Keeping Up With "Cognitive Fitness" at SharpBrains

Colin T. Son, MD


October 20, 2009

In function, and even pathology, the brain is an incredible thing.

Modern medicine continues to make new discoveries about how the human brain works and how best to preserve knowledge and memory. Indeed, one of the fastest growing areas of neuroscience is in the field of "cognitive fitness."

To help navigate the field, consider a visit to SharpBrains. Founded by Alvaro Fernandez and Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, SharpBrains, the company, is a market research and advisory services firm covering the growing cognitive-fitness market. SharpBrains, the Website, offers educational blogs and tools to help keep the brain in good working order.

The site offers brain teasers, interviews with prominent neuroscientists, and a glossary of cognitive terms, among other resources.

SharpBrains hosts Grand Rounds
on October 20, 2009.

Brain fitness is expected to become increasingly important as the world faces an aging population and a predicted rise in cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer's. There is good evidence that cognitive exercises and activities help stave off dementias and memory loss.

As published in the SharpBrains blog entry "Education AND Lifelong Cognitive Activities Build Cognitive Reserve and Delay Memory Loss", cognitive training is now considered a part of healthy aging:

[F]or every "activity day" (participation in one activity for one day a week) the subjects engaged in, they delayed for about two months the onset of rapid memory loss associated with dementia. Interestingly, the positive effect of brain-stimulating activities in this study appeared to be independent of a person's level of education.

This is great news as it suggests that it is never too late to try to build up brain reserve. The more brain stimulating activities one does and the more often, the better for a stronger cognitive reserve

The cognitive reserve hypothesis suggests that individuals with more cognitive reserve can experience more Alzheimer's disease pathology in the brain (more plaques and tangles) without developing Alzheimer's disease symptoms.

Recently, Mr. Fernandez and Dr. Goldberg collaborated on a printed version of their research. As testament to the popularity of the subject, The SharpBrain's Guide to Brain Fitness: 18 Interviews with Scientists, Practical Advice, and Product Reviews, To Keep Your Brain Sharp has broken the top 10 on Amazon in the preventative health category.

Check out this week's edition of Grand Rounds at SharpBrains, which will focus on -- naturally -- advances in cognitive science.

Grand Rounds is a summary of the best from the medical blogosphere each week. It features posts from physicians, scientists, nurses, patients, and others.