Julie Fratantoni, PhD, CCC-SLP, Head of Operations for The BrainHealth Project and Research Scientists at Center for BrainHealth, discusses the topic of being #alwaysconnected to our phones and what that does to the brain.
“Not only are we are robbing ourselves of productivity, but we are robbing the potential of what we wanted to achieve because of constant interruptions.”
The segment with Julie starts at the 36:45 minute mark.
Meet the Finalists: Leaders From BenefitMall, Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, and Center for BrainHealth
Leading up to our second annual Innovation Awards event tonight, we’re sharing excerpts from interview Q&As with all 51 finalists, one category at a time. Today, we wrap things up by featuring our three Innovation in Healthcare honorees.Stephen White Executive director, Center for BrainHealth
ON INNOVATION: “Innovation comes from possibility thinking and can be learned from failure and intentionally taking different perspectives. It is a product of an overt effort to discover the unknown. What I’ve learned with our work is that becoming more innovative can be learned. You can rewire your brain to help you become a more innovative thinker.”
2020 HIGHLIGHTS: “Until last year, our assessments, training protocols, and sustained engagement delivery were largely hands-on. Over the past year, we developed and piloted the online BrainHealth Dashboard, which will revolutionize how cognitive neuroscience research is conducted and accelerate how high-performance brain training and education are delivered.
The pilot phase of our signature initiative, The BrainHealth Project, was also conducted this year, despite the challenges of the pandemic. It is a large-scale, ten-year study exploring the brain’s upward potential, and it will provide research collaborators around the globe with access to well-characterized neuroscience data, including sophisticated neural imaging.”
LESSON LEARNED: “I have learned that each of us can tap into our own neural pharmacy. Although the brain, especially the part that facilitates executive functioning, is the most complex organ in our body, it is extremely easy to influence. By acting with some basic knowledge and intent, we can begin to re-architect our brains, leveraging neuroplasticity. You can cast away toxic behavior such as chronic multi-tasking, which shrinks your brain and reduces neural connectivity. You can also improve those connections and stimulate brain blood flow and performance with simple changes to your everyday life.”
RATING DFW: “I recently moved to North Texas from San Diego, which is known for its focus on technology development. My experience in North Texas has provided broader access to big thinkers, with more freedom to operate. The business culture here fosters big ideas and provides terrific access to a skilled talent pool. It sounds cliché, but Texas does ‘think big,’ and you can’t think any bigger than our founder and chief director, Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, who with the support of The University of Texas at Dallas, has created the country’s premier research and translational science facility at the Center for BrainHealth.”
LOOKING AHEAD: “We are heading into a ‘brain economy’ that depends on our capacity for innovation, emotional intelligence, and flexible adaptation. To borrow a phrase from one of our collaborators, ‘brain capital’ is going to drive not only the global economy, but also how we interact with each other in a more productive, collaborative manner. Our team, supported by some of the leading cognitive neuroscientists around the world, is leading that charge.”
Read full story in D Magazine.
Published in D Magazine January 2021.
Stress is certainly a big factor behind that fuzzy feeling, experts say: In fact, being frazzled creates toxins that can build up in your brain and impact your ability to focus, concentrate, and remember multiple things, according to Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D., chief director of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas. “We all do things that wear out the brain, and then we wonder why we’re not as clearheaded as we used to be,” she says. “When our bodies are fatigued, we recognize that we need to rest. But when our brains are tired, we tend to slog through.” Yet the more you ignore brain fog, the more it builds up—and the more likely it is that you’ll keep having unproductive days and many “it’s on the tip of my tongue” moments.
On the flip side, if you start implementing simple strategies that will give your gray matter a rest, you’ll start feeling clearer—quickly. “Science has revealed the surprising truth that you can actually do more to make your brain healthy than any other part of your body,” says Chapman.What causes brain fog?
There are a number of reasons your mind may feel foggy, says Chapman. When Delia’s brain fog settled in and nothing she tried—extra sleep, meditation, even a week off from work—seemed to help, she got a little nervous: “I started wondering if I was really sick.”How to treat and prevent brain fog
When you’re in the thick of brain fog, you might convince yourself it’ll go away on its own. “It’s really important not to just say, Oh, well, I’m a little foggy today—tomorrow will be better,” says Chapman. “The brain is an amazing machine that will rebound, but the question is, will it return to the same level? It’s important to do something proactively to help.” Try these tips:Check in with your brain
Try an exercise Chapman prescribes to all her patients, which she calls “five by five”: Set an alarm to go off at five intervals throughout the day and spend five minutes stopping all brain activity (don’t even meditate!) and just being in the moment. You might close your eyes and take a rest or sit outside and look at trees. Go for a walk (without listening to a podcast!) and zone out. “Just five minutes with no major input is the best way to reset your brain,” says Chapman.Stop multi-tasking
It may make you feel super productive, but multitasking actually irritates your brain, ultimately slowing it down, says Chapman. Instead of trying to juggle multiple things at once, focus on one goal at a time—and make it doable in a 30-minute chunk of time.Overthink one thing every day
“Thinking deeply is like push-ups for your brain,” Chapman says. When you read an interesting article online, spend 15 minutes thinking about it and how you might apply it to your life. If you and your partner watch a movie, talk about its message and how it connects with your life rather than just rehashing the plot. Chapman’s research has found that when people engage in deeper levels of thinking, they increase the speed of connectivity across the brain’s central executive network, which is where decision-making, planning, goal-setting, and clear thinking happen, by 30%. “That’s like regaining almost two decades of neural function,” says Chapman.Excite your brain
Your brain actually hates the same old thinking and ways of doing things. That means the best way to give your gray matter a shot of excitement is to innovate, says Chapman: “This prompts the brain to produce norepinephrine, a brain chemical that makes us excited to learn.” Even simple things can help. At work, try a different approach to a task you’ve done a thousand times. In your downtime, take a new route to the grocery store or listen to different music as you walk around your neighborhood.
Read full story in Prevention.
Published in Prevention November 2020.
The post Here’s Why You’re Dealing With Brain Fog—and What You Can Do to Fight It appeared first on Center for BrainHealth.
Many executives don’t understand the concept of “brain health” or the power of high-performance brain training, but being empowered by some of these tools can significantly enhance one’s career.
Most business leaders pride themselves on juggling priorities and burning the midnight oil, with careers that are high intensity and cognitively rewarding and tasking at the same time. Learning how to quickly take in information, make hard decisions, and manage multiple teams are essential skills, but taking control of the brain’s CEO or the frontal lobe can be even more impactful on one’s career.
High-performance brain training teaches executives how to harness stress productively. Understanding the brain’s current capacity and performance level can influence the brain’s performance and resilience and provide incremental and continuous brain architecture and function improvement.
Adopting brain-healthy habits isn’t about finding more time in your day. It’s about applying your mental effort differently. Here are a few ways to enhance the brain’s functionality.THE POWER OF NONE
We live in a world of data overload. Knowledge is power. We take in tremendous amounts of information to make evidence-based decisions. We are chronically stressed multitaskers. Chronic stress is the great equalizer: it makes us all stupid. And it actually shrinks our brains, makes us shallow thinkers, and makes us more error-prone.
Our brains need periodic, even if brief, downtime to enable the processes that help us think more innovatively. We have to allow our brains to do what they are designed to do – integrate disparate information in the background. Try to take 5 five-minute brain breaks each day. Take a walk around your building between meetings and separate yourself from all electronics. It takes practice to power down your brain periodically, but it will help your brain perform better.INTENTIONAL REFLECTION
To help our integrated reasoning capability – also called fluid intelligence or problem solving – we have to “zoom in and zoom out.” That means taking time at the end of most days to reflect on my two or three big takeaways, how they might have played out differently, what they mean to our key objectives, and how they might change or promote my plans for the next day.
This isn’t about checking tasks off a list; it’s about reviewing the day through a different lens. Paradoxical thinking promotes innovative thinking. Intentionally and routinely asking yourself these questions will promote continuous improvement.PRUNING YOUR INTAKE
This is a tough one, but it’s something executives often already do. And it’s something we can all do better with practice and intent. We’ve all heard the expression, “less is more.” This means being more selective about the inputs we are receiving from multiple sources constantly for brain health. One needs to be diligent and gather necessary facts, but we must make it a point to stop and truly listen. Put your phone away in meetings. Resist the urge to take non-stop notes. Again, some of us already do this to an extent. My recommendation is to make it intentional and repeated.
The theme here is making brain health and performance part of your everyday routine. Think about your brain and how you use it, and it can be truly transformational.
By Stephen White is the Executive director at the Brain Performance Institute at Center for BrainHealth.
Published on D Magazine October 2020
The post Tips for CEOs: Habits to Continuously Improve Your Brain Health appeared first on Center for BrainHealth.
All those precautions you’re taking to stay safe during the pandemic? Ironically, they might be putting your brain’s health at risk.
“Our heavy reliance on technology, not seeing family and grandkids, putting off doctor’s appointments, not going to the gym and a lack of physical touch, of socializing, and of purpose – all lead to ‘negative neuroplasticity,’ the potential to accelerate the risk for cognitive decline,” says former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona, now distinguished professor of public health at Arizona State and the author of “30 Days to a Better Brain.”
“Brain health is even more important now because so much is under threat,” he says. The answer? Flip COVID-19’s challenges to opportunities, says neuroscientist Prioritizing brain self-care pays off in the long-term, she says. “And the brain’s neuropharmacy changes — you get a dose of dopamine — just by telling yourself, ‘I can do this; it can happen.'”Sandra Bond Chapman, founder of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas. “For everything you do, ask, ‘What is this adding to my life?’ Are you doing crosswords just to pass the time and not be alone? Or are you doing different kinds of activities to stretch your mind and add meaning and purpose?”
Did you join the COVID-19 jigsaw craze? Though these puzzles are cognitively beneficial, it’s important to vary the types of thinking skills that you engage. Try the free Brain Performance Challenge app from the Center for BrainHealth, which measures your strategy, reasoning and innovation skills.
Aim to innovate seven times a day. It’s Chapman’s favorite mental challenge. “Rather than be discouraged by negativity or things falling apart, say ‘OK, how can I improv to make it different or new?’ It could be anything from how you write a subject line [in email] or what you cook.”
Nurture a new pet — or a winter herb garden. Dogs, especially, tick the boxes of providing new experiences, exercise, purpose and companionship, Lock says. Recent research finds they improved mental health during the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown. (Birdwatching worked, too.)
“If you don’t have a pet, the next best thing is a garden,” Chapman says. “There’s always something new to do or see.”
Read full story in next avenue.
Published in next avenue November 2020
JUST IN: Legacy Of Love To Celebrate Valentine’s Day Honoring Emy Lou And Jerry Baldridge With A Royal Feast
2021 Legacy of Love Co-Chairs /mom-daughter Mary Bloom and Laura Bloom Gordon have just revealed details for the Center for BrainHealth fundraiser. Talk about perfect timing for the event — Valentine’s Day (aka Sunday, February 14)!
Receiving the Legacy Award will be Emy Lou and Jerry Baldridge, who have for the past 15 years, “poured their hearts and energy into BrainHealth as part of their lifelong mission of championing children’s causes and providing resources to inspire people from all walks of life to take advantage of their brain’s fullest potential.”
To celebrate this sweetheart of an occasion, Mary and Laura along with Honorary Co-Chairs Jane Smith and Dee Wyly have arranged to have Darren McGrady prepare dinners delivered to guests’ homes. In addition to having been the former chef for Queen Elizabeth II, Prince William, Prince Harry and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, Darren was also Dee’s former chef.
To sign up for this Valentine’s Day feast to virtually fete Emy Lou and Jerry, contact Gail Cepak at 214.564.4895.
Read full story on MySweetCharity.
Published on MySweetCharity November 3, 2020
‘I have not found among my possessions anything which I hold more dear than, or value so much as, my knowledge of the actions of great people, acquired by long experience in contemporary affairs, and a continual study of antiquity.’ The Prince, MachiavelliThe time is now for a Brain Capital Grand Strategy
Current brain research, innovation, regulatory, and funding systems are artificially siloed, creating boundaries in our understanding of the brain based on constructs such as aging, mental health, and/or neurology, when these systems are all inextricably integral.
Grand strategy provides a broad framework that helps to guide all elements of a major, long-term project. There are converging global trends resulting from the COVID pandemic compelling a Brain Capital Grand Strategy: widespread appreciation of the rise in brain health issues (e.g., increase prevalence of mental illness and high rates of persons with age-related cognitive impairment contracting COVID), increased automation, job loss and underemployment, radical restructuring of health systems, rapid consumer adoption and acceptance of digital and remote solutions, and recognition of the need for economic reimagination. If we respond constructively to this crisis, the COVID pandemic could catalyze institutional change and a better social contract.
Our current economy is indeed a Brain Economy—one where most new jobs demand cognitive, emotional, and social, not manual, skills, and where innovation is a tangible “deliverable” of employee productivity. With increased automation, our global economy increasingly places a premium on cerebral, brain-based skills that make us human, such as self-control, emotional intelligence, creativity, compassion, altruism, systems thinking, collective intelligence, and cognitive flexibility . Investments in brain health and brain skills are critical for post-COVID economic renewal, reimagination, and long-term economic resilience.
Broadly, brain health encompasses emotional, behavioral, and cognitive strengths across the life span. Compromised brain health greatly increases the risk of disorders across the life span (e.g., depression, anxiety, substance misuse, dementias, and neurocognitive disorders) and hinders the achievement of each individual’s full human potential. The concept of Brain Capital encompasses both brain health and brain skills as contributors to this Brain Economy. A Brain Capital Grand Strategy is urgently needed. Such a plan would be a first-ever strategic alignment across diverse public and private entities to structure and track investments that protect brain health and produce brain skills.
This paper discusses the parameters of this Grand Strategy including: a Brain Capital Investment Plan, examination of Brain Capital from an in-all-policies approach, and a Brain Capital Index. Underlying such efforts is the notion that Brain Capital can amplify existing recovery and growth efforts while helping to build long-term global economic capacity that promotes an equitable and sustainable brain health future. We recommend establishing an action taskforce comprised of local, state, federal, and global leaders in these key areas to further advance this work.The BrainHealth Project
The BrainHealth Project is a landmark scientific study that will redefine our understanding of brain health and our lifelong ability to impact its fitness . The BrainHealth Project’s bold goal is to achieve for brain health what has been accomplished for heart health—where every person knows steps to take to keep their brain working longer and stronger. The Project is the largest, longitudinal, and interventional endeavor to push new frontiers in the health of our brain. This initiative is led by the Center for BrainHealth, a cognitive neuroscience research and translational science institute of The University of Texas at Dallas. BrainHealth researchers and clinicians focus on discovering and translating scientific breakthroughs about the brain’s capacity and potential to strengthen, endure, and work more efficiently. The Project is a large-scale scientific collaboration of scientists, educators, and business leaders. It seeks to: Define brain health: translate the science of neuroplasticity to embrace the upward potential of the human mind to extend cognitive capacity and innovative thinking, overcoming the outdated notion of fixed intelligence to reduce stigma and fear. Measure brain health: create a standardized BrainHealth Index, a multifaceted measure comprised of cognitive, social, psychological well-being, real-life function, and neural domains, to characterize and track performance on personalized brain health fitness goals. Enhance/Maintain/Regain brain health: offer evidence-based trainings, self-paced game-like activities, and quarterly coaching to help individuals stay motivated to continually take steps to improve and extend their brain health and performance.Conclusion
The time is now to catalyze a Grand Strategy. Brain Capital can be a key component in shaping economic resilience—linked to our digitalized, globalized, complex, and interconnected yet fragile global economy. Brain Capital resonates with existing efforts and helps build long-term global economic recovery that promotes brain health and brain skills helping address urgent challenges caused and exacerbated by COVID. Current policies, concepts and economic measures neither account for the neuroscientific drivers of productivity nor the increasingly brain skills-focused workforce demands of the twenty-first century. Furthermore, current approaches are insufficient to combat the rising complexity of challenges brought about by COVID. The preservation and development of Brain Capital positively impacts educational, social, health, institutional, and economic dimensions at the individual and collective level. Hence, it should be considered a strategic resource for a country, corporations, and public policies in a brain-based world. A system that fosters collaboration among all Brain Capital stakeholders and practitioners, including economists, philanthropists, financiers, governments, public health experts, consumers, entrepreneurs, and neuroscientists, is needed. It is the intersection and fusion of these disciplines where unexpected advances will arise . Brain Capital harnesses transdisciplinary development and innovation and entrepreneurship . Our current reality demands innovation and action across all levels, sectors, and systems of society and the collective world; brain health will act as the underlying nutrient and catalysis for progress. We recommend an action taskforce be established to further articulate and implement Brain Capital.
Published in Molecular Psychiatry October 2020
The post A Brain Capital Grand Strategy: toward economic reimagination appeared first on Center for BrainHealth.
Predictions are notoriously tricky—still, we couldn’t help but try. Here’s what a few of our advisory board members see for the future.Our Brains Will Be Stronger Than Ever
People will no longer have stigma from outdated views that intellect is fixed and the brain is unchangeable. They will have proven ways to sustain and strengthen brain health throughout life. This will help society thrive in a future defined by change— propelling equality as well as recovery and growth. Read more.
Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D., chief director of the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas
Published in Prevention Magazine September 2020
Jodi Cooley and Stephen Sekula are married physicists who study some of the most exotic phenomena in the universe.
Cooley studies dark matter, invisible stuff in the cosmos that exerts a gravitational pull on galaxies. Sekula was part of the team that discovered the Higgs boson, a new particle that enables other particles to acquire mass, at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland in 2012.
This fall, Cooley and Sekula, professors at Southern Methodist University, will be among some two dozen experts who will share their research with the community in a series of free online events hosted by The Dallas Morning News. Their Nov. 14 event, “From a Trampoline to the Unseen: What a Rubber Sheet Can Teach Us About the Dark Universe,” will focus on black holes.
“From a Trampoline to the Unseen” is part of Science in the City, a partnership among The Dallas Morning News, SMU, UT Southwestern Medical Center, the Dallas-based education nonprofit talkSTEM, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and the University of Texas at Dallas’ Center for BrainHealth. The series is a unique set of meet-and-greets between scientists and the public. Its goal is to inform and engage the community in the advances percolating across Dallas-Fort Worth.
The Dallas Morning News and its partners launched Science in the City in the spring of 2018. After two successful years, the COVID-19 pandemic forced its cancellation earlier this year, and Science in the City partners decided to reimagine the series as a virtual one.
“Making science accessible to people is so important, because it’s what creates advances,” said Jennifer Zientz, head of clinical services at the Center for BrainHealth.
Zientz and her team will discuss their research on how to improve brain performance. In “BrainHealth in the 21st Century: The Next Frontier” (Nov. 5) they will talk about how to define, measure and improve brain health. Participants will also get a virtual tour of the UTD BrainHealth Imaging Center, which houses functional MRI scanners that measure blood flow to the brain and help scientists assess changes in brain function over time.
“We want our science to empower people so they can take charge of their brain’s health and performance, rather than ignoring it,” said Zientz. She and her colleagues have learned there are steps people can take to delay cognitive decline and prime their minds for peak performance, including deeper levels of thinking. They’ll share these tools with participants.
Brains will also figure prominently at UT Southwestern Medical Center’s “Spooky Science” (Oct. 31). In years past, UT Southwestern welcomed participants into labs where researchers investigate Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, heart disease and concussions. This year, the tours will be virtual and Halloween-themed.
Attendees will see real human brains and learn about their structure. They will also peer virtually through microscopes to watch living cells in action. The cells will glow a ghostly green color, thanks to a Nobel Prize-winning discovery involving a fluorescent protein found in jellyfish. “We want adults and kids to be able to enjoy the fun of science as well as learn serious things about how we understand the brain and the body, using the same techniques as scientists,” said Dr. Mark Goldberg, a neurologist and stroke expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute.
At the Perot Museum of Nature and Science’s virtual event, participants will meet experts on dinosaurs and minerals. In “From Discovery to Display!” (Oct. 29) Ron Tykoski, director of the museum’s paleontology lab, and Kimberly Vagner, director of its gems and minerals center, will explain how scientists find rare gems and fossils, recover them and prepare them for installation in a museum. “It’d be really easy if we could go down to Walmart and just pick up a dinosaur or an incredible mineral specimen off the shelf, but it would also be really terrible for job security,” joked Tykoski. “There’s an incredible amount that goes into this. Sometimes it takes years to bring something to light.”
Koshi Dhingra, founder of the education nonprofit talkSTEM, will lead an event aimed at middle school girls, their parents or guardians, and educators. “Art, Medicine and Potato Chips: Finding Science Everywhere” (Nov. 7) will feature a discussion among four women leaders, including a doctor who runs clinical trials for COVID-19 treatments, an author of popular young adult novels, an education leader and an engineer who develops snack foods for PepsiCo. The goal is to diversify the popular image of a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) expert, said Dhingra. “STEM activities don’t just happen in labs, and they don’t just happen in hospitals,” she said. “Those are important areas where they happen. But if we give kids the message that that’s the only place they happen, and if kids don’t identify with those spaces, that tends to be the end of the story.” The event will also include a hands-on design activity and a virtual walk through the Dallas Arts District, where girls will be asked to think about the mathematical patterns and concepts they encounter in everyday life, including in art, architecture and nature.
The bigger goal of the program is to excite people about science and raise awareness of Dallas as a capital of scientific innovation. “We’re always trying to get out the stories of science, the incredible things that are happening right here that so many people in our area are unfortunately unaware of,” said Tykoski of the Perot Museum. “Science in the City is a great way to highlight this and make people aware of what a wonderful place Dallas is for research and discovery.”Details
For more information and to register for these free events, visit http://scienceinthecity.dallasnews.com/
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science’s “From Discovery to Display!”
Thursday, Oct. 29, at 1 p.m. Age range: for families.
UT Southwestern Medical Center’s “Spooky Science”
Saturday, Oct. 31, at 10 a.m. Age range: all ages.
Center for BrainHealth’s “Brain Health in the 21st Century: The Next Frontier”
Thursday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. Age range: high school and older.
talkSTEM’s “Art, Medicine and Potato Chips: Finding Science Everywhere”
Saturday, Nov. 7, at 10:30 a.m. Age range: aimed at middle-school girls and their parents or guardians.
Southern Methodist University’s “From a Trampoline to the Unseen: What a Rubber Sheet Can Teach Us About the Dark Universe”
Saturday, Nov. 14, at 1 p.m. Age range: aimed at middle and high-school students.
Published on The Dallas Morning News October 2020
Now in its second year, the program from Dallas Innovates and D CEO honors disruptors and trailblazers driving a new vision for North Texas.
Dallas Innovates and D CEO are proud to announce the finalists for its second annual Innovation Awards. The program honors companies, CEOs, CIOS, CTOs, entrepreneurs, and other leaders who are helping to make Dallas-Fort Worth a hub for innovation.
All finalists will be recognized in the January/February issue of D CEO magazine and online at DallasInnovates.com; winners will be revealed at an exclusive awards event in January.
Here is the complete list of finalists for the 2021 program (along with links for extra information):2021 Innovation Awards Finalists CIO/CTO of the Year
Shar Dubey, Match Group
John Harlan, CrateBind
Aaron Fullen, K2View
Evelyn Torres-Gomez, Solaris Technologies Services
Published on Dallas Innovates October 2020