Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Digital health meets consumer electronics and brain training

There’s no doubt that the biggest buzz at this year’s Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show in Las Vegas didn’t come from the slimmest of tele­vi­sions, the most fash­ion­able head­phones or even a danc­ing robot.

The buzz of CES 2013 was firmly cen­tred on all things health and the Dig­i­tal Health Sum­mit is where the action was hap­pen­ing. On the eve of open­ing Ari­anna Huff­in­g­ton described what was about to hap­pen in Las Vegas as a ‘Per­fect Storm’

I’m talk­ing about one of those moments in which sev­eral trends con­verge to cre­ate some­thing larger, a moment we will look back on as the time every­thing changed ….. this year’s CES has the poten­tial to be one of the most trans­for­ma­tive ever, and that’s because of a sig­nif­i­cant change in atti­tude about what role tech­nol­ogy can, and should, be play­ing in our lives. That’s the foun­da­tion of this per­fect storm”.

And in a show that has pre­vi­ously brought such inno­va­tion as Xbox and the CD player, the real inno­va­tion took place in Dig­i­tal Health and in most cases, the brain was front and cen­ter. It’s per­haps not sur­pris­ing given Sharp­Brains’ most recent state of the indus­try report has found that the global mar­ket­place of dig­i­tal tools for brain health (or “dig­i­tal brain health”) sur­passed $1 bil­lion in 2012 and is fore­casted to reach $6 bil­lion by 2020.

From Muse’s brain sens­ing head­band, Huffington’s own ‘GPS for the Soul’, ‘Hapi­fork’ that tells you when you’re eat­ing too fast and our own online assess­ment and cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­gram, MyBrain­So­lu­tions, the clear mes­sage of CES 2013 was how tech­nol­ogy is deliv­er­ing bet­ter health and well­ness to the widest pos­si­ble audience.

CNN’s San­jay Gupta opened Dig­i­tal health Sum­mit 2013 high­light­ing dig­i­tal health inno­va­tion the mil­i­tary is putting to work on the front­line in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as help­ing vet­er­ans back here in the United States.

Gupta’s keynote set the stage for the rest of the sum­mit and the con­cur­rent dig­i­tal health prod­uct exhi­bi­tion, which filled nearly an entire hall of the mas­sive Las Vegas Con­ven­tion Center.

Fol­low­ing up Gupta was the fea­tured panel dis­cus­sion, “Dig­i­tal Health Rev­o­lu­tion: Body, Mind and Soul” where Huff­in­g­ton was joined by author Deepak Chopra, Sonny Vu from ‘Mis­fit Wear­ables’ and Andrew Thomp­son of Pro­teus Digital.

For Huff­in­g­ton the take­away was simple;

So for me the most excit­ing take­away from this year’s CES isn’t the smart car or the smart home, it’s the smart per­son — the recon­nec­tion of mind, body and spirit. It’s the best way for each of us to regain con­trol of our health, and for our coun­try to regain con­trol of our death-spiraling health care system”.

So, is the proof in the pudding?

What we wit­nessed as both an exhibitor and par­tic­i­pant with a keynote, ‘Your Brain on Tech’, is that the dig­i­tal health rev­o­lu­tion has taken a giant leap for­ward in main­stream adop­tion but where the real chal­lenge lies is in bridg­ing the enor­mous divide between ‘Know­ing’ and ‘Doing’.

How do the myr­iad of mon­i­tor­ing devices, mobile Apps and online health solu­tions deliver real changes for their users if they don’t pro­vide the path for the con­sumer to first Know their con­di­tion and then inter­act and Train their brain in a man­ner that engages and moti­vates behav­ior change?

The brain needs to be at the cen­ter of any dig­i­tal health rev­o­lu­tion and it is already prov­ing to be so with Sharp­Brains pre­dict­ing 10 spe­cific ways in which dig­i­tal plat­forms can change brain health in the short-term.

That is why the stand out devices and Apps at Dig­i­tal Health Sum­mit brought know­ing and train­ing the brain into focus as an increas­ing part of the well­ness solution.

From years of research we know the brain inter­prets any change as threat­en­ing, and that it is impor­tant to learn by “doing.” Through brain train­ing, we know con­sumers can develop core capac­i­ties that sup­port mak­ing healthy choices, includ­ing the abil­ity to focus on tasks, learn from mis­takes, over­come impulses, tune into the pos­i­tive, man­age stress and develop resilience.

Sup­port­ing those choices and help­ing peo­ple bridge the gap between Know­ing and Doing will gen­er­ate real behav­iour change that enhances health and wellness.

That is at the heart of the chal­lenge fac­ing the Dig­i­tal Health move­ment; Can the inno­va­tions on dis­play at CES 2013 lead to endur­ing behav­iour change of new brain habits in their users or not?

It’s not the smartest tech­nol­ogy that ends up being adopted main­stream but rather the one that responds and deliv­ers on the consumer’s desire to change and impor­tantly, helps them do that within their already busy lives.

There was much promise at CES 2013 and Huff­in­g­ton is right to say it had the poten­tial to be the most trans­for­ma­tive ever. We’d go fur­ther and say 2013 cemented the posi­tion of the Brain as the true trans­for­ma­tive ele­ment of Dig­i­tal Health.

Who knows what we’ll see as a result at the next Sharp­Brains Vir­tual Sum­mit and CES Dig­i­tal Health Sum­mit.

– Dr Evian Gor­don is the Exec­u­tive Chair­man and Dr Gre­gory Bayer is the CEO of the Brain Resource Com­pany. You can learn more about their work and insights by watch­ing ‘Your Brain on Tech

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