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Alvaro Fernandez's Articles

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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!
  • Brain Training to Improve Driving Skills Using Video Games, For Teenagers and Older Adults
    The New York Times just published an article, titled "Are You a Good Driver? Here's How to Find Out", that asked, "Can VideoGames make better drivers?". We analyze the article, and answer that question, by interviewing a top researcher in the field, Dr. Jerri Edwards. In short, we could reply YES: a well-designed video game CAN make one a better driver.
  • What Every Parent and Educator Should Know About Enriching Young Brains and Minds
    To learn important lessons for all parents and educators, we interview today Eric Jensen, a former middle school teacher and former adjunct professor for several universities including the University of California, San Diego. Mr. Jensen co-founded the Learning Brain Expo, a conference for educators, and has written 21 books on the brain and learning.
  • Train Your Brain With a New $225m Gaming Market Based on Latest Research on Brain Health and Fitness
    This past Tuesday, the MIT Club of Northern California and SmartSilvers sponsored an event on The Emerging Brain Fitness Software Market: Building Better Brains to explore the realities and myths of this growing field. An example is the line of Nintendo games, such as Brain Age and Brain Training, that have shipped over 15 million units worldwide despite limited scientific support, since 2005.
  • Improving Brain Functioning For Healthy Aging: Interview with scientist Jerri Edwards
    Have you been reading all about Brain Training? Today we are fortunate to interview Dr. Jerri Edwards, an Associate Professor at University of South Florida's School of Aging Studies and Co-Investigator of the influencial ACTIVE study. Dr. Edwards' research is aimed toward discovering how cognitive abilities can be maintained and even enhanced with advancing age.
  • What Every Parent and Educator Needs to Know About Learning and the Teenager Brain
    Today we are fortunate to interview Dr. Robert Sylwester, a recognized educator of educators who has received multiple awards during his long career as a master communicator of the implications of brain science for education and learning. His most recent book is The Adolescent Brain: Reaching for Autonomy (Corwin Press, 2007).
  • 10 Brain Health and Fitness New Year's Resolutions: Train Your Brain
    Let me suggest 10 New Year's Resolutions that will help you make 2008 a year of Brain Health and Fitness, based on three key guidelines for brain health: the need for novelty, variety and challenge.
  • Brain Training for Stress Management: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Programs
    Stanford University's Robert Sapolsky and others have shown how chronic stress may contribute to the death of neurons in our brains. The question is how can one evaluate the many stress management programs out there? which ones are science-based? Probably the most promising area of scientific inquiry for stress management is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and in this article we summarize what MBSR is and where it comes from.
  • Do Crossword Puzzles and Bridge Provide all the Brain Exercise You Need?
    This is a question we often get asked in our classes and lectures. The quick answer is No. They are both very good activities, but we need more if we want to work on our memory and brain health. Read this article to learn why.
  • Brain Training and Mind Games: Interview with Japanese Expert Go Hirano
    Unless you are hiding in a cave, you will have heard about the latest Brain Training gaming trend that has taken over the USA, Europe and Japan. Today we are traveling to Japan, where the movement originated, to interview Go Hirano, a Japanese executive with experience in neuroscience and gaming.
  • Cognitive Fitness and Health: 10 Debunked Myths on How Your Mind Works.
    How does your brain work? Interested in improving it? Over the last year we have interviewed more than 10 leading neuroscientists and psychologists worldwide to learn about their research and thoughts, and have news to report. Read this article to learn about 10 common myths that deserve to be debunked.
  • Information Overload? Seven Productivity and Learning Tips
    Hundreds of thousands of new books, analyst reports, scientific papers published every year. Millions of websites at our googletips. The flow of data, information and knowledge is growing exponentially, stretching the capacity of our brains. Let me offer 7 Strategies that can help manage this flow of information better.
  • Brain Fitness Vacations for Baby Boomers: Tips for Staying Sharp
    Looking for new and stimulating travel ideas? Well, let us explain what a "Brain Fitness Vacation" is: "A brain fitness vacation is like a regular vacation, only you attend events, do exercises, and arrange for experiences that address the aspects of good brain health: physical exercise, mental exercise, good nutrition, and stress management."
  • Ten Highlights from the Aspen Institute Forum on Health, Wellness and Medical Science
    The Aspen Health Forum just gathered an impressive group of around 250 people to discuss the most pressing issues in Health and Medical Science. Here you have the summary of the top Ten Trends discussed.
  • Beck Diet: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person-and Maintain Weight Loss (Part 2)
    Do you wonder why, after losing some pounds, you typically regain them quickly? Interested in discovering how to maintain your target weight? Read this interview with Dr. Judith 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, a widely acclaimed book on how we can develop the mental skills required to sustain weight loss. Part 2 of 2.
  • The Beck Diet: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person-and Maintain Target Weight (Part 1)
    Do you wonder why, after losing some pounds, you typically regain them quickly? Interested in discovering how to maintain your target weight? Read this interview with Dr. Judith 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, a widely acclaimed book on how we can develop the mental skills required to sustain weight loss. Part 1 of 2.
  • Stanford Media X Ten Innovation Trends: Robotics, Aging, Clean Tech, Brain, Gaming, Science and More
    The goal of Stanford University Media X is to foster collaborations between industry and academia. The 5th Annual Media X Conference on Research, Collaboration, Innovation and Productivity, which I was fortunate to attend, served its purpose well. Let me share the 10 Key Innovation Trends that every business executive and innovator should be paying attention to.
  • 7 Quotes from Neuroscientists that Will Revolutionize Brain and Mind Health, Fitness and Wellness
    Interested in improving your attention, memory, thinking skills, ability to manage stressful situations? Good news: "Recent research in neuroplasticity - the brain's ability to change in response to information and new activities - shows that brain cells and new pathways continue to develop throughout life...". I have interviewed many leading neuroscientists and experts, and I want to share with you 7 of my favorite quotes.
  • The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains
    Confused by the growing number of articles on how to train our brains, improve our memory, exercise our minds, and even create new neurons? To put all of them in better perspective, let's review 10 good lifestyle habits we can follow to maintain, and improve, our vibrant brains.
  • 10 Key Points on Training the Aging Workforce
    Will most baby boomers retire at 60? Will there be a massive employee shortage in a few years' time, as predicted in a number of major policy reports? What can companies and government agencies do? This is a very important topic, given demographic trends worldwide. Here we provide a summary of 10 key Trends and Recommendations.
  • Top Ten Tips for Women Who Lead Men
    Here you have Ten Tips that every woman should be aware of to understand men, stress management, learning, emotions, patience...grounded on cognitive and evolutionary psychology. Enjoy!
  • Sicko and Bill Clinton on Health and Wellness Trends
    Given the current debate around Michael Moore's Sicko, we want to share in this article some of the insights and advice on Health and Wellness trends that Bill Clinton gave recently at the Healthetc event sponsored by California Pacific Medical Center and KCBS.
  • A Pediatrician on Helping your Kid with ADD/ ADHD
    Many children with ADD/ ADHD present a working memory bolttleneck. Today we interview Dr. Arthur Lavin, Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Case Western School of Medicine and one of the first providers of a Working Memory Training program for kids with attention deficits, who explains to us what working memory is and why it is important to train it. Dr. Lavin trained with esteemed Mel Levine.
  • 10-Question Checklist to Select the Right Brain Fitness Program for You
    Unless you have been living in a cave, you have read by now multiple articles about the brain training and brain exercise craze. Now, how do you know which of them can help you more, or whether you need any of them? Well, that's why we are publishing this 10-Question Checklist, to help you navigate through the overwhelming and conflicting media reports and company announcements.
  • Bill Gates' Brain and Leadership Lessons
    Bill Gates delivered a very inspiring commencement speech in Harvard on June 7th. A noteworthy aspect of the speech was the display of what neuroscientists call Executive Functions, that enable us to learn and adapt to new environments. The brain region that makes a "sharp brain". In this article, we analyze Mr. Gates brain and draw lessons for us all.
  • Top 10 Actions in Brain Health Roadmap
    On June 10th something wonderful happened, and the media hasn't paid much attention yet. On that day, the National Public Health Road Map to Maintaining Cognitive Health was released by the CDC and the Alzheimer's Association. IIN this article, I want to first share with you the 10 top actions proposed by this report, and then provide a quick glossary to explain the key words that you will hear more and more when discussing brain health.
  • How To Exercise Your Brain: 7 Most Frequently Asked Questions
    Major media publications (Time Magazine, CBS, USA Today...) have started to explain the research behind brain exercise to improve memory and attention and help delay potential problems such as Alzheimer's Disease. We have prepared answers to the 7 Most Frequently Asked Questions, which will provide you with great tips to create your own brain exercise program.
  • Top 10 Trends with Baby Boomers
    On June 19th Santa Clara University hosted the annual Baby Boomer Venture Summit. This forum brings together a great group of industry leaders, thought-leaders and start-ups in the growing market. Here we present you with the Top 10 things we learned at the event.
  • How Exercising our Brains May Help Delay Alzheimer's
    There is much we can do to help delay Alzheimer's, including lifelong learning and brain exercises. In this article we review some recent research-and also explain why no individual company or product today can make any claim that it directly helps prevent Alzheimer's or other dementias.
  • Programs to Exercise Your Brain
    We provide an overview of the emerging field of science-based Brain Fitness, and introduce the programs by Posit Science, IntelliGym, CogniFit, Cogmed and emWave.
  • Tips and Techniques to Train and Improve your Short-Term Memory
    Want to improve memory? Then you need to know that the most important component of memory is attention. By choosing to attend to something and focus on it, you create a personal interaction with it, which gives it personal meaning, making it easier to remember. In this article SharpBrains┤ Brain Coach shares key tips and techniques to exercise our attention-and memory.
  • What Is Learning? Can We Learn Better than Apes?-Part 2
    We continue the conversation (Part 2 out of 2) on Learning with Dr. James Zull, Professor of Biology and Biochemistry at Case Western University and author of The Art of Changing the Brain: Enriching the Practice of Teaching by Exploring the Biology of Learning.
  • What is Learning? Can We Learn Better Than Apes Do?-Part 1
    Dr. James Zull, Professor of Biology and Biochemistry at Case Western University, and author of The Art of Changing the Brain: Enriching the Practice of Teaching by Exploring the Biology of Learning, shares with us his insights into what Learning is and how we can All learn better. Part 1 of 2.
  • Enhancing Trader Performance: Interview with Brett N. Steenbarger-Part 2
    This is Part 2 of a 2-part Interview with Brett Steenbarger on Enhancing Trader Performance and The Psychology of Trading. We discuss the role of "trader coaches" and developing key skills for trading success.
  • Building a Top Trader: Interview with Brett N. Steenbarger-Part 1
    Dr. Brett Steenbarger, author of the books Enhancing Trader Performance and The Psychology of Trading, and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at SUNY Upstate Medical University, shares with us his research and advice on how to become a top trader. This is the Part 1 of 2.
  • Easy Steps to Improve Your Brain Health Now
    In this article we review each of the four essential pillars recommended in the scientific literature to maintain a healthy brain that functions better now and lasts longer. Those pillars are Physical Exercise, Mental Exercise, Good Nutrition and Stress Management.

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