SharpBrains @ New York Public Library

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Overview of neuroplasticity, cognition and brain fitness, based on the book talk for The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness at New York Public Library on September 29th, 2009.

More information on the book available here:
http://www.sharpbrains.com/book/

This presentation has a Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives license, so you can use it for classes and lectures, as appropriate.

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SharpBrains @ New York Public Library

  1. 1. SharpBrains @ New York Public Library 09/25/09 http://www.sharpbrains.com/book/ Presentation Redistribution allowed, under Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works License
  2. 2. Draw a circle with the right hand and a square with the left one
  3. 3. Debunking 10 Myths 1. Genes determine the fate of our brains. 2. Aging means automatic decline. 3. Medication is the only hope for cognitive enhancement. 4. We will soon have a Magic Pill or General Solution. 5. There is only one “it” in “Use It or Lose it”. 6. All mental activity is equal. 7. After age X, no new neurons are generated in the human brain. 8. We all have something called “Brain Age”. 9. That “brain age” can be reversed by 10, 20, 30 years. 10. All human brains need the same mental exercise.
  4. 4. Games I am playing… © SharpBrains
  5. 5. An introduction to SharpBrains  SharpBrains (www.sharpbrains.com) is a Market Research & Publishing firm, co-founded in 2005 by Alvaro Fernandez and Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg  SharpBrains doesn’t develop or sell products  SharpBrains has been quoted in The New York Times, WSJ, CNN, Scientific American Mind, …  Dozens of neuroscientists collaborate with SharpBrains
  6. 6. SharpBrains.com
  7. 7. 5 Data Points © SharpBrains
  8. 8. 5 Data Points © SharpBrains
  9. 9. 5 Data Points © SharpBrains
  10. 10. Chapters I. The Brain and Brain Fitness 101 II. The 4 Pillars of Brain Maintenance III. Mental Exercise vs. Mental Activity IV. How to Evaluate and Choose Products V. Emerging Research and Applications VI. Ready For the Future? VII. Opening the Debate
  11. 11. What is this? How many do we have?
  12. 12. A complex system Goal-oriented Emotions, Breathing, behavior, memory movement thinking Source: Rita Carter, Mapping the Mind
  13. 13. Parts of the cortex by Morphonix
  14. 14. What is Brain Fitness  The general state of feeling alert, in control, productive.  Having fit brain functions, as required to function in society, in our occupations, in our communities. It is about attention, information processing, memory, emotional self-regulation, planning…  It is not about “IQ”.  It is not (mainly) about Alzheimer’s Disease.  Can it be measured today?
  15. 15. Five-fingered 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
  16. 16. Which one doesn’t fit
  17. 17. Cognition and Aging  Some areas that typically improve as we age  Self-regulation  Emotional functioning  Wisdom: from problem-solving to pattern recognition  Some areas that typically decline as we age  Processing speed  Attention: selective, divided  Memory: working, recall, source  Effortful problem-solving
  18. 18. What is lifelong learning? “Learning is physical. Learning means the modification, growth, and pruning of our neurons, connections–called synapses– and neuronal networks, through experience...When we do so, we are cultivating our own neuronal networks. We become our own gardeners” - Dr. James Zull, Professor of Biology and Biochemistry at Case Western University
  19. 19. What is attention and how to train it “…we have found no ceiling for abilities such as attention, including among adults. The more training, even with normal people, the higher the results.“ - Dr. Michael Posner, Emeritus Professor at the University of Oregon, and first recipient of the Dogan Prize
  20. 20. Recovering from traumatic brain injury “There is much more optimism and hope today …about how many traumatic brain injury patients can improve, if given the opportunity to.” - Lee Woodruff, co-author of In An Instant with husband, reporter and TBI survivor Bob Woodruff
  21. 21. Chapters I. The Brain and Brain Fitness 101 II. The 4 Pillars of Brain Maintenance III. Mental Exercise vs. Mental Activity IV. How to Evaluate and Choose Products V. Emerging Research and Applications VI. Ready For the Future? VII. Opening the Debate
  22. 22. Brain Maintenance  Neuroplasticity = The brain lifelong capacity to reorganize itself according to one’s experiences  Drive good neuroplasticity through:  Balanced Diet  Physical Exercise  Stress Management  Mental Stimulation © SharpBrains
  23. 23. Brain Maintenance: Mental Stimulation The 3 key principles for good mental stimulation are: 1. Novelty 2. Variety 3. Challenge © SharpBrains
  24. 24. What is this?
  25. 25. Building a cognitive reserve to delay Alzheimer’s symptoms “Individuals who lead mentally stimulating lives, through education, occupation and leisure activities, seem to have 35-40% less risk of manifesting Alzheimer’s Disease” - Dr. Yaakov Stern, Division Leader of the Cognitive Neuroscience Division of the Sergievsky Center at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York.
  26. 26. A multi-pronged approach to brain health “…components of a well-rounded approach to brain health involve: A) Appropriate nutrition B) Stimulating brain activity C) Physical activity D) Stress reduction E) Be Aware of side effects of medications” - Dr. Larry McCleary, former acting Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Denver Children's Hospital
  27. 27. Why we need both physical and mental exercise “Ideally, combine both physical and mental stimulation along with social interactions. Why not take a good walk with friends to discuss a book?" - Dr. Arthur Kramer, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Biomedical Imaging Center at the University of Illinois © SharpBrains
  28. 28. Chapters I. The Brain and Brain Fitness 101 II. The 4 Pillars of Brain Maintenance III. Mental Exercise vs. Mental Activity IV. How to Evaluate and Choose Products V. Emerging Research and Applications VI. Ready For the Future? VII. Opening the Debate
  29. 29. Mental Exercise vs. Mental Activity Which job would you choose? Source: Maguire, Woollett, & Spiers, 2006 © SharpBrains
  30. 30. Meditation “…meditation requires practice and dedication. It is not an easy fix… You need to match practice with need: understand the specific goals you have in mind, your schedule and lifestyle, and find something practical.” - Dr. Andrew Newberg, Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology and Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania
  31. 31. Cognitive therapy “Thanks to fMRI and other neuroimaging techniques we are starting to understand the impact our actions can have on specific parts of the brain.“ - Dr. Judith S. Beck, Director of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research, and author of The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person
  32. 32. Biofeedback “It is important to understand the role of emotions: they are not “bad”. They are very useful signals. It is important to become aware of them to avoid being engulfed by them, and learn how to manage them.” - Dr. Brett Steenbarger, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, SUNY Medical University © SharpBrains
  33. 33. The value and limitations of targeted training "What was very surprising was that there was also a clear benefit in auditory memory, which wasn’t directly trained. In other words, people who were 75-years-old performed auditory memory tasks as well as average 65-year-olds, so we can say they reversed 10 years of aging for that cognitive ability." - Dr. Liz Zelinski, Professor of Psychology at the University of Southern California Andrus Gerontology Center © SharpBrains
  34. 34. Chapters I. The Brain and Brain Fitness 101 II. The 4 Pillars of Brain Maintenance III. Mental Exercise vs. Mental Activity IV. How to Evaluate and Choose Products V. Emerging Research and Applications VI. Ready For the Future? VII. Opening the Debate
  35. 35. Does Brain Training “Work”?  Randomized controlled studies show improvements of targeted functions that last beyond training itself  Most programs have not been on the market long enough to show direct long term effects vs. overall mental stimulation  Whether a program “works” will depend on:  What functions one wants to enhance and why  Which program one selects and amount of practice  Realistic expectations – there is no silver bullet
  36. 36. Brain-based outcomes Source: Klingberg et al.
  37. 37. One shoe doesn’t fit all Overall Maintenance Targeted Training Stress Management  Nintendo Brain Age  Brain Fitness Classic  emWave PC  BrainWare Safari  CogMed WMT  emWave Handheld  FitBrains.com  DriveFit  Journey Wild Divine  Happy-Neuron.com  Earobics  RESPeRATE  Lumosity.com  Fast Forword  Insight with Cortex  Stress Eraser  MindFit  Intelligym  (m)Power  Vision Restoration Therapy
  38. 38. Evaluation checklist (www.sharpbrains.com) 1. Are neuropsychologists behind the program? 2. What peer-reviewed research supports it? 3. Is there a solid Scientific Advisory Board? 4. What are the specific benefits claimed? 5. What cognitive function does it train? 6. How many hours/ days per week to use it? 7. Do the exercises teach something new? 8. Always challenging? 9. Does the program fit user’s specific goals? 10. Is it more fun/ engaging than stressful?
  39. 39. Chapters I. The Brain and Brain Fitness 101 II. The 4 Pillars of Brain Maintenance III. Mental Exercise vs. Mental Activity IV. How to Evaluate and Choose Products V. Emerging Research and Applications VI. Ready For the Future? VII. Opening the Debate © SharpBrains
  40. 40. Emerging Trends 2008-2015 Brain Fitness goes Mainstream 1. Increasing Focus on Brain Maintenance 2. Better Integration of Physical and Mental Exercise 3. Public policy initiatives to drive adoption Leveraging Better Tools 4. Wide Use of Cognitive Assessments as Baseline 5. More and Refined computer-based programs 6. Low-tech options to play increasing role A Growing Eco-System 7. Need for Professional Development 8. Insurance companies will introduce incentives 9. Transfer from military research and applications 10. Corporate Wellness adds a Brain component
  41. 41. A New Era “We have shown that working memory can be improved by training...I think that we are seeing the beginning of a new era” – Dr. Torkel Klingberg, Director of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at Karolinska Institute
  42. 42. Brain Fitness Culture: from Magic Pills to Addressing Lifestyle and Bottlenecks Bottleneck Lifestyle  Emotional self-regulation  Visual/ auditory processing  Balanced diet  Attention  Aerobic exercise  Executive functions  Stress management  Working memory  Mental activity/ exercise  Long-term memory  Medication management  Sleep
  43. 43. The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness  "This is the only book that I know of that seamlessly integrates latest information about cognitive health across the lifespan. Very useful to anyone interested in brain care.” —Arthur Kramer, Ph.D., leading researcher 1) For more information: http://www.sharpbrains.com/, free monthly eNewsletter 2) To read book: Library, www.Amazon.com 3) To contact us: information@sharpbrains.com

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