Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Grand Rounds: Best of Health and Medical Blogging

Welcome to a new edition of Grand Rounds blog carnival, the weekly edition of what’s best in the health and medical blogosphere. This week, twenty four bloggers share data, insights, questions, reflections and more. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

Brain fitness & training heads towards its tipping point

How do you know when something is fast moving towards a Gladwellian tipping point? When health insurance companies and public policy makers launch significant initiatives.

For example, the government of Ontario recently announced a $10 million investment with Baycrest Research Centre who will partner with MaRS Venture Group to develop and commercialise brain fitness technologies. The investment was matched by an additional $10 million from private sources.

Another important development was the $18 million agreement between the Australian-based Brain Resource Company (ASX:BRC) and OptumHealth in the US. This will allow for the provision of web-based cognitive assessments as part of a clinician’s decision support systems.

These are some initiatives covered in a webinar Top Ten Cognitive Fitness Events of 2008 presented in December for SharpBrains’ clients. Alvaro Fernandez described the state of play and main drivers behind the growth of the burgeoning brain fitness market – which I will try and summarize here.

The key drivers seem to be Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive News November-December 2008

Here you have several recent articles and developments worthy of attention:Brain Health News

1) Boom times for brain training games (CNN)
2) Navigating the brain fitness landscape: do’s and don’ts (McKnight’s Long Term Care News)
3) USA Hockey and Intelligym (press release)
4) Brain Fitness at New York Public Library (NYPL blog)
5) McDonnell Foundation grant harnesses cognitive science to improve student learning (press release)
6) Health insurance firms offering online cognitive therapy for insomnia (Los Angeles Times)
7) HeadMinder Cognitive Stability Index: Computerized Neurocognitive … (Press release)
8) THE AGE OF MASS INTELLIGENCE (Intelligent Life)
9) Working Later in Life May Facilitate Neural Health (Cerebrum)
10) The Cool Factor: Never Let Them See You Sweat (New York Times)

Links, selected quotes and commentary: Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Cognitive Fitness Events of 2008 (Webinar)

We have just announced an upcoming webinar to provide a market update:  Top 10 Cognitive Fitness Events of 2008 – A Market Update.

cognitive fitness When: Thursday December 11th, from 12:00 to 1:00 pm Pacific Time. The same webinar will be repeated on Thursday December 18th, from 9:00 to 10:00 pm Pacific Time.

The Top 10 Cognitive Fitness Events that will be discussed include:

1) February: Dakim secures a $10.6m investment from Galen Partners. Jack LaLanne becomes spokesperson.
2) April: The Government of Ontario, Canada, invests $10m in Baycrest to develop and commercialize cognitive fitness technologies.
3) April: University of Michigan researchers reveal in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences how computerized working memory training can generalize and improve fluid intelligence in healthy adults.
4) May: Humana unveils Games for Health initiatives, not renewing its agreement with Posit Science.
5) June: The US Army launches a new policy requiring cognitive screenings of all soldiers before deployment (in order to Read the rest of this entry »

Online Cognitive Therapy OKed by Health Insurance

My apologies for not writing in a few days…the Global Agenda Summit in Dubai has required all my attention – I will summarize the great experience when I land back in San Francisco tomorrow night.

The concepts of night and day do become challenging when working for a few days in a place with a 12-hour time difference with one’s home base. Sleep is indeed very important to maintain top cognitive shape…which leads me to a fascinating news announcement:

Health insurance firms offering online cognitive therapy for insomnia (Los Angeles Times)

– “helping consumers get a good night’s sleep has become a priority for most of the top-tier U.S. health insurance companies, including WellPoint, Aetna, Cigna, Kaiser Permanente and several Blue Cross plans. Their new programs don’t involve sleeping pills. Instead, insurers are advocating the use of cognitive behavior therapy. Traditionally, the therapy has been done largely through face-to-face sessions, but many of the programs are now available online.”

– “And use of sleeping pills has skyrocketed. A study this year Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness for Baby Boomers

One of the best articles so far on the growing brain fitness market, by the Associated Press.

Click Here to check out story:

“This is not just a Nintendo-fueled fad,” he says. “The brain fitness market passed a tipping point in 2007 thanks to the convergence of a very proactive boomer generation hitting their 60s.”

Article: Here. Highly recommended.

Now, as you read it, please remember the theme of our most recent newsletter: Emerging Tools, Not Magic Pills.

And, for all new readers who are joining us given the extra coverage (CNN, CBS, CHicago Tribune, dozens of other papers and websites), let me reprint now an article I wrote here in February:

—————–

A spate of recent news coverage on brain fitness and “brain training” reflects a growing interest in natural, non-drug-based interventions to keep our brains sharp as we age. This interest is very timely, given the aging population, increasing Alzheimer’s rates, and soaring health care costs that place more emphasis than ever on prevention and changing lifestyle.

Read the rest of this entry »

Every man can, if he so desires, sculpt his own brain

Santiago Ramon y CajalA Spanish friend and neuroscientist just reminded me of a great quote by Santiago Ramon y Cajal (1852-1934): “todo hombre puede ser, si se lo propone, escultor de su propio cerebro“.

Which means: “Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculptor his own brain“.

Which really means: “Each of us can literally refine the structure and function of our brains, the same way we can do so with the rest of our body muscles” (my 2 cents…).

Our daily thoughts and actions, learnings, meditation, cognitive therapy, the growing number of software-based programs, and more, are “sculpting” tools…no more no less than tools. Good for some goals and contexts, like improving concentration and memory, becoming “sharper”, helping protect our minds from decline, or manage stress better.

I just bought Cajal’s autobiography, titled Recollections of My Life (thanks, Mind Hacks). Will be writing about it in a month or so-I have too many books on the table now, and only one brain.

If you want to read some good neuroscience blog posts, you can find a nice collection in the latest edition of Encephalon, hosted by Dr Deborah Serani.

For general science ones, try Tangled Bank. For education, enjoy The Education Carnival.

Finally, I will be hosting the next edition of Carnival of the Capitalists (I don’t really love the name…but it is the oldest and best blog carnival for business and economics). If you have some good posts, please submit them here.

For some additional thoughts on sculpting brains, intelligence, and becoming smarter, you can check this post.

Learn more & Register today at early-bird rates

2016 SharpBrains Virtual Summit: Reinventing Brain Health in the Digital Age

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