvaro at information@sharpbrains.com
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