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Brain Fitness Programs: The Brain Fitness Revolution is here with us

Roger Dooley, author of the Neuromarketing blog, wrote in April an impressive overview of the Brain Fitness field in the FutureLab blog. Enjoy his entry Marketing Neuroscience: Brain Fitness.

Let me quote a couple of sentences which summarize the post:

“The two big driving forces for the brain fitness movement are demographics, particularly the aging baby boom population, and research, which indicates that the rate of brain impairment can be slowed by some kinds of mental stimulation and activity.”

“The real question for companies like Posit is whether people will pay a premium price for their product rather than, say, working free crossword puzzles or engaging in other mental activity that costs nothing. The answer, I think, is “yes” – some people who have the resources will happily pay for what they think is a proven and convenient solution to their problem. Even though people can walk for free, they still buy expensive treadmills and join health clubs in the name of cardio-vascular fitness. It’s no big leap to imagine spending a few hundred dollars if it seems likely to stave off the specter of mental decline.”

He also talks about the classic Nun Study, profiles Posit Science, and mentions Nintendo’s game Brain Age Overall, he provides an excellent diagnostic about what was known in the general media in April, when he wrote the post.

Let me now announce some Brain Fitness Programs that the media will, I believe, start talking about over the next months. Neither the concept of Brain Fitness is relevant only for seniors, nor its only benefit is to prevent cognitive decline and, potentially, help delay conditions such as Alzheimer’s. In the 90s, eating well and exercising were shown to be crucial to our well-being and healthy aging. We join physical fitness gyms to work out our bodies, expand cardiovascular capacity and develop good muscles. Trainers teach us that novelty and variety are important and that having some structure helps us achieve our physical fitness goals. Now, the need to keep exercising our brains is starting to become understood, and Brain Fitness, or Mind Fitness, will grow to one day become as widespread as physical fitness, for kids, adults, and seniors. “Brain gyms” will complement today’s gyms.

A few examples of science-based programs, apart from Posit Science’s (Note: SharpBrains has or will have business relationships with the following companies, precisely because we believe many people will benefit from these programs):

ACE4sports has developed a software based product to train the “game-intelligence” skills of professional and amateur basketball players. A number of university teams, including top NCAA basketball teams such as Kentucky and Memphis, have implemented the program with great results on their team performance and players’ coordination, attention control, peripheral vision, perception and more.

Cogmed develops and markets a software-based working memory training product, RoboMemo. The Swedish researchers behind Cogmed, led by Karolinska Institute’s Torkel Klingberg, MD, PhD, have shown that any person can improve his or her working memory by correctly designed and intense training. For people with serious attention deficits, improved working memory translates to tangible and measurable improvements in daily life.

A Vigorous Mind represents the products developed by CogniFit, using the latest scientific research to develop easy to use software that enhances human cognitive performance and health in a variety of applications, from improving driving skills and abilities to preventing cognitive decline.

The Institute of HeartMath (IHM), a California-based research institute founded in 1991, has been conducting clinical studies and basic research on emotional physiology and heart-brain interactions, and on the physiology of learning and performance. As a result of such research, IHM offers educational programs such as The Resilient Educator to improve Teacher satisfaction and retention, and technology offerings for stress management such as PC-based Freeze-Framer Interactive Learning System and handheld emWave.

And there are more.

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