Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Brain Training and Cognitive Assessment Market Surpassed $1.3 Billion In 2013

Heads-up: We just announced a new intel­li­gence pack­age aimed at edu­ca­tion, health, gam­ing and tech­nol­ogy exec­u­tives and innovators.

Many mar­ket reports pro­vide lit­tle value for the money. This mar­ket report by Sharp­Brains is the pre­cise oppo­site. Its wealth of data and analy­sis pro­vides very valu­able strate­gic and busi­ness devel­op­ment guid­ance to orga­ni­za­tions at the fron­tier of health and well­ness,” says Alexan­dra More­house, VP of Brand Man­age­ment at Kaiser Per­ma­nente. Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Training Market Talk, at MIT/ BoomerTech Series

We’ll have an excit­ing ses­sion in Palo Alto on Octo­ber 6th, as part of the BoomerTech series orga­nized by the MIT Club and Smart­Sil­vers. Let me share the details now.

Fact or Fad: Who is Shap­ing the Brain Fit­ness Mar­ket?
Descrip­tion: Lots of buzz … Per­haps you think that “Senior Moments” are an inevitable part of aging. MIT Club Northern CaliforniaBut research shows you may be able to keep your brain young and fit the same way you do your body, with exer­cise and train­ing. With the suc­cess of Nintendo’s Brain Age, Posit Sci­ence and dozens of new soft­ware pro­grams and games that promise “brain fit­ness”, the real ques­tion is: “Are we expe­ri­enc­ing a fad, or an emerg­ing new con­sumer market?”

Join our speaker, Alvaro Fer­nan­dez, author of the new book, The Sharp Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness, and our expert panel to discuss:

* What are the top prod­ucts on the mar­ket today?
* Can the emerg­ing field of Brain fit­ness improve your job per­for­mance?
* How will con­sumers make informed deci­sions on what to buy and use?
* What are the emerg­ing trends to lever­age for entre­pre­neurs to jump into the marketplace?

Click Here to Register

Speaker, Pan­elist & Moderator

Alvaro Fer­nan­dez, Sharp­Brains — Alvaro is co-founder and CEO of Sharp­Brains, a lead­ing mar­ket research firm that tracks the mar­ket and research for cog­ni­tive assess­ments, train­ing, and games. A mem­ber of the World Eco­nomic Forum’s Global Agenda Coun­cils, he has been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Jour­nal, USA Today, and more, and recently co-authored the book, The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness: 18 Inter­views with Sci­en­tists, Prac­ti­cal Advice, and Prod­uct Reviews, to Keep Your Brain Sharp. Alvaro received mas­ters’ degrees in edu­ca­tion and busi­ness from Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity, and teaches at UC-Berkeley Osher Life­long Learn­ing Institute.

Pan­elists

Roger Quy, Gen­eral Part­ner, Tech­nol­ogy Part­ners — Roger has been respon­si­ble for the life sci­ence prac­tice of Tech­nol­ogy Part­ners since 1989. He spe­cial­izes in neu­rotech­nol­ogy, invest­ing in both bio­pharma and med­ical device com­pa­nies. Roger began his career at the Queen Square Insti­tute of Neu­rol­ogy, Lon­don where he was a Research Fel­low for the British Med­ical Research Coun­cil. He devel­oped and com­mer­cial­ized tech­niques for mon­i­tor­ing the brains of ambu­la­tory patients. He con­tributed to a text­book on epilepsy and holds eight patents. Roger earned a BA with hon­ors in psy­chol­ogy and law and a PhD in neu­ro­science from the Uni­ver­sity of Keele, Eng­land. He received an MBA from the Haas School of Busi­ness at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berkeley.

Jan Zivic, Founder, Vibrant Brains — Jan’s inter­est in Brain Fit­ness is very per­sonal. She suf­fered a trau­matic brain injury after an auto­mo­bile acci­dent sev­eral years ago, and expe­ri­enced the con­cept of neu­ro­plas­tic­ity first-hand as she reha­bil­i­tated from not being able to walk or think ratio­nally to restor­ing much of her pre­vi­ous function.

Jan has served in a vari­ety of lead­er­ship roles includ­ing: the Board of Direc­tors of the Yerba Buena Cen­ter for the Arts where she cur­rently serves as Pres­i­dent of the Board, the Library Com­mis­sion of SF, the Cal­i­for­nia Exec­u­tive Recruiters Asso­ci­a­tion (its first female Pres­i­dent), the Kather­ine Del­mar Burke Inde­pen­dent School, and The Fam­ily Ser­vices Agency of SF — Pres­i­dent of the Board. Jan was rec­og­nized as The SF Cable Car Awards “Woman of the Year,” and later as the recip­i­ent of the Maya Angelou Com­mu­nity Lead­er­ship Award, from the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, San Fran­cisco Med­ical School’s Cen­ter Of Excellence.

Date: Tues­day, Octo­ber 6, 2009

Time:

* 6:00PM Reg­is­tra­tion, Hors d’oeuvres and Net­work­ing
* 7:00PM Pre­sen­ta­tion and Panel Discussion

Cost:

* $20.00 in advance on the web­site
* $25.00 Walk-ins at the door (cash or check please, no credit cards accepted at door)

Con­tact:

Michael Sar­fatti
tel 415–885-2293
sarfatti@alum.mit.edu

Loca­tion:

Wil­son Son­sini
950 Page Mill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94301

Click Here to Register

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.

Inno­va­tion

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.

Enjoy!

Update: Preparing Society for the Cognitive Age, and Industry Webinar

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

Sci­en­tific pub­li­ca­tion Fron­tiers in Neu­ro­science recently pub­lished a spe­cial issue on Aug­ment­ing Cog­ni­tion, and invited me to con­tribute with an arti­cle titled Prepar­ing Soci­ety for the Cog­ni­tive Age. Ground­break­ing brain research has occurred over the last 20 years. The oppor­tu­nity to improve brain health and per­for­mance is immense, but we need to ensure the mar­ket­place matures in a ratio­nal and sus­tain­able man­ner, both through health­care and non-healthcare chan­nels. Click Here to read my article.

Announce­ments

In May 2009 Sharp­Brains pub­lished The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2009, the main indus­try report for lead­ing orga­ni­za­tions prepar­ing their mem­bers, their clients, and their patients for the cog­ni­tive age. 150-pages long, the report includes a mar­ket sur­vey with 2,000+ respon­dents, detailed analy­sis of 20+ ven­dors, research briefs writ­ten by 12 lead­ing sci­en­tists and data and trends for 4 major cus­tomer segments.webinar

Below we share the full Exec­u­tive Sum­mary of the report and announce an exclu­sive webi­nar on Sep­tem­ber 29th to dis­cuss the State of the Mar­ket in more depth with buy­ers of the report.

To order the report and access both the report and the webi­nar, you can click Here. (Only $975 –a 25% dis­count– using Dis­count Code Frontiers2009 before Sep­tem­ber 28th).

State of the Mar­ket

The brain fit­ness field holds excit­ing promise for the future while pre­sent­ing clear oppor­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges today. The good news is that there are more tools avail­able than ever before to assess and train a vari­ety of cog­ni­tive skills. The bad news is that there are no magic pills and that con­sumers, while sat­is­fied over­all, seem con­fused by com­pet­ing claims on how to reduce one’s “brain age.” We do see signs that this early-stage mar­ket can mature in a more ratio­nal, struc­tured man­ner; but there is much work to be done. We esti­mate that the size of the U.S. brain fit­ness soft­ware (i.e., appli­ca­tions designed to assess or enhance cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties) mar­ket in 2008 was Read the rest of this entry »

Update: 2009 Market Report Finds Growth, Promise and Confusion

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

We are excited to release our 2009 mar­ket report The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2009. To be for­mally released on May 4th but avail­able now for our clients and read­ers, this report aims to inform decision-makers at health­care, insur­ance, research, pub­lic pol­icy, invest­ment and tech­nol­ogy orga­ni­za­tions about impor­tant devel­op­ments in the brain fit­ness and cog­ni­tive health space.

2009 Mar­ket Report

The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2009: This new 150-page report finds The State of the Brain Fitness/ Training Software Market 2009 reportsus­tained growth in the brain fit­ness soft­ware mar­ket (from $225m in 2007 to $265m in 2008) and promis­ing seeds for future growth, com­bined with increased con­fu­sion given aggres­sive mar­ket­ing claims and lack of edu­ca­tion and stan­dards. The report includes, for the first time, a Mar­ket & Research Momen­tum Matrix to cat­e­go­rize 21 key ven­dors, 10 Research Exec­u­tive Briefs writ­ten by 12 lead­ing sci­en­tists, and the com­plete results of our mar­ket sur­vey with 2,000+ respon­dents. You can learn more, and acquire the report, Here.

News and Resources

Cog­ni­tive Health News April Round-Up: New cog­ni­tive track at the Games for Health con­fer­ence, bilin­gual brains, poverty’s effect on the brain and work­ing mem­ory due to stress, dia­betes, neu­roen­hanc­ing drugs, Kellogg’s set­tle­ment with the FTC, neu­rocog­ni­tive test­ing in the mil­i­tary.

Nor­mal Aging vs. Alzheimer’s Dis­ease: Dr. Murali Doraiswamy shares his very insight­ful views on the key ques­tion, “How can we help the pub­lic at large to dis­tin­guish Alzheimer’s Dis­ease from nor­mal aging — so that an inter­est in early iden­ti­fi­ca­tion doesn’t trans­late into unneeded wor­ries?”, based on his recent book The Alzheimer’s Action Plan.

Upcom­ing Guide

The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness: It seems every week brings a new bar­rage of arti­cles and stud­ies which often con­tra­dict what you read the month before: Does Gingko Biloba improve mem­ory? Can phys­i­cal exer­cise help you stay sharp as you age? Which brain fit­ness pro­gram”, if any, is worth your money? Why is man­ag­ing stress so impor­tant for mem­ory and the brain?. This new book (avail­able both in print and Kin­dle ver­sions) aims to answer those ques­tions –and more. We will send you an email announce­ment when the book is ready for pur­chase, in late May.

The Big Picture

Do Art Classes Boost Test Scores? Is there a “Mozart Effect?”: Some researchers sug­gest so; oth­ers are not con­vinced. Karin Evans, through our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Greater Good Mag­a­zine, offers a very thought­ful review of the evi­dence. She also chal­lenges us by ask­ing, “Now, is this the right question?”

Improv­ing the world, and one’s brain, at the same time: The Gold­man Envi­ron­men­tal Prize recently rec­og­nized seven social entre­pre­neurs who are clearly help­ing improve the state of the world. Now, the “state of the world” does include their very own brains — as you may have seen in a recent study.

Brain Teasers

Brain plas­tic­ity and daily live: If you lived in Lon­don, and wanted to grow your hip­pocam­pus, which job would you choose?

Stim­u­late your Con­cen­tra­tion Skills: when one really wants to mem­o­rize a fact, it is cru­cial to pay atten­tion. Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon chal­lenges you to count a few sim­ple letters.

Have a great May

Update: Learning about Learning/ more on Brain Age

Here you have the Jan­u­ary edi­tion of our monthly newslet­ter cov­er­ing cog­ni­tive Brain Fitnesshealth and brain fit­ness top­ics. Please remem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this Newslet­ter by email, sim­ply by sub­mit­ting your email at the top of this page.

Bird’s Eye View

Brain fit­ness heads towards its tip­ping point: How do you know when some­thing is mov­ing towards a Glad­wellian tip­ping point? When health insur­ance com­pa­nies and pub­lic pol­icy mak­ers launch sig­nif­i­cant ini­tia­tives. Dr. Ger­ard Finnemore pro­vides a mar­ket overview, based on Sharp­Brains’ client webi­nar held last December.

Ten Reflec­tions on Cog­ni­tive Health and Assess­ments: Here are 10 high­lights from sev­eral stim­u­lat­ing Jan­u­ary events:  Sym­po­sium on Adap­tive Tech­nol­ogy for the Aging (by Ari­zona State Uni­ver­sity), Health Blog­gers’ Sum­mit (by Con­sumer Reports), Trau­matic Brain Injury (by Vet­eran Affairs in Palo Alto), and a new Alzheimer’s/ Demen­tia Expert Panel orga­nized by the city of San Francisco.

News and Events

Nin­tendo Brain Age vs. Cross­word Puz­zles: we need much pub­lic edu­ca­tion in order to help con­sumers sep­a­rate real­ity from hope from hype. Nin­tendo is not help­ing, nei­ther is media reporting.

Col­lec­tion of recent news: includ­ing train­ing for senior fit­ness train­ers, reports on the impor­tance of pur­pose,  on older dri­ver safety, and more.

Upcom­ing events: I will be speak­ing soon at the New York Acad­emy of Med­i­cine, the Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging/ NCOA con­fer­ence, and the Sil­ver­ing Work­force Sum­mit at the Uni­ver­sity of North Car­olina. Let me know if you are attend­ing any.

Edu­ca­tion and Learning

Learn­ing about Learn­ing: an Inter­view with Joshua Wait­zkin: Scott Barry Kauf­man inter­views “child prodigy” Joshua Wait­zkin on The Art of Learn­ing. Many fas­ci­nat­ing insights, includ­ing “I think los­ing my first National Chess Cham­pi­onship was the great­est thing that ever hap­pened to me, because it helped me avoid many of the psy­cho­log­i­cal traps…(associated with being called a “child prodigy”)”.

Resources to help stu­dents build emo­tional intel­li­gence: Daniel Gole­man intro­duces edu­ca­tors and par­ents to a new book that “adds an impor­tant tool to the emo­tional intel­li­gence kit: mind­ful­ness, a moment-by-moment aware­ness of one’s inter­nal state and exter­nal environment.”

Resources

Top 10 Cog­ni­tive Health and Brain Fit­ness Books: Here you have The 10 Most Pop­u­lar Brain Fit­ness & Cog­ni­tive Health Books, based on book pur­chases by Sharp­Brains’ read­ers dur­ing 2008.

10-Question Pro­gram Eval­u­a­tion Check­list: To help con­sumers and pro­fes­sion­als nav­i­gate through the grow­ing num­ber of pro­grams mak­ing “brain fit­ness” or “brain train­ing” claims, we pub­lished last year this Eval­u­a­tion Check­list. Now we are mak­ing the Check­list avail­able as a Book­mark given recent requests by uni­ver­si­ties and con­fer­ence organizers.

Brain Teaser

Brain Teaser to Exer­cise your Mem­ory and Rea­son­ing Skills: Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon offers a stim­u­lat­ing teaser that not only helps exer­cise our brain but also edu­cates us on how and why the same activ­ity may exer­cise dif­fer­ent brains dif­fer­ently — depend­ing on where we are from.

Top 30 Brain Health and Fitness Articles of 2008

Here brain teasers job interview you have Sharp­Brains’ 30 most pop­u­lar arti­cles, ranked by the num­ber of peo­ple who have read each arti­cle in 2008.

Please note that, since the first arti­cle already includes most of our most pop­u­lar brain teasers, we have excluded teasers from the rest of the rank­ing. (If those 50 are not enough for you, you can also try these brain teasers).

Blog Chan­nel
Arti­cle
1. Top 50 Brain Teasers and Games to Test your Brain
It is always good to stim­u­late our minds and to learn a bit about how our brains work. Here you have a selec­tion of the 50 Brain Teasers that peo­ple have enjoyed the most.
2. The Ten Habits of Highly Effec­tive Brains
Let’s review some good lifestyle options we can fol­low to main­tain, and improve, our vibrant brains. My favorite: don’t out­source your brain (even to us).
3. Why do You Turn Down the Radio When You’re Lost?
You’re dri­ving through sub­ur­bia one evening look­ing for the street where you’re sup­posed to have din­ner at a friend’s new house. You slow down to a crawl, turn down the radio, stop talk­ing, and stare at every sign. Why is that? Nei­ther the radio nor talk­ing affects your vision. Or do they?
4. Brain Plas­tic­ity: How learn­ing changes your brain
You may have heard that the brain is plas­tic. As you know the brain is not made of plas­tic! Neu­ro­plas­tic­ity or brain plas­tic­ity refers to the brain’s abil­ity to CHANGE through­out life.
5. Top 10 Brain Train­ing Future Trends
In an emerg­ing mar­ket like brain fit­ness train­ing, it is dif­fi­cult to make pre­cise pro­jec­tions. But, we can observe a num­ber of trends that exec­u­tives, con­sumers, pub­lic pol­icy mak­ers, and the media should watch closely in the com­ing years, as brain fit­ness and train­ing becomes main­stream, new tools appear, and an ecosys­tem grows around it.

Read the rest of this entry »

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