Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Four reasons the future of brain health is digital, pervasive and bright

Hundreds of companies and science labs around the globe are researching the inner workings of the human brain and mind, and developing new ways to help brain owners be smarter, sharper, and healthier for longer.

What explains this flurry of activity? Read the rest of this entry »

Study debunks 4 common myths about brain training and lifelong cognitive enhancement

If the media is your main source of information about brain training and cognitive enhancement, you will probably believe the following:

1) All brain training is the same…

2) …and it simply doesn’t work.

3) Commercial brain training programs, especially, don’t work.

4) How could they work? Genetics is destiny, aging is a predetermined process…so by age 60 or 70 or 80, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

If you tracked and analyzed the scientific literature around cognitive training, cognitive therapies, biofeedback, meditation, brain reserve and neuroplasticity in general, you’d know those 4 beliefs are wrong. They are myths that prevent a more nuanced conversation about brain-enhancing lifestyles and about the emerging brain training and neurotechnology toolkit.

Good news is, a just-published study should help debunk those myths–especially with regards to computerized cognitive training–and provide a better Read the rest of this entry »

Witnessing an explosion of consumer-facing neurotechnologies to (potentially) harness lifelong neuroplasticity

Last week I shared some key scientific, technological and investment trends revolutionizing Brain Health, based on my participation at the 2016 SharpBrains Virtual Summit, and promised a second article more focused on the technology side of things.

Here it is 🙂

Just a few weeks after the SharpBrains Summit I also attended CES 2017. While I enjoyed the myriad emerging technologies –autonomous vehicles, robotics, drones, augmented and virtual reality headsets, voice activated everything– I was mostly struck by a firm named Halo Neuroscience. They have a fascinating wearable product, Halo Sport, claiming to accelerate gains in strength, explosiveness, endurance, and muscle memory, improving the brain’s response to athletic training. It uses tDCS (transcranial direct current stimulation), essentially priming movement-related circuits of the brain to become more receptive to stimuli, helping the brain wire in the practice for improved future response.

The cutting edge of applied neuroplasticity

Both conferences allowed me to see the cutting edge of Read the rest of this entry »

Ten Important Signals to help reinvent Brain Health in the Digital Age & serve the needs of an Aging Population

brain-health-reimagined—–

Dear sharp reader,

It’s been a busy year.

To summarize where we are, and to better prepare for the opportunities and challenges in the year ahead, let’s step back for a minute.

Let’s take a look at the big picture presented in the article Both Important and Urgent: Getting ready to serve the Cognitive & Brain Health needs of an Aging Population by an esteemed participant in the 2016 SharpBrains Virtual Summit held earlier this month:

The urgency to develop innovative new technologies that will support brain health is closely linked to the fact that a growing proportion of the global population is living longer than at any other time in history. As this population ages, the need to maintain brain health and/or manage declining cognitive function will have far-reaching impact both socially and economically.” — David Stoller @ CC-ABHI.

Good news is, scientists, technologists and entrepreneurs are working hard on this worldwide, as evidenced by the wealth of insights and initiatives discussed by 200+ participants in 15 countries during the 2016 SharpBrains Virtual Summit (December 6-8th).

The list of insights and initiatives coming from the 3-day event is too long to detail (I encourage you to access the slidedecks and recordings here); let me just highlight Ten Important Signals to help Reinvent Brain Health in the Digital Age we live in:

  1. “Our health starts and ends with brain health,” as Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, Founder and Chief Director of the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas, reminded us.
  2. “There is too little wisdom in brain health (as practiced today),” cautioned Dr. Peter Whitehouse, Professor of Neurology at Case Western Reserve University.
  3. The American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (AACN) announced a new Disruptive Technology Initiative focused on “assessment and/or intervention-prevention-improvement of cognitive functions, accessible to the entire population.”
  4. Both the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CC-ABHI) shared substantial funding programs to help start-ups access seed capital to develop and commercialize evidence-based digital brain health platforms.
  5. Venture investors see a burgeoning landscape and future of the mind training space.
  6. Many pioneers are working on ways to harness neuroplasticity for good, via cognitive assessments and therapies (BrainHQ, CogniFit, Akili, Click Therapeutics, Cogniciti, SBT Group) mindfulness apps (Claritas Mindsciences), EEG (Emotiv) and virtual reality (MindMaze).
  7. A growing number of pharma companies, from Merck to Janssen, are investing in digital therapeutics by developing tools, licensing them, even investing in start-ups in the space.
  8. “Clinically-guided” video capture of behavior can aid in diagnosis…behavior imaging, augmented by deep learning, will lead to real precision medicine, thanks to firms like Behavior Imaging SolutionsMyndYouPear Therapeutics, and more.
  9. Old and new players in educationPearson, ETS, UC Berkeley, the Arrowsmith School— are developing digital and in-person programs to promote lifelong brain development.
  10. The Coaches and Psychologists of the Future–exemplified by the Institute of Coaching, The Synapse System, the new Watson Centre for Brain Health–are already augmenting their practices with latest brain & cognition findings and digital neurotechnologies.

As you can see, a lot is happening. And a lot more will happen in 2017.

I’d like to thank all Summit Speakers and Sponsors–we couldn’t do it without you– and also every sharp reader for your continued attention and support.

On behalf of the SharpBrains team and community, Happy Holidays and Prosperous New Year!

 

PS1: If you are still looking for gifts…please consider giving a copy of The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: How to Optimize Brain Health and Performance, recommended by many during the Summit as a crucial book to help educate professionals and the wider public.

PS2: You can access all Summit slidedecks and recordings here (slidedecks are free; recordings require registration, and we highly recommend them for people with a professional interest in the area)

The latest from Bridge Builders Collaborative, the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology and the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation

During Expo Day selected Summit Partners and Sponsors showcased their latest initiatives and solutions.

  • Charlie Hartwell, Operating Partner at The Bridge Builders Collaborative, presented an Overview of the Mind Training Space.
  • Dr. Bob Bilder, Chief of Medical Psychology & Neuropsychology at UCLA, announced the Disruptive Technology Initiative by the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (AACN).
  • Ron Riesenbach, Managing Director of the Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CC-ABHI), discussed Spark and three other new funding programs.

These presentations took place at the 2016 SharpBrains Virtual Summit: Reinventing Brain Health in the Digital Age (December 6-8th, 2016).

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking applied brain science. Explore our most popular resources HERE.

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

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