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Cognitive Fitness as a New Frontier of Fitness

emWave for Stress ManagementVery good article in the LA Times today. Like a StairMaster for the brain: Can mental workouts improve the mind’s agility? Baby boomer concerns stimulate an industry expansion.

The reporter, Melissa Healy, reviews the healthy aging segment in the Brain Fitness field. A few selected quotes:

– “There is plausibility, both biological and behavioral, to the claim that these may work,” says Molly Wagster, chief of the National Institute on Aging’s neuropsychology branch. “But it is still a situation of ‘buyer beware.’ ”

– “I see this as a new frontier of fitness overall,” says Alvaro Fernandez, founder and chief executive of the website SharpBrains .com, which tracks the business and science of brain-training. Americans already understand the value of physical fitness as a means of preserving the body’s proper function and preventing age-related diseases, says Fernandez. He predicts that cognitive fitness will become a goal to which Americans equally aspire as we learn more about aging and the brain.
– (Dr. Elkhonon) Goldberg, who provides scientific advice on the website http://www.sharpbrains.com/, says that as neuroscientists use imaging technologies to “see” the cellular changes that come with learning, he grows more confident that well-designed training programs can have discernible everyday effects in preserving or repairing the intellectual function of older adults. “This is shared hardware” that’s being changed in the brain, “and to the extent you somehow enhance it, that will have wide-ranging effects,” Goldberg says. “It provides a much more compelling raisontre for this whole business.”

The article adds that “Americans this year are expected to invest $225 million in these programs — up from just $70 million in 2003 — in an effort to tune up the brain, strengthen the memory and forestall or reverse the cognitive slippage that often comes with age, psychiatric disease, stroke or medical treatments.”

Our breakdown for those 2007 US predictions are as follows: $80m for the Consumer segment, $60m in K12 Education, $50m in Clinical applications, and $35m in the Corporate segment. The Consumer segment, with a healthy aging value proposition, is the most recent one but the most rapidly growing.

Read the full article: Like a StairMaster for the brain.

PS: the article also says “In the last three years, these brainpower-boosting programs have proliferated, with names like MindFit, Happy Neuron, Brain Fitness and Lumosity.”.. if there are reporters reading this, please avoid future confusion by naming Posit Science’s program “Posit Science Brain Fitness Program 2.0”. Brain Fitness refers to the full category.

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