From SharpBrains: Neurogenesis and Brain Plasiticity

In her latest post for SharpBrains Laurie Bartels reviews some of the principles of brain plasticity.  One principle that she mentions that I think deserves more attention is the importance of learning new things.

Adults may have a tendency to get set in their ways – I’ve been doing it this way for a long time and it works, so why change?  Turns out, though, that change can be a way to keep aging brains healthy.  At the April Learning & the Brain conference, the theme of which was neuroplasticity, I attended several sessions on adult learning. (Click here to read Laurie's post.)

She goes on to review the highlights of the Learning and Brain Conference.  You can read the full post at: http://www.sharpbrains.com/blog/2008/08/07/neurogenesis-and-brain-plasticity-in-adult-brains/

From SharpBrains™: Ten Tips for Improved Learning

Last year I interviewed Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg about the effects of aging on the brain (Episode 18).  Dr. Elkhonon is the co-founder of the website SharpBrains™, which is an excellent place to find the latest information about brain health.  Recently Dr. Alvaro Fernandez, who runs the SharpBrains™ website invited me to become an expert contributor to the site's blog.  He has also given me permission to share content from his site here.

It seems fitting that I start by mentioning a recent post from Laurie Bertels who writes the Neurons Firing blog. Laurie is a regular Brain Science Podcast listener.  Her blog focuses on how neuroscience applies to learning.  You can find lots of useful background information on her Brain 101 page.

Here is are some excerpts from Laurie's post on SharpBrains™:
If you agree that our brains are designed for learning, then as educators it is incumbent upon us to be looking for ways to maximize the learning process for each of our students, as well as for ourselves.  Some of what follows is simply common sense, but I’ve learned that all of it has a scientific basis in our brains. (Read more...)

She goes on to list 10 tips for applying brain science to help promote better learning. You will find that these tips dovetail nicely with what we learned from Dr. John Medina in Episode 37.

Read Laurie's complete post.

Interview with Elkhonon Goldberg, PhD (BSP 18)

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Episode 18 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, PhD.

Show Notes:

  • I apologize for the uneven sound quality of this episode.  If any one out there has any suggestions, please drop me an email.
  • Dr. Goldberg shared a little bit about the breadth of his work as a neuropsychologist.
  • We talked about his rather unique perspective on the difference between the right and left brain hemispheres.  He explained why he feels that as we get older we move from reliance on the right hemisphere, which he feels is the novelty hemisphere, to a reliance on the left hemisphere, where our lifetime store of patterns enables us to use pattern recognition as a short cut in problem solving.
  • We talked about the importance of constant mental challenge, and Dr. Goldberg gives his advice about how we can keep our brains healthy through out our lives.

Links:

The following are two companies that Dr. Goldberg is working with to provide information to the public and also tools for cognitive enhancement:

  • SharpBrains:  This is a clearing house for information, and they evaluate many of the products currently being offered.
  • HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness:  This Australian company offers a net-based program for cognitive enhancement based on Dr. Goldberg's research.  I am hoping to test their products in the near future.

How to get this episode:

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  • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.