Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Icon

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.

Welcome to SharpBrains.com

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 SharpBrains.com

Follow us via

twitter_logo_header

Gold Sponsors @ 2014 SharpBrains Virtual Summit (October 28-30th)

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