How to Be Your Own Brain Fitness Coach in 2012: New Online Course Offered By SharpBrains to Empower Everyone with a Brain

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Course designed to empower par­tic­i­pants to apply emerg­ing neurosci­ence and tools to enhance brain health and func­tion­al­ity across the lifespan.

New Online Course: Be Your Own Brain Fitness Coach in 2012

We have designed this new course to empower par­tic­i­pants to apply emerg­ing neurosci­ence and tools to enhance brain health and func­tion­al­ity across the lifespan.

Sharp­Brains, an inde­pen­dent mar­ket research and pub­lish­ing firm track­ing brain fit­ness and applied neu­ro­plas­tic­ity research and mar­ket­place, is offering a new online course designed to equip par­tic­i­pants with the under­stand­ing and infor­ma­tion required to apply emerg­ing sci­ence and tools to enhance brain health and func­tion­al­ity across the lifespan.

Detailed information and Registration: Here.


Sum­mary: Infor­ma­tion over­load and longer lives expose our brains to more demands than even before. This fast-paced and inter­ac­tive online course will exam­ine the emerg­ing sci­ence of neu­ro­plas­tic­ity and cog­ni­tive reserve and sur­vey lat­est tools and best prac­tices to equip you to become your own ‘brain fit­ness coach’ and address per­sonal and pro­fes­sional pri­or­i­ties. Avail­able online from any­where with an Inter­net con­nec­tion, this course will help you pin­point ways to opti­mize brain health and func­tion­al­ity and delay decline, nav­i­gat­ing the maze of frag­mented research, super­fi­cial media cov­er­age and exag­ger­ated mar­ket­ing claims. The course is based on The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness –recently named a Best Book by AARP– and Sharp­Brains’ new ABBC frame­work (Address Basics, Build Capac­i­ties), and includes weekly read­ings and activities.

Mechan­ics: The course con­sists of four two-hour-long live ses­sions to be held in March 2012 (see detailed syl­labus below), and an online pri­vate forum for Fac­ulty and Par­tic­i­pants to inter­act dur­ing March and April 2012. Live ses­sions will take place on four con­sec­u­tive Wednes­days –03/07, 03/14, 03/21 and 03/28– from 11am US Pacific Time/ 2pm US East­ern Time to 1pm PT/ 3pm ET. Registration fees: $195 before January 31st, 2012; $245 afterwards.


This course is for any­one who wants to under­stand how emerg­ing cog­ni­tive and affec­tive neu­ro­science can be applied to enhance brain health and per­for­mance, and who is will­ing to par­tic­i­pate in a fast-paced course that lever­ages e-learning to facil­i­tate a global learn­ing experience.

Note: In order to ensure a valu­able and inter­ac­tive expe­ri­ence, par­tic­i­pa­tion will be lim­ited to the first 200 indi­vid­u­als who register.


Instruc­tor: Alvaro Fer­nan­dez is the cofounder of Sharp­Brains, an inde­pen­dent mar­ket research and pub­lish­ing firm help­ing orga­ni­za­tions and indi­vid­u­als nav­i­gate the emerg­ing brain fit­ness field, and the coau­thor of The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness: 18 Inter­views with Sci­en­tists, Prac­ti­cal Advice, and Prod­uct Reviews, to Keep Your Brain Sharp, recently named a Best Book by AARP. He is a nationally-known speaker and expert, quoted by The New York Times, The Wall Street Jour­nal, New Sci­en­tist, CNN, and other media out­lets. Alvaro is also pro­duces the largest annual global and vir­tual con­fer­ence where sci­en­tists, tech­nol­o­gists and pro­fes­sion­als dis­cuss lat­est devel­op­ments in the field. Alvaro holds an MBA and an MA in Edu­ca­tion from Stan­ford University.

Guest Lec­turer: Alvaro Pascual-Leone, MD, PhD, is the Direc­tor of the Berenson-Allen Cen­ter for Non-Invasive Brain Stim­u­la­tion and a Pro­fes­sor of Neu­rol­ogy at Har­vard Med­ical School. Dr. Pascual-Leone researches the phys­i­ol­ogy of higher cog­ni­tive func­tions with empha­sis on the study of brain plas­tic­ity in skill acqui­si­tion and recov­ery from injury across the lifes­pan. Dr. Pascual-Leone obtained an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Neu­ro­phys­i­ol­ogy from the Fac­ulty of Med­i­cine of Albert Lud­wigs Uni­ver­sity in Ger­many, and trained at the Uni­ver­sity of Min­nesota and the US National Insti­tutes of Health. He greatly enjoys teach­ing and is the recip­i­ent of numer­ous awards.

Guest Lec­turer: Robert M. Bilder, PhD, ABPP-CN is the Michael E. Ten­nen­baum Fam­ily Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chi­a­try and Biobe­hav­ioral Sci­ences at the UCLA David Gef­fen School of Med­i­cine. Dr. Bilder is also the Chief of Med­ical Psychology-Neuropsychology at the Semel Insti­tute for Neu­ro­science and Human Behav­ior, directs the Ten­nen­baum Cen­ter for the Biol­ogy of Cre­ativ­ity; is Co-Director of an NIMH-sponsored Cen­ter for Inter­ven­tion Devel­op­ment and Applied Research focus­ing on trans­la­tional research to enhance cog­ni­tive control.


Ses­sion I. Debunk­ing Brain and Brain Fit­ness Myths: We will first debunk pop­u­lar mis­con­cep­tions that stand in the way of mak­ing informed deci­sions to spend our time and money wisely. We will explore hot top­ics such as genet­ics vs. envi­ron­ment vs. lifestyle, intel­li­gence, left/ right brain hemi­spheres, “brain age”, cog­ni­tive enhance­ment, sup­ple­ments, learn­ing styles, brain train­ing, neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis, neu­ro­plas­tic­ity, cog­ni­tive reserve, and Alzheimer’s Dis­ease. Addi­tion­ally we’ll con­trast the find­ings from a major recent sci­en­tific study with their media cov­er­age, equip­ping par­tic­i­pants to become bet­ter informed read­ers of news and sci­en­tific findings.

When: Wednes­day, March 7th, 11am-1pm US Pacific Time (live ses­sion will be recorded for later viewing).


  • Intro­duc­tion and Chap­ter 1 of The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fitness
  • Agency for Health­care Research and Qual­ity (AHRQ). 2010. Alzheimer’s Dis­ease and Cog­ni­tive Decline, Struc­tured Abstract and Evi­dence Report. April 2010.

Activ­ity: five-finger meditation.

Ses­sion II. How to Address the Basics: In this ses­sion we will dis­cuss the com­ple­men­tary roles and mech­a­nisms under­pin­ning the major lifestyle pil­lars for brain fit­ness: healthy nutri­tion, aer­o­bic exer­cise, stress man­age­ment and men­tal stim­u­la­tion that incor­po­rates nov­elty, vari­ety and chal­lenge. We’ll explore how the human brain is a dynamic sys­tem to opti­mize and enhance, and how each of the major lifestyle pil­lars plays a fun­da­men­tal role in devel­op­ing, enhanc­ing, and main­tain­ing key cog­ni­tive, exec­u­tive and emo­tional self-regulation func­tions require to thrive at every stage of life (“brain fitness”).

When: Wednes­day, March 14th, 11am-1pm US Pacific Time (live ses­sion will be recorded for later viewing).


  • Chap­ter 2 of The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fitness.

Activ­ity: cog­ni­tive reappraisal.

Ses­sion III. How to Build Brain-Based Capac­i­ties: What are some of the most promis­ing research-based “brain train­ing” meth­ods (hint: med­i­ta­tion, cog­ni­tive train­ing, biofeed­back, cog­ni­tive ther­apy) and what are emerg­ing best prac­tices and guide­lines on how and when to use each of them to build core capac­i­ties such as atten­tion, work­ing mem­ory, emo­tional self-regulation, infor­ma­tion pro­cess­ing, cog­ni­tive mon­i­tor­ing and reap­praisal? This ses­sion will sur­vey the value and lim­i­ta­tions of avail­able tools and sug­gest appro­pri­ate sce­nar­ios of use.

When: Wednes­day, March 21st, 11am-1pm US Pacific Time (live ses­sion will be recorded for later viewing).


  • Chap­ters 3 and 4 of The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fitness.

Activ­ity: par­tic­i­pants choose biofeedback-based exer­cise or cog­ni­tive training.

Ses­sion IV. How to Be Your Own Brain Fit­ness Coach: This ses­sion will equip you with the frame­works and check­lists required to inte­grate the knowl­edge and tools intro­duced dur­ing the whole course to meet your spe­cific per­sonal and pro­fes­sional pri­or­i­ties. “No one size fits all” applies to brain fit­ness, and this course is designed to help you build your own per­sonal “brain fit­ness toolkit” to meet the pri­or­i­ties you are fac­ing today and will face tomorrow.

When: Wednes­day, March 28th, 11am-1pm US Pacific Time (live ses­sion will be recorded for later viewing).


  • Chap­ters 6 and 7 of The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fitness.

Activ­ity: develop your own “brain fit­ness plan” for 2012.


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Alvaro Fernandez
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