Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Can Brain Fitness Innovation Enhance Cognitive Rehab and Driving Safety?

Today we share must-read insights from  Kather­ine Sul­li­van, Direc­tor of the Brain Fit­ness Cen­ter at Wal­ter Reed Army Med­ical Cen­ter, and Peter Kissinger, Pres­i­dent of the AAA Foun­da­tion for Traf­fic Safety. Both of them will dis­cuss their ongo­ing work and lessons learned at the upcom­ing 2011 Sharp­Brains Sum­mit (March 30th — April 1st, 2011). The inter­views below were con­ducted via email.

Kather­ine Sul­li­van is the Direc­tor of the Brain Fit­ness Cen­ter at Wal­ter Reed Army Med­ical Center.

1. Kather­ine, how would you define “brain fit­ness” vs. “phys­i­cal fitness”?

In our con­text (help­ing active duty ser­vice mem­bers and vet­er­ans recover from cog­ni­tive dys­func­tion most asso­ci­ated with trau­matic brain injury), I’d say brain fit­ness is the out­come we work towards: the cog­ni­tive resources required to return to duty or rein­te­grate into daily and pro­fes­sional lives as much as pos­si­ble. In this sense, Read the rest of this entry »

Four New Speakers Confirmed — 2011 SharpBrains Summit

We are hon­ored to announce four new con­firmed Sharp­Brains Sum­mit Speak­ers: Nigel Smith at AARP, Peter Kissinger at the AAA Foun­da­tion for Traf­fic Safety, Keith Wesnes at United BioSource, and Ken Kosik at UCSB Neu­ro­science Research Institute.

Nigel Smith, AARP Strat­egy and Inno­va­tion Direc­tor, is respon­si­ble for devel­op­ing decen­tral­ized inno­va­tion mod­els for AARP and for con­sult­ing with busi­ness units in the exe­cu­tion of inno­va­tion processes. Prior to AARP, Nigel was the Direc­tor or Prod­uct Inno­va­tion for Visa USA. Other pro­fes­sional expe­ri­ences have been with McK­in­sey & Com­pany, Gold­man Sachs Group, and KPMG. Nigel holds a Mas­ters in Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion degree from Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity and a Bach­e­lors in Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion degree from Howard Uni­ver­sity. Read the rest of this entry »

What impressed the Judging Panel re. Innovation Awards Winners and Finalists

Let me now share what the Judg­ing PanelAlvaroFer_finalfile_180310 and the Sharp­Brains team found most impres­sive from each Win­ner and Final­ist of the 2010 Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion Awards, accom­pa­nied by some addi­tional infor­ma­tion on each of these 10 note­wor­thy ini­tia­tives and case studies.

Grand Prize Winner

USA HockeyUSA Hockey, Inc., is the National Gov­ern­ing Body of the sport of ice hockey in the United States. With a mem­ber­ship of nearly 600,000 play­ers, coaches, offi­cials and vol­un­teers that span all 50 states, USA Hockey seeks to pro­mote the growth of hockey and pro­vide the best pos­si­ble expe­ri­ence for all par­tic­i­pants by encour­ag­ing, devel­op­ing, advanc­ing and admin­is­ter­ing the sport.

Project Scope: The National Team Devel­op­ment Pro­gram (NTDP), a USA Hockey body, is a full-time devel­op­ment pro­gram aimed at prepar­ing under-18 student-athletes for par­tic­i­pa­tion on US National Teams. Its efforts focus both on high-caliber par­tic­i­pa­tion on the ice and indi­vid­ual skill devel­op­ment. The pro­gram is com­posed of two squads: the US National Under-18 and Under-17 Teams.

Dur­ing the past hockey sea­son, the NTDP imple­mented a cog­ni­tive train­ing sys­tem designed to help hockey play­ers develop per­cep­tion and decision-making skills called The Hockey Intel­li­Gym. Designed to enhance ‘Hockey Sense’—or the way play­ers gather infor­ma­tion from their sur­round­ings, make and exe­cute decisions—The Hockey Intel­li­Gym train­ing sys­tem uti­lizes a software-based train­ing envi­ron­ment with cus­tomized algo­rithms that adjust train­ing pro­grams to indi­vid­ual play­ers accord­ing to abil­ity and progress. Play­ers engaged in a twice-a-week cog­ni­tive train­ing reg­i­men that became an inte­gral part of their over­all train­ing pro­gram dur­ing which time cog­ni­tive sci­en­tists mon­i­tored play­ers’ per­for­mance and pro­vided coach­ing staff with analy­ses and progress reports. Among sta­tis­ti­cal fig­ures mea­sured, the most notable was the win ratio of teams involved, as Intel­li­Gym trained team won more games.

The Intel­li­Gym pro­gram took more than two years and $2 mil­lion to put together with the col­lab­o­ra­tion of Applied Cog­ni­tive Engi­neer­ing (ACE) and was enabled by a grant from the BIRD Foun­da­tion who sci­en­tif­i­cally reviewed the plan and finan­cially sup­ported it.

Project Leader: Scott Mon­aghan, Direc­tor of Oper­a­tions, USA Hockey National Team Devel­op­ment Program

Selected com­ments by Judg­ing Panel: Excel­lent team approach between spe­cial­ist, coach and player. Great con­cept and need, and insights/model could apply very broadly to skill devel­op­ment. The adap­ta­tion of cog­ni­tive train­ing to this par­tic­u­lar sports domain is clever and can be gen­er­al­ized to a wide range of other activ­i­ties. I was impressed with the USA Hockey National Team Devel­op­ment Pro­gram and their Hockey Intel­li­gym. To develop/adapt such a pro­gram and clearly demon­strate it’s impact on real-life per­for­mance, is fan­tas­tic. There is also a great oppor­tu­nity to expand this to even more ath­letes and sports and to every­day life.

Sil­ver Prize Winners

AllstateAll­state (NYSE: ALL) is the nation’s largest pub­licly held per­sonal lines insurer. All­state is rein­vent­ing pro­tec­tion and retire­ment to help indi­vid­u­als in approx­i­mately 17 mil­lion house­holds pro­tect what they have today and bet­ter pre­pare for tomorrow.

Project Scope: All­state embarked on a jour­ney with Posit Sci­ence Cor­po­ra­tion to eval­u­ate the inter­est in and effec­tive­ness of Posit Science’s software—leveraging tech­nol­ogy shown in National Insti­tutes of Health funded stud­ies to improve visual pro­cess­ing skills impor­tant for safe driving—to test a soft­ware pro­gram (Insight) in Penn­syl­va­nia. Selected dri­vers, 50 years and older, were invited to help val­i­date the impact cog­ni­tive train­ing has on dri­ving safety.

The project was a “proof of con­cept” for what may turn out to be a sig­nif­i­cant effort by All­state to pre­vent injuries and save lives, enable older peo­ple to main­tain their inde­pen­dence longer and pro­vide peace of mind to adult chil­dren faced with dif­fi­cult deci­sions as par­ents age. The most impor­tant reduc­tion was in insured losses and result­ing injuries, trauma and dis­rup­tion to the lives of those involved in auto col­li­sions. After observ­ing the acci­dent behav­ior of those who com­pleted the Posit pro­gram, rel­a­tive to a well selected con­trol group, All­state saw a mea­sur­able decline that was sta­tis­ti­cally valid.

Project Leader: Tom War­den, Assis­tant Vice Pres­i­dent, All­state Research and Plan­ning Center

Selected com­ments by Judg­ing Panel: The poten­tial impact of this pro­gram is sec­ond to none. I was impressed with Allstate’s project and their results that showed that the Posit Sci­ence soft­ware pos­i­tively impacted the acci­dent records of those com­plet­ing the pro­gram. All­state should be com­mended for try­ing some­thing new and dif­fer­ent and for cre­at­ing such an ini­tia­tive. Pretty soon I can imag­ine brain fit­ness dis­counts along­side safe dri­ver and other discounts.

images (1)Nation­wide, based in Colum­bus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diver­si­fied insur­ance and finan­cial ser­vices orga­ni­za­tions in the U.S. and is rated A+ by A.M. Best. The com­pany pro­vides a full range of per­son­al­ized insur­ance and finan­cial ser­vices, includ­ing includ­ing auto and life insur­ance, pen­sions, health and pro­duc­tiv­ity ser­vices, and more.

Project Scope: Nation­wide Mutual Insur­ance worked with ben­e­fits provider OptumHealth and their part­ner Brain Resource to add a Web based brain train­ing tool (MyBrain­So­lu­tions) to help employ­ees enhance pos­i­tiv­ity, emo­tional resilience and deal with oth­ers more effec­tively — all key ele­ments to pro­duc­tiv­ity. More than 500 employ­ees enrolled in the company’s ‘Healthy Hol­i­day Chal­lenge’ dur­ing the first week. The results of the new resource led to more pos­i­tive behav­ior changes and greater pro­duc­tiv­ity among the workforce.

As part of the MyBrain­So­lu­tions launch, asso­ciates were asked to reg­is­ter, take a base­line brain assess­ment, accu­mu­late a tar­get num­ber of points dur­ing a 30-day period and then take a sec­ond brain assess­ment. The com­pany found that aspects of pos­i­tiv­ity, emo­tional resilience and social skills improved in the short 6-week ini­tia­tive and saw small changes in pro­duc­tiv­ity were notice­able as well. 87% of those par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pro­gram indi­cated they were plan­ning to take addi­tional steps to improve health after par­tic­i­pat­ing while 33.5% wouldn’t have accessed other resources to address health and well­be­ing if it weren’t for the initiative.

Project Leader: Kath­leen Herath, AVP Health & Productivity

Selected com­ments by Judg­ing Panel: Har­vard Busi­ness Review esti­mated a cou­ple years ago that $150B is lost annu­ally as a result of lost employee pro­duc­tiv­ity. Given all of the life events and tran­si­tions that indi­vid­u­als expe­ri­ence each year that can dis­tract, this pro­vides a fea­si­ble and attrac­tive lever for employ­ees to take advan­tage of. Employ­ers of the future that can imple­ment inno­v­a­tive mod­els such as these to adapt to the chang­ing needs of employ­ees, enhance employee pro­duc­tiv­ity, and help to rede­fine what work means by infus­ing the pro­fes­sional with the per­sonal will win, and have as a reward loyal employ­ees, a happy cul­ture, and an over­all higher per­form­ing work­force. The pos­i­tive self-report mea­sures were impres­sive as well as the improve­ments in such a short period of time. Seems to have poten­tial for replic­a­bil­ity with scal­able, low-cost pro­grams. In prin­ci­ple this approach could have large soci­etal ben­e­fits. Imple­ment­ing cog­ni­tive train­ing in a work place is novel and taps into the desire to opti­mize pro­fes­sional func­tion­ing as well as stave off decline.  The emo­tional and self-regulation train­ing is extremely impor­tant in the work­place setting.

Rest of Top 10 Finalists

(Note: out of the 40 orga­ni­za­tions that sub­mit­ted entries to the inau­gural 2010 Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion Awards, 10 became Top 10 Final­ists. Here we want to rec­og­nize the orga­ni­za­tions which, while not win­ning the over­all con­test, did impress the judg­ing panel with the qual­ity of their ongo­ing ini­tia­tives. They are ordered by the approx­i­mate age of their end user pop­u­la­tion, from younger to older:

Most Inno­v­a­tive Spe­cial Ed School

Arrowsmith SchoolArrow­smith School offers a com­pre­hen­sive suite of cog­ni­tive pro­grams for stu­dents with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties, tar­get­ing 19 areas of the brain most com­monly involved in learn­ing. The Arrow­smith Pro­gram, which orig­i­nated in Toronto, is now offered in schools in Canada and the US.

Project Scope: Help reme­di­ate Learn­ing Dis­abil­i­ties by devel­op­ing and imple­ment­ing a pro­pri­etary suite of neuroplasticity-based exer­cises in 3 for­mats: computer-based, audi­tory, pen and paper.

  • Project Leader: Bar­bara Arrow­smith, Director
  • Selected Com­ments by Judg­ing Panel:  How easy would it be to say “they’s not smart enough” or “they’re mak­ing excuses”, instead of “they have a cog­ni­tive short­com­ing that can be addressed.” The tar­get audi­ence of 5–10% of school chil­dren with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties can now have a fight­ing chance if mod­els like these can be scaled through pol­icy and/or repli­ca­tion. This gets my vote as the model cre­ates almost immea­sur­able life­time impact for those for­tu­nate enough to be reap all the cog­ni­tive ben­e­fits of the pro­gram. Arrow­smith efforts since 1979 puts them in a class of their own as pio­neers. Arrow­smith also has a process learn­ing from and refin­ing its ini­tia­tives. Pro­gram can be built fur­ther on very solid foundations.

Most Inno­v­a­tive Behav­ioral Health Provider

UBHCUni­ver­sity Behav­ioral Health­Care (UBHC) was estab­lished in 1971 as a divi­sion of the Uni­ver­sity of Med­i­cine and Den­tistry of New Jer­sey (UMDNJ) and is one of the largest providers of behav­ioral health­care ser­vices in the country.

Project Scope: Reme­di­ate cog­ni­tive impair­ments asso­ci­ated with severe men­tal ill­ness by devel­op­ing and imple­ment­ing an inno­v­a­tive cur­ricu­lum and pro­pri­etary man­ual for cog­ni­tive rehab sup­port groups, com­bin­ing best of Cog­ni­tive Behav­ioral Ther­apy, cog­ni­tive train­ing, and social skills training.

  • Project Leader: Steven M. Sil­ver­stein, Ph.D., Direc­tor, Divi­sion of Schiz­o­phre­nia Research & Direc­tor of Research
  • Selected Com­ments by Judg­ing Panel: Note­wor­thy person-centered approach, focused on how to impact qual­ity of life with self-empowerment tools and social support.

Most Inno­v­a­tive Foundation

aaaftslogoThe AAA Foun­da­tion for Traf­fic Safetyhas a mis­sion to iden­tify prob­lems, fos­ter research that seeks solu­tions, and dis­sem­i­nate infor­ma­tion and edu­ca­tional mate­ri­als that pro­mote good safety practices.

Project Scope: Improve dri­ving safety among older adults by  pro­mot­ing and test­ing visual pro­cess­ing train­ing pro­gram InSight by Posit Science.

  • Project Leader: Peter Kissinger, Pres­i­dent and CEO
  • Selected Com­ments by Judg­ing Panel: Very high qual­ity pro­gram Inno­v­a­tive. Emi­nently scal­able. Ben­e­fits users, AAA, and com­mu­nity at large – very good synergy.This approach grounds cog­ni­tive train­ing in an activ­ity that for many is crit­i­cal to inde­pen­dence. The tie to insur­ance will moti­vate the train­ing which may increase road safety and have broader ben­e­fits for cog­ni­tive health.

Most Inno­v­a­tive Hospital

Saint Lukes Brain and Stroke Institute LogoSaint Luke’s Brain and Stroke Insti­tute, part of Saint Luke’s Health Sys­tem in Kansas and Mis­souri, cov­ers the entire spec­trum of care includ­ing acute inter­ven­tion, pre­ven­tion of com­pli­ca­tions, sec­ondary pre­ven­tion and neurorehabilitation.

Project Scope: Help extend healthy inde­pen­dent liv­ing and address cog­ni­tive impair­ments by mak­ing acces­si­ble a Brain Fit­ness Cen­ter that com­bines edu­ca­tion, assess­ments, lifestyle advice and tar­geted neu­rocog­ni­tive and mindfulness-based training.

  • Project Leader: John Cor­ba­ley, M.S., M.A., CCC/Sp., Direc­tor, Brain Fit­ness Cen­ter, Saint Luke’s Hos­pi­tal of Kansas City
  • Selected Com­ments by Judg­ing Panel: Saint Luke’s pro­gram was impres­sive in a num­ber of ways. I liked that they worked with mul­ti­ple dis­ci­plines to cre­ate a holis­tic pro­gram focused on improved brain health through cog­ni­tive train­ing, nutri­tion and exer­cise as well as other activ­i­ties. It is no sur­prise that they have a wait list of users eager to join their program.

Most Inno­v­a­tive Adult Education

OUSD Logo Color JPEG
Oak­land Uni­fied School Dis­trict has a mis­sion to ensure that all stu­dents grad­u­ate as car­ing, com­pe­tent, and crit­i­cal thinkers, as well as fully-informed, engaged, and con­tribut­ing cit­i­zens, pre­pared to suc­ceed in col­lege and career. Adult and Career Edu­ca­tion ser­vices empower adults through through edu­ca­tion and training.

Project Scope: Extend healthy inde­pen­dent liv­ing (for new pilot: improve aca­d­e­mic suc­cess among at-risk stu­dents) by offer­ing a Brain Fit­ness Class that com­bines cur­ricu­lum, dis­cus­sions and com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive train­ing (by Posit Sci­ence, for older adults; by Lumos Labs, for new pilot with young adults).

  • Project Leader: Teri Barr, Brain Health Pro­gram Coordinator
  • Selected Com­ments by Judg­ing Panel: Strong approach to over­come some of the age bound­aries among tar­geted pop­u­la­tions. What I love the most about this won­der­ful suc­cess story is how this pro­gram has been able to appeal to indi­vid­u­als across socio-economic, demo­graphic, and edu­ca­tional back­grounds, and in the process deliver both real and per­ceived value. One way I think it has done this is through pre­sent­ing a multi-faceted value propo­si­tion (i.e., build cog­ni­tive health + build com­mu­nity + have fun in the process) in a sin­gle set­ting. Lessons learned were also very well artic­u­lated, and the approach of com­bin­ing high-tech with high-touch I thought was inge­nious and real­is­tic given the context.

Most Inno­v­a­tive Men­tal Health Association

1-12754The Men­tal Health Asso­ci­a­tion of Rock­land County, in New York State, is a non-profit orga­ni­za­tion with a mis­sion to pre­vent men­tal ill­ness and fos­ter men­tal well­ness through com­mu­nity out­reach, direct ser­vice and advo­cacy for leg­is­la­tion and programs.

Project Scope: Extend healthy inde­pen­dent liv­ing by offer­ing a cog­ni­tive health series of live events to engage the com­mu­nity with a stigma-free, proac­tive brain fit­ness mes­sage, sup­ported by pro­fes­sional train­ing, social­iza­tion plat­forms and cog­ni­tive train­ing (by CogniFit).

  • Project Leader: Karen Oates, Director
  • Selected Com­ments by Judg­ing Panel: So great to see a Men­tal Health Asso­ci­a­tion pro­mot­ing this impor­tant project and ally­ing with so many groups and orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing Cog­niFit, in doing so. Great that they have been able to over­come the stigma so often asso­ci­ated with aging and men­tal fit­ness through the project. With the man­ual and pam­phlet, there are excel­lent repli­ca­tion possibilities.

Most Inno­v­a­tive Health Plan

logoSCAN Health Plan has been focus­ing for more than 30 years on the unique needs of peo­ple with Medicare and is now the country’s fourth largest not-for-profit Medicare Advan­tage plan. The com­pany cur­rently has nearly 120,000 mem­bers in Cal­i­for­nia and Arizona.

Project Scope: Extend healthy inde­pen­dent liv­ing by devel­op­ing the con­cept of a “SCAN Van” to deliver health screen­ings & edu­ca­tion com­bined with phys­i­cal and cog­ni­tive exer­cise (Wii gam­ing; touch screen-based cog­ni­tive train­ing by Hap­pyNeu­ron) in places where seniors gather.

  • Project Leader: Lena Perel­man, Direc­tor of Com­mu­nity Outreach
  • Selected Com­ments by Judg­ing Panel: A clever plan for the deliv­ery of cog­ni­tive exer­cises. SCAN’s is inno­v­a­tive not only because its mobile but because it presents a more holis­tic approach to brain health with its “multi-pronged” program.

Here you can learn more about the 2010 Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion Awards.

Update: Retooling Use It or Lose It at New York Public Library

Here you have the Sep­tem­ber edi­tion of our monthly newslet­ter cov­er­ing cog­ni­tive health Brain Fitnessand brain fit­ness top­ics. Please remem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this Newslet­ter by email, using the box at the top of this page.

In the cur­rent edi­tion of The Jour­nal on Active Aging, I dis­cuss why we need to Retool “Use it or lose it”, and why rou­tine, doing things inside our com­fort zones, is the most com­mon enemy of the nov­elty, vari­ety and chal­lenge our brains need. You can read the full arti­cle for free Here.

Book Tour

We are glad to report that The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness con­tin­ues to obtain excel­lent endorsements:

This is the only book that I know of that seam­lessly inte­grates lat­est infor­ma­tion about cog­ni­tive health across the lifes­pan. Very use­ful to any­one inter­ested in brain care.”

–Arthur Kramer, Ph. D., Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chol­ogy at Uni­ver­sity of Illinois

…we now have a rock solid primer on brain health that we can rec­om­mend with confidence…I found it par­tic­u­larly effec­tive to start the book with a list of ten brain myths that need debunk­ing.“
–Michael C. Pat­ter­son, for­mer Man­ager NRTA/ Stay­ing Sharp at AARP

The offi­cial book tour starts this week, and includes New York Pub­lic Library!
09/08: Club One Fit­ness Cen­ter, Petaluma, CA
09/09: San Fran­cisco State Uni­ver­sity OLLI
09/11: ASA Brain Health Day, Oak­land, CA
09/23: New York Pub­lic Library, Bronx Library Cen­ter
09/25: New York Pub­lic Library, Stephen Schwarz­man Build­ing
10/06, Smart­Sil­vers MIT North­ern Cal­i­for­nia, Palo Alto, CA
10/14: UC-Berkeley OLLI, CA

You can find all the details here. If you haven’t read the book yet, you can order it via Ama­zon Here (print book) or Here (Kin­dle edi­tion). Or ask your local book­store or library.

Brain Reserve

Edu­ca­tion AND Life­long Cog­ni­tive Activ­i­ties Delay Mem­ory Loss: Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon reports how a recent follow-up to the Bronx Aging Study, where 488 ini­tially healthy adults have been tracked over 20 years, shows that every addi­tional cog­ni­tive “activ­ity day” (par­tic­i­pat­ing in one activ­ity for one day a week) helps delay for about two months the onset of rapid mem­ory loss as we grow older.
Need ideas for extra activities?

Chang­ing our Minds…by Read­ing Fic­tion: What about get­ting a novel in your hands (or writ­ing one)? By imag­in­ing many pos­si­ble worlds, argues psy­chol­o­gist Keith Oat­ley, fic­tion gives us the sur­prise which can help expand our under­stand­ing of our­selves and the social world.

Sharp­Brains Fan Page in Face­book: What about par­tic­i­pat­ing in our new Fan Page at Face­book? You can not only receive lat­est updates but com­ment on your favorite arti­cles and teasers, and dis­cuss your own ideas and resources.

Med­ica­tion and Training

Cog­ni­tive Enhance­ment via Phar­ma­col­ogy AND Neu­ropsy­chol­ogy: our co-founder Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg inte­grates three appar­ently sep­a­rate worlds –cog­ni­tive enhance­ment via drugs, brain fit­ness train­ing soft­ware, com­put­er­ized neu­rocog­ni­tive assessments-, in a much updated new edi­tion of his book The Exec­u­tive Brain.

Com­par­ing Cog­ni­tive Train­ing & Med­ica­tion Treat­ment for ADHD: a recent study shows that work­ing mem­ory train­ing improves work­ing mem­ory more than stim­u­lant med­ica­tion treatment-and ben­e­fits per­sist longer. Does this mat­ter?, Does this mean train­ing is bet­ter than med­ica­tion for kids with atten­tion deficits?  Dr. David Rabiner dis­sects the study search­ing for answers.


AAA to deploy Dri­ve­Sharp: Peter Kissinger, CEO of the AAA Foun­da­tion, explains why the cur­rent sys­tem of dri­ver licens­ing is inad­e­quate and incon­sis­tent, why AAA is rec­om­mend­ing older dri­vers use a new cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­gram, and why he believes insur­ance com­pa­nies will soon start to offer brain train­ing to their members.

Sharp­Brains Net­work for Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion: in order to help lead­ers of the brain fit­ness and cog­ni­tive health com­mu­nity learn, con­nect and col­lab­o­rate, Sharp­Brains has cre­ated a vir­tual LinkedIn net­work for clients. The net­work will be for­mally launched with a webi­nar on Sep­tem­ber 29th that will dis­cuss The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket in 2009. For orga­ni­za­tions that want to order the report, attend the webi­nar, and join the net­work, more infor­ma­tion is avail­able Here.

Brain Teaser

Brain Quiz: Do You Have a Brain?: Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon dares you to answer these 10 ques­tions cor­rectly to prove that you have a brain.


AAA to deploy Brain Fitness Software DriveSharp to Assess and Train Older Driver’s Brains

The AAA Foun­da­tion for Traf­fic Safety just started to rec­om­mend a new dri­ver safety pro­gram called Dri­ve­Sharp (see AAA and Posit Release Pro­gram to Improve Dri­vers’ Minds), devel­oped by Posit Sci­ence. Dri­ve­Sharp is a com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive assess­ment and train­ing tool based on Kar­lene Ball’s research on older adults’ cog­ni­tive fit­ness and driving.

In the press release for the agree­ment, Peter Kissinger, dri­ver safety research and pol­icy vet­eran and CEO of the AAA Foun­da­tion, says thatPeter Kissinger AAA Foundation “Part of mak­ing our nation’s roads safer is help­ing mature dri­vers who wish to stay active — a quickly grow­ing pop­u­la­tion — main­tain or improve their dri­ving safety.”

We have Peter Kissinger with us to dis­cuss the con­text for this inno­v­a­tive initiative.

Peter, I appre­ci­ate your time. In order to set the con­text, would you intro­duce the role and pri­or­i­ties of the AAA Foundation?

Sure. All your read­ers will know that AAA is the main dri­ver asso­ci­a­tion in North Amer­ica, with over 50 mil­lion mem­bers. The AAA Foun­da­tion is focused on the research and pol­icy required to improve dri­ver safety and has 4 strate­gic pri­or­i­ties:
– Intro­duce a cul­ture of traf­fic safety. It is an out­rage that there is a driving-related death every 13 min­utes in the US, and yet, we seem to accept this as sta­tus quo
– Improve road safety, espe­cially on rural roads, where almost 60% of the deaths occur,
– Improve safety among teens, one of the high­est risk groups
– Improve safety among seniors, another high-risk group.

In terms of driver-centered inter­ven­tions, are your pri­or­i­ties are teenage and older drivers?

driver fatality rateYes. You have prob­a­bly seen the U-shaped risk curve (Edi­tor note: see fig­ure at left) that shows how acci­dent risks are very high among teenagers, then decrease and remain sta­ble until our 60s, and then increase again.

We have pro­moted ini­tia­tives such as Dri­verZED (see to help teenagers bet­ter iden­tify and man­age the typ­i­cal sources of risk, so they advance faster through the learn­ing curve. For older dri­vers we focus on how to bal­ance the priv­i­lege of dri­ving with the right of mobil­ity — we know that los­ing dri­ving inde­pen­dence can bring a vari­ety of neg­a­tive con­se­quences for the individual.

Given aging pop­u­la­tion trends, it is clear we need to intro­duce bet­ter sys­tems to bal­ance those two goals you just out­lined –safety and mobil­ity. Do you think as a soci­ety we are prepared?

I don’t think we are, and I am pes­simistic that we will be in the short term. This is a very impor­tant prob­lem: offi­cial esti­mates say that the pro­por­tion of all dri­vers who are over 65 years of age will grow from 15% today to 25% in 2025.

Let me give you some back­ground: two years ago we put together a work­shop to iden­tify the state of the research and the state of the prac­tice of dri­ver safety among Read the rest of this entry »


Welcome to

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN,, and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and wellness applications of brain science.

FIRST-TIME VISITOR? Discover HERE the most popular resources at

New market report on Pervasive Neurotechnology & Intellectual Property

Haven’t you read this book yet?

Newsletter Signup

Enter Your Email to receive Sharp­Brains free, monthly eNewslet­ter:
Join more than 50,000 Sub­scribers and stay informed and engaged.

Follow Us…


Subscribe RSS Feed

Subscribe to the RSS Feed