Oct 10, 2008
By: Alvaro Fernandez
As you have probably seen, the Cognitive Health and Brain Fitness field is rapidly evolving, so let me highlight some of the main recent developments affecting the field:
1) Public policy initiatives:
– The Government of Ontario, Canada, announced a $10m investment in Baycrest Research Center to help develop and commercialize brain fitness technologies. This $10m investment was matched with an additional $10m by local investors.
– In the US, The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 was signed into law, included in the recently-approved economic bailout bill. The passage of this law has significant implications for healthcare providers and technology vendors alike.
2) Computerized Cognitive Assessments Used by the US Military:
The US Army launched a new policy requiring cognitive screenings of all soldiers before deployment (in order to better diagnose potential problems such as PTSD and TBI upon return). ANAM was the selected computerized battery of tests.
3) Venture & Angel Fundraising for Cognitive Training companies:
A number of developers have raised money. CogniFit received $5m (from Milk Capital), Lumos Labs $3m (FirstMark Capital -previously called Pequot Ventures-, Norwest Venture Partners), Scientific Brain Training $1.5m (issued shares), Vivity Labs $1m (undisclosed angel investors), This is, of course, on top of the February $10.6 investment in Dakim (Galen Partners) that we already included in our market report.
4) Major Initiatives by Insurance Companies:
– Allstate launched a large-scale research project to measure impact of Posit Science InSight (visual processing training) on driver safety for adults over 50.
– OptumHealth announced a 3-year, $18m agreement with Brain Resource to offer web-based cognitive assessments as part of clinicians’ decision support systems.
– Humana decided not to renew its agreement with Posit Science to offer Posit’s auditory processing training program to Medicare members.
5) New Research:
– In a significant new study, a team from the University of Michigan published a high-quality paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showing how computerized working memory training can generalize and improve fluid intelligence (one of the domains that tends to decline with age).
– Learning and Teaching Scotland released an internal study showing how Nintendo Brain Training can help children’s math and concentration skills. The study gained significant media attention, despite the fact it hasn’t been published in a respected journal.
Note: This is an excerpt from the 6-Month Market Update we willÃ‚Â release later this month, covering the many important developments that have occurred since we launched the inaugural Brain Fitness Market Report in March this year. This special report will be available exclusively for our Premium Research Sponsors.