Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Using Your Head: What is the Future of Brain Health? (Interview Part 2)

Into_The_Future(Editor’s Note: this is Part 2 of the con­ver­sa­tion between David Coleiro and Alvaro Fer­nan­dez on the future of brain health. You can read Part 1 Here)

Non-invasive tech­nolo­gies
There is now a grow­ing toolkit of non-invasive tech­nolo­gies which can be used in brain train­ing. Exam­ples of these include: Read the rest of this entry »

10 Predictions on How Digital Platforms will Transform Brain Health in 2013

Just a quick note: we’ll host a webi­nar on Jan­u­ary 30th to dis­cuss key mar­ket pre­dic­tions based on “The Dig­i­tal Brain Health Mar­ket 2012–2020: Web-based, mobile and biometrics-based tech­nol­ogy to assess, mon­i­tor and enhance cog­ni­tion and brain func­tion­ing”, our new mar­ket report.

Here are 10 pre­dic­tions, many of which will likely be real­ized before the end of 2013: Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive screenings and Alzheimer’s Disease

The Alzheimer’s Foun­da­tion of Amer­ica just released a thought­ful report advo­cat­ing for wide­spread cog­ni­tive screen­ings after the age of 65 (55 given the right conditions).

Accord­ing to the press release,

- “The report shat­ters unsub­stan­ti­ated crit­i­cism and instead empha­sizes the safety and cost-effectiveness of these tools and calls on Con­gress to develop a national demen­tia screen­ing policy.”

- “Lift­ing the bar­ri­ers to early detec­tion is long over­due, Hall said. “Con­ver­sa­tions about brain health are not tak­ing place. We must edu­cate and empower con­sumers to talk openly about mem­ory con­cerns, par­tic­u­larly with pri­mary care providers, so they get the atten­tion and qual­ity of life they deserve.

- “Demand for screen­ings is evi­denced by the suc­cess of AFA’s recent sixth annual National Mem­ory Screen­ing Day held on Novem­ber 18, dur­ing which an esti­mated 50,000 peo­ple were given free con­fi­den­tial mem­ory screen­ings at nearly 2,200 com­mu­nity sites nation­wide. Dur­ing last year’s event, approx­i­mately 16 per­cent of indi­vid­u­als who had a face-to-face screen­ing scored pos­i­tive and were referred to their pri­mary care providers for follow-up. An AFA sur­vey of par­tic­i­pants revealed that fewer than one in four with self-reported mem­ory com­plaints had pre­vi­ously dis­cussed them with their physi­cians despite recent visits.”

Excel­lent report avail­able: here

Please note that the Alzheimer’s Asso­ci­a­tion recently argued in the oppo­site direc­tion (no screen­ings) — which prob­a­bly trig­gered this response.

We see emerg­ing trends that sug­gest the posi­tion in favor of cog­ni­tive assess­ments may in fact gather momen­tum over the next few years: wide­spread com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive screen­ings in the US Army, insur­ance com­pa­nies like OptumHealth adding such tools to its clin­i­cal decision-making sys­tems, polls such as the Amer­i­can Soci­ety of Aging’s a cou­ple of years ago indi­cat­ing a very strong demand for an “annual men­tal check-up”, the avail­abil­ity of use­ful assess­ment tools and research-based pre­ven­tive advice.

The start­ing point is to under­stand what those assess­ments are NOT: they are not diag­nos­tic tools. When used prop­erly, they can be used as a base­line to track per­for­mance in a vari­ety of cog­ni­tive domains over time, so that both the indi­vid­ual AND the physi­cian are not blinded by a one-time assess­ment, com­par­ing an indi­vid­ual with his or her peers (instead of his or her past per­for­mance) when seri­ous symp­toms have fre­quently already been going on for a while.

Our con­trib­u­tor  Dr. Joshua Sil­ver­man, from Albert Ein­stein Col­lege of Med­i­cine, recently gen­er­ated a nice debate on the topic by ask­ing our read­ers their reac­tion to these 3 ques­tions: Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive Assessments: HeadMinder, ANAM, and more

Just saw a very inter­est­ing press release regard­ing computer-based neu­rocog­ni­tive assess­ments — a crit­i­cal part of the brain fit­ness puz­zle. How long will it take before con­sumers can have access to a reli­able and cred­i­ble annual “men­tal check-up”/ cog­ni­tive baseline?

Head­Min­der Cog­ni­tive Sta­bil­ity Index: Com­put­er­ized Neu­rocog­ni­tive … (Press release)

- “The Head­Min­der web-based Cog­ni­tive Sta­bil­ity Index (CSI) has proven more use­ful for blast-concussion detec­tion than the ANAM com­put­er­ized test bat­tery the DoD cur­rently employs. The CSI pro­vides an imme­di­ate solu­tion to clear the back­log of 400,000 IED-exposed ser­vice mem­bers in less than two years.”

- “The CSI is a 30-minute, Internet-based, com­put­er­ized test that pro­vides auto­mated, objec­tive mea­sures of atten­tion, mem­ory, response speed, and pro­cess­ing speed for ini­tial eval­u­a­tion of cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing. The CSI pro­duces stan­dard­ized reports that enable triage and decision-making appro­pri­ate to a user’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions — from medic to neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist to neu­rol­o­gist and other treat­ment team members.”

We cov­ered this emerg­ing type of assess­ments in the arti­cle Com­put­er­ized Cog­ni­tive Assess­ments: oppor­tu­ni­ties and concerns

- “In fact, one of the Read the rest of this entry »


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