THE BLOG
08/08/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Public Libraries: Community-Based Health Clubs for the Brain

There are many recent studies and articles on the brain and how to maintain it in top shape -- let me connect a few dots and highlight several key resources and developments.

Public libraries have long offered the public more than books. And now, recent demographic and scientific trends are converging to fundamentally transform the role of libraries in our culture. Libraries are taking on a new mission: to help promote cognitive health in their communities, potentially using the concept of brain fitness as a framework for library-based lifelong learning, civic engagement, gaming and health promotion initiatives.

You can read more about this trend in this recent article I wrote for the May-June 2009 Issue of Aging Today, the bimonthly publication of the American Society on Aging: Public Libraries: Community-Based Health Clubs for the Brain.

The Big Picture

Can You Outsmart Your Genes? An Interview with Author Richard Nisbett: David DiSalvo interviews Richard Nisbett, the author of Intelligence and How to Get It: Why Schools and Cultures Count, who has emerged as a persuasive voice marshalling evidence to disprove the heredity-is-destiny argument.

Yes, You Can Build Willpower: Daniel Goleman discusses how the brain makes about 10,000 new cells every day, how they migrate to where they are needed, and how each cell can make around 10,000 connections to other brain cells. Implication? Meditate, mindfully, and build positive habits.

Bird's Eye View of Cognitive Health Innovation: I opened the Cognitive Health Track during the Games for Health Conference (June 11-12th, Boston) with an overview of the serious games, software and online applications that can help assess and train cognitive abilities.

Brain Tests and Myths

The Best Memory Tests, from the Alzheimer's Action Plan: Dr. Murali Doraiswamy discusses the Pros and Cons of the most common assessments to identify cognitive problems, including what the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) does and doesn't, and innovative computerized neuropsychological tests.

Debunking 10 Brain Health Myths: Does your brain have a "Brain Age"? Is a Magic Pill to prevent memory problems right around the corner? Does "aging" equal "decline"? Check out the facts to debunk 10 common myths on brain health.

Resources

Free Webinar: On July 21st, 10am Pacific Time/ 1pm Eastern Time, Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg and Alvaro Fernandez, co-authors of The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness, will cover the main highlights from this new book and address the questions submitted by readers. You can learn more and register Here.

Research References: This is a partial list of the scientific studies reviewed during the research phase of SharpBrains's new book, organized by relevant chapter, for those of you who like to explore topics in depth by reading original research (perhaps PubMed should promote itself as a never ending source of mental stimulation?).

Brain Teasers
Brain Teasers on Brain Fitness: Are you ready to test your knowledge of several key brain fitness metrics? For example: How many soldiers in the US Army have gone through computerized cognitive testing before being deployed, and why?

Finally, a reminder that The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness is finally available via Amazon.com!

I hope you have a great summer!. If you like this type of article, let me know and I will try to share a summary of resources and developments every month or so.