Alvaro Fernandez's Article RSS Feed
Alvaro Fernandez's Articles
Are Videogames Good or Bad for Your Brain? It depends who YOU are
You may be thinking about innovative ways to maintain your brain in top shape in 2009. Two recent scientific studies published by Dr. Arthur Kramer and colleagues suggest an intriguing possibility: playing strategy videogames. Especially if you are 60-years-old or over.
on 03 Jan 2009
The Power of Meditation for Brain Health: Interview with Dr. Andrew Newberg
I recently had the fortune to interview Dr. Andrew Newberg, one of the leading researchers focused on meditation and the brain. Dr. Newberg has researched the brain impact of meditation, prayer, and how brain function is associated with mystical and religious experiences. In this exclusive interview we explore how meditation can help manage stress, improve attention, and contribute to overall brain health.
on 17 Dec 2008
Exercise Body and Brain to Maintain Lifelong Cognitive Health
The American Medical News, a weekly newspaper for physicians published by the American Medical Association, just published an excellent article on the importance of Exercise - Physical and Mental. One of the physicians quoted in the article is Gary J. Kennedy, MD, Director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in NYC. We asked Dr. Kennedy a few follow-up questions. Enjoy!
on 21 Nov 2008
Earth 2.0: Yes We Can Launch a New And Improved Global Agenda
Imagine seeing a top sheik from Dubai exclaim "Yes We Can" in front of the 800 experts gathered during the Summit of the Global Agenda that just took place in Dubai, co-organized by the World Economic Forum and the Government of Dubai. Let me propose some of the architectural principles that should underlie new efforts to deal with the current global crisis and prepare for a better future, based on a Yes We Can value-rich approach.
on 12 Nov 2008
We Need a Global Consortium for Brain Fitness and Training Innovation
The World Economic Forum asked me to write "an 800 words summary of your most compelling actionable idea on the challenges of aging and gerontology", in preparation for the Inaugural Summit of the Global Agenda taking place November 7 to 9th in Dubai. Here you have my proposal to create a Global Consortium for Brain Fitness and Training Innovation, and help ensure that "No Brain is Left Behind".
on 04 Nov 2008
Can Games, Meditation and Parenting Help Improve Attention?
I am honored to interview today Michael I. Posner, a prominent scientist in the field of cognitive neuroscience, to discuss the key findings of his research on attention training and emotional self-regulation. As he says, "Parents can see the remarkable transformation as their children develop the ability to regulate emotions and to persist with goals in the face of distractions. That ability is usually labeled "self-regulation."
on 20 Oct 2008
Can Brain Training Games Make You a Better Driver? Allstate Insurance To Test Them
Allstate just announced a very intelligent initiative. The auto insurance company is going to offer a brain training game to thousands of drivers and measure the impact on their driving performance. Allstate says this can be the "next big breakthrough in automobile safety." Today I am fortunate to interview Tom Warden, Assistant Vice President and Leader of Allstate's Research and Planning Center, to better understand this initiative.
on 02 Oct 2008
Healthy Aging for Brain and Body: Answers to your Main Questions
Given the growing and often contradictory media coverage regarding aging and Alzheimer's Disease topics, you probably have a good number of questions you would like to see answered. The main recommendations today: ensure good nutrition, and follow a regime of frequent physical and mental exercise.
on 24 Sep 2008
Top 7 Brainteasers and Puzzles for Job Interviews and Brain Challenge
A recent CNN article highlights how a growing number of companies use brainteasers and logic puzzles during job interviews. Want to train and try a few? Here you have our selected Top 7 Brainteasers/ Logic Puzzles for Job Interviews and Brain Challenge. Please try to GUESS the answers to the questions below based on your own logical approach. The goal is not to find out the right answer, but to provide an appropriate range.
on 22 Sep 2008
ABC Reporter Bob Woodruff's Incredible Recovery From Traumatic Brain Injury
A few weeks ago John Edwards was interviewed by reporter Bob Woodruff. All the resulting media coverage centered on Edwards' declarations. However, there is something much more remarkable that surfaced at that interview: Bob Woodruff's spectacular recovery from his severe traumatic brain injury, suffered when a roadside bomb detonated next to his vehicle in Iraq. Today I am fortunate to interview Bob's wife, Lee Woodruff.
on 12 Sep 2008
Is the Future of Cognitive Therapy Similar to Training One's Abdominal Muscles?
In short, here we have a number of major societal problems (anxiety, depression...) that affect people of all ages, and an intervention (cognitive therapy) that teaches people cognitive skills to be able to manage those related challenges better. Talk about "teaching how to fish" vs. simply handing out fish (which we could argue is what antidepressant medications do). Why don't more people benefit today from this approach?
on 04 Sep 2008
Can Meditation Help to Read Hidden Emotional Messages in other People's Faces?
I recently attended a great workshop at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California. The class was called "Reading Emotional Messages" and taught by Paul Ekman, Ph.D, a well-know scientist who regularly trains lawyers and police officials in his techniques. This article summarized Dr. Ekman's research and suggestions.
on 31 Aug 2008
Obesity Crisis or Cognitive Crisis? How to Get Weight Under Control
In early August, a scientific study published in the British Medical Journal added a novel perspective on how to think of, and consequently address, the so-called obesity epidemic that many developed countries, including the US, are experiencing. The ability to self-regulate behaviors is not a genetic given, but learnable and trainable. If adults cannot regulate their own eating and exercise habits, half the battle is lost.
on 21 Aug 2008
Combine Physical and Mental Exercise for Brain Health: Interview with Dr. Kramer
Interested in maintaining a healthy, strong brain? Dr. Arthur Kramer, Director of the Biomedical Imaging Center at the University of Illinois, based on recent brain research findings, suggests we should all find ways to combine physical and mental exercise. For example, have you ever considered joining a Walking Book Club?
on 17 Aug 2008
Top 25 Brain and Mind Haikus. Can you Write Yours?
The results of a recent "Brainy Haikus" contest are in. Below you have my Favorite 10 Haikus on brain-related topics, plus many other fun ones for a total of 25... Can you write a haiku describing anything crossing your mind now? Remember the simple rules: write 3 lines, which don't need to rhyme, containing 5,7, and 5 syllables.
Writing and speaking
on 06 Aug 2008
Top 10 Brain Training Future Trends: New Mind/Body Focus, Brain Trainers, and More
In an emerging, dynamic, high growth market, like brain training, it is difficult to make precise projections. But, we can observe a number of trends that executives, consumers, public policy makers, and the media should watch closely in the coming years, as brain fitness and training becomes mainstream, new brain trainers appear, and an ecosystem grows around it. Here you have the Top Ten trends I predict.
on 25 Jul 2008
Ready to Measure Your Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health?
You know your weight. And your physical fitness. And a variety of health-related metrics. What about your brain fitness? In years to come, we can expect a growing number of assessments to help each of us address that precise question, using tools that today are only available to researchers and clinicians, raising both opportunities and concerns. This article explains the importance of this emerging trend.
on 15 Jul 2008
Brain Age Mythology Compared to What Really Improves Cognitive Health
Many people have been asking us recently about whether we all have a "Brain Age" and how we can reduce our "brain ages". This concept is a myth, fueled by the (very fun) Nintendo game and a recent PBS campaign promoting a program produced by Posit Science. The concept of having a "brain age" is, itself, profoundly unscientific, as we will show in this article.
on 29 Jun 2008
Why Smart Brains Make Stupid Decisions On Money, Work and Health
It happens. Often. Why? We just secured an interview with Ori Brafman, co-author of Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior (Doubleday Business, 2008), to discuss our Dark Side (well, he calls if "different hidden forces" and "psychological undercurrents"). For example, look at the story of Harvard Business School students who paid $204 for a twenty-dollar bill.
on 21 Jun 2008
Brain Improvement and Cognitive Fitness: Fact or Fiction?
You may already have a Nintendo Brain Age game, or at least have heard of it. You may also have read recently that start-up Lumos Labs raised $3m to develop "brain training games". In this article I address a few typical questions such as: - Do these programs cure Alzheimer's? - How do I evaluate whether any program is good for me or my clients, patients or residents?
on 06 Jun 2008
Study: Meditation Can Help Adults and Children with ADHD
Travel back, in your mind's eye, to a time when you felt a healthy exhaustion after hiking, biking, playing sports.., and let you re-live that moment as vividly as you can. Congratulations. You have trained your brain. And a recent study shows how techniques like this can help children and adults with attention deficits.
on 01 Jun 2008
Top Ten Cognitive Health Events in 2007: Brain Fitness Program Explained, and More.
By now, you surely are aware that our brains retain the ability to generate neurons and change over our lifetimes, breaking the scientific paradigm prevalent during the 20th century. And you have read about the growing number of brain games and brain fitness programs offered. Now, you may wonder, why is all this happenning now? To understand that, let's review 10 important events that took place in 2007, a seminal year for the field.
on 23 May 2008
Exercise Your Brain in the Cognitive Age: Reflections on the Brain Games Market
In the past few days, The New York Times has published two thought-provoking articles on the growing brain and cognitive fitness market. Both raise key questions that politicians, health policy makers, business leaders, educators and consumers should pay attention to. Are our brains ready to compete in the global economy? how can we improve our brain health and mental abilities? can this also helo delay Alzheimer's and other diseases?
on 06 May 2008
Top 21 Books on Brain Health, Fitness and Training, Neuroplasticity and Neurogenesis
Given the growing media coverage of brain fitness and brain training, we have produced this compilation of the Top 21 Books that help understand these trends, the research behind them, and the implications for all of us. For your easy browsing, we have categorized them into seven groups. Enjoy!
on 14 Apr 2008
The Dana Guide to Brain Health: A Practical Family Reference From Medical Experts. Book Review.
Book Review of The Dana Guide to Brain Health: A Practical Family Reference From Medical Experts, published by Dana Press. In short, this is a great reference book for health professionals and for people interested in learning more about the brain and how to maintain a healthy brain.
on 13 Apr 2008
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