Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


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 Functioning Impacts Health, Life. Better Monitoring Emerges as Critical

New Research Links Mild Cog­ni­tive Impair­ment (MCI) to Increased Iso­la­tion and Risk of Death (AAIC press release):

- “Two stud­ies pre­sented today at the Alzheimer’s Asso­ci­a­tion Inter­na­tional Con­fer­ence® 2012 (AAIC® 2012) in Van­cou­ver pro­vide evi­dence of con­nec­tions between mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment (MCI) and neg­a­tive health out­comes – increased iso­la­tion and death.” Read the rest of this entry »

Diagnosing early Alzheimer’s and Mild Cognitive Impairment: Emerging Challenges and Implications

Blurry line in diag­nos­ing early Alzheimer’s: study (Reuters):

  • The revised def­i­n­i­tion of a brain con­di­tion called mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment means that many peo­ple now con­sid­ered to have mild or early Alzheimer’s dis­ease could eas­ily be given that diag­no­sis instead, sug­gests a new study.” Read the rest of this entry »

Update: The Future of Preventive Brain Medicine

Time for Sharp­Brains’ Jan­u­ary 2012 eNewslet­ter, fea­tur­ing in this occa­sion mul­ti­ple thought-provoking per­spec­tives on how emerg­ing neu­ro­science can and should make us rethink pre­vail­ing prac­tices in edu­ca­tion, healthy aging and pre­ven­tive medicine.


Fea­tured Perspectives:

New Research: 



Finally, you may want to read our answers to the many excel­lent ques­tions we received about the upcom­ing Online Course: How to Be Your Own Brain Fit­ness Coach in 2012. 80 indi­vid­u­als have reg­is­tered so far, rep­re­sent­ing a fas­ci­nat­ing diver­sity of back­grounds: health and med­ical pro­fes­sion­als, edu­ca­tors, busi­ness exec­u­tives, traders, con­sul­tants, coaches, soft­ware engi­neers, ther­a­pists,  and more. Please remem­ber that early-bird rates end on Tues­day, Jan­u­ary 31st!

Have a great month of February.

Study: Cognitive Training in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

We just came across a new sci­en­tific study on the value and lim­i­ta­tions of cog­ni­tive train­ing in Mild Cog­ni­tive Impair­ment (MCI), based on a pro­gram of cog­ni­tive exer­cises pro­vided by Lumos Labs (devel­op­ers of

Study: Com­put­erised Cog­ni­tive Train­ing for Older Per­sons With Mild Cog­ni­tive Impair­ment: A Pilot Study Using a Ran­domised Con­trolled Trial Design (Brain Impair­ment): Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Cognitive Markers or Biomarkers to manage Cognitive Health across the Lifespan?

Pre­dict­ing Alzheimer’s Dis­ease More Accu­rate Through Cog­ni­tive Changes Than Bio­mark­ers (Med­ical News):

  • Mea­sur­ing people’s changes in cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties is a bet­ter pre­dic­tor of Alzheimer’s dis­ease than changes in bio­mark­ers, researchers from the Ben­ito Menni Com­plex Assis­ten­cial en Salut Men­tal, Barcelona, Spain, reported in Archives of Gen­eral Psy­chi­a­try, a JAMA journal.”
  • The inves­ti­ga­tors used a range of tests to assess Read the rest of this entry »

Michael Merzenich on Brain Training, Assessments, and Personal Brain Trainers

Dr. Michael Merzenich Dr. Michael Merzenich, Emer­i­tus Pro­fes­sor at UCSF, is a lead­ing pio­neer in brain plas­tic­ity research. In the late 1980s, Dr. Merzenich was on the team that invented the cochlear implant. In 1996, he was the found­ing CEO of Sci­en­tific Learn­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (Nas­daq: SCIL), and in 2004 became co-founder and Chief Sci­en­tific Offi­cer of Posit Sci­ence. He was elected to the National Acad­emy of Sci­ences in 1999 and to the Insti­tute of Med­i­cine this year. He retired as Fran­cis A. Sooy Pro­fes­sor and Co-Director of the Keck Cen­ter for Inte­gra­tive Neu­ro­science at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at San Fran­cisco in 2007. You may have learned about his work in one of PBS TV spe­cials, mul­ti­ple media appear­ances, or neuroplasticity-related books.

(Alvaro Fer­nan­dez) Dear Michael, thank you very much for agree­ing to par­tic­i­pate in the inau­gural Sharp­Brains Sum­mit in Jan­u­ary, and for your time today. sharpbrains_summit_logo_webIn order to con­tex­tu­al­ize the Summit’s main themes, I would like to focus this inter­view on the likely big-picture impli­ca­tions dur­ing the next 5 years of your work and that of other neu­ro­plas­tic­ity research and indus­try pioneers.

Thank you for invit­ing me. I believe the Sharp­Brains Sum­mit will be very use­ful and stim­u­lat­ing, you are gath­er­ing an impres­sive group together. I am look­ing for­ward to January.

Neuroplasticity-based Tools: The New Health & Well­ness Frontier

There are many dif­fer­ent technology-free approaches to har­ness­ing –enabling, dri­ving– neu­ro­plas­tic­ity. What is the unique value that tech­nol­ogy brings to the cog­ni­tive health table?

It’s all about effi­ciency, scal­a­bil­ity, per­son­al­iza­tion, and assured effec­tive­ness. Tech­nol­ogy sup­ports the imple­men­ta­tion of near-optimally-efficient brain-training strate­gies. Through the Inter­net, it enables the low-cost dis­tri­b­u­tion of these new tools, any­where out in the world. Tech­nol­ogy also enables the per­son­al­iza­tion of brain health train­ing, by pro­vid­ing sim­ple ways to mea­sure and address indi­vid­ual needs in each person’s brain-health train­ing expe­ri­ence. It enables assess­ments of your abil­i­ties that can affirm that your own brain health issues have been effec­tively addressed.

Of course sub­stan­tial gains could also be achieved by orga­niz­ing your every­day activ­i­ties that grow your neu­ro­log­i­cal abil­i­ties and sus­tain your brain health. Still, if the ordi­nary cit­i­zen is to have any real chance of main­tain­ing their brain fit­ness, they’re going to have to spend con­sid­er­able time at the brain gym!

One espe­cially impor­tant con­tri­bu­tion of tech­nol­ogy is the scal­a­bil­ity that it pro­vides for deliv­er­ing brain fit­ness help out into the world. Think about how effi­cient the drug deliv­ery sys­tem is today. Doc­tors pre­scribe drugs, insur­ance cov­ers them, and there is a drug store in every neigh­bor­hood in almost every city in the world so that every patient has access to them. Once neuroplasticity-based tools and out­comes and stan­dard­ized, we can envi­sion a sim­i­lar sce­nario. And we don’t need all those drug stores, because we have the Internet!

Hav­ing said this, there are obvi­ous obsta­cles. One main one, in my mind, is the lack of under­stand­ing of what these new tools can do. Cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­grams, for exam­ple, seem counter-intuitive to con­sumers and many pro­fes­sion­als “ why would one try to improve speed-of-processing if all one cares about is œmem­ory? A sec­ond obvi­ous prob­lem is to get indi­vid­u­als to buy into the effort required to really change their brains for the bet­ter. That buy-in has been achieved for many indi­vid­u­als as it applies to their phys­i­cal health, but we haven’t got­ten that far yet in edu­cat­ing the aver­age older per­son that brain fit­ness train­ing is an equally effort­ful business!

Tools for Safer Dri­ving: Teens and Adults

Safe dri­ving seems to be one area where the ben­e­fits are more intu­itive, which may explain the sig­nif­i­cant traction.

Yes, we see great poten­tial and inter­est among insur­ers for improv­ing dri­ving safety, both for seniors and teens. Appro­pri­ate cog­ni­tive train­ing can lower at-fault acci­dent rates. You can mea­sure clear ben­e­fits in rel­a­tively short time frames, so it won’t take long for insur­ers to see an eco­nomic ratio­nale to not only offer pro­grams at low cost or for free but to incen­tivize dri­vers to com­plete them. All­state, AAA, State Farm and other insur­ers are begin­ning to real­ize this poten­tial. It is impor­tant to note that typ­i­cal acci­dents among teens and seniors are dif­fer­ent, so that train­ing method­olo­gies will need to be dif­fer­ent for dif­fer­ent high-risk populations.

Yet, most dri­ving safety ini­tia­tives today still focus on edu­cat­ing dri­vers, rather that train­ing them neu­ro­log­i­cally. We mea­sure vision, for exam­ple, but com­pletely ignore atten­tional con­trol abil­i­ties, or a driver’s use­ful field of view. I expect this to change sig­nif­i­cantly over the next few years.

Long-term care and health insur­ance com­pa­nies will ulti­mately see sim­i­lar ben­e­fits, and we believe that they will fol­low a sim­i­lar course of action to reduce gen­eral med­ical and neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease– (Mild Cog­ni­tive Impair­ment and Alzheimer’s– and Parkinsons-) related costs. In fact, many senior liv­ing com­mu­ni­ties are among the pio­neers in this field.

Boomers & Beyond: Main­tain­ing Cog­ni­tive Vitality

Main­stream media is cov­er­ing this emerg­ing cat­e­gory with thou­sands of sto­ries. But most cov­er­age seems still focused on does it work? more than “how do we define It”, what does work mean? or work for whom, and for what? Can you sum­ma­rize what recent research suggests?

We have seen clear pat­terns in the appli­ca­tion of our train­ing pro­grams, some pub­lished (like IMPACT), some unpub­lished, some with healthy adults, and some with peo­ple with mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment or early Alzheimers Dis­ease (AD). What we see in every case: 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