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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Enabling deep, focused transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS): Key neurotechnology patent #34

magnetic stimulation

– Illustrative image from U.S. Patent No. 7,520,848

Today we are sharing a key 2009 patent, assigned to Stanford University, that enables the stimulation of deeper structures of the brain without overwhelming superficial structures that are not the focus of treatment. (As mentioned, we are featuring a foundational Pervasive Neurotech patent a day, from older to newer by issue date)

U.S. Patent No. 7,520,848: Robotic apparatus for targeting and producing deep, focused transcranial magnetic stimulation

  • Assignee(s): Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University
  • Inventor(s): M. Bret Schneider, David J. Mishelevich
  • Technology Category: Transcranial Stimulation
  • Issue Date: April 21, 2009

SharpBrains’ Take:

The ‘848 patent discloses techniques for stimulating deeper structures of the brain without overwhelming superficial structures that are not the focus of treatment. Read the rest of this entry »

Stanford University ranked #23 Holder of Pervasive Neurotech Intellectual Property*

Stanford University LogoThe Office of Technology Licensing is responsible for the management of intellectual property assets at Stanford University, where neuroscience researchers have produced multiple pervasive neurotech patents that pertain mostly to cognitive state monitoring and transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Read the rest of this entry »

Upcoming market report on Pervasive Neurotechnology

market reportJust a quick heads-up to the SharpBrains community: we are wrapping up a comprehensive market report on Pervasive Neurotechnologies (non-invasive, scalable, potentially ubiquitous). To learn when it becomes available, keep tuned via our e-Newsletter.

See below, in alphabetical order, a few of the organizations to be profiled in the report, given their relevant intellectual property portfolios (primarily patents). Read the rest of this entry »

127 scientists challenge the purported brain training “consensus” released by the Stanford Center for Longevity

Open-Letter

Scientists to Stanford: Research Shows Brain Exercises Can Work (Press release):

“A group of 127 scientists sent an “open letter” to the Stanford Center for Longevity, today, in reaction to a recent statement by the center that was highly critical of the emerging science of brain training and derogated the efficacy of all brain exercises…The letter is signed by 127 doctors and scientists, many of whom are luminaries in the field of neuroplasticity – the discipline that examines the brain’s ability to change. Signatories include members of the National Academy of Sciences, members of the Institute of Medicine, Read the rest of this entry »

Preparing Society for the Cognitive Age (Frontiers in Neuroscience article)

Frontiers in Neuroscience Augmenting Cognition(Editor’s note: this article belongs to the excellent May 2009 special issue on Augmenting Cognition at scientific journal Frontiers in Neuroscience. The article, an industry overview, is reproduced here with authorization by the Frontiers Research Foundation)

Preparing Society for the Cognitive Age

By Alvaro Fernandez

Groundbreaking cognitive neuroscience research has occurred over the last 20 years – without parallel growth of consumer awareness and appropriate professional dissemination. “Cognition” remains an elusive concept with unclear implications outside the research community.

Earlier this year, I presented a talk to health care professionals at the New York Academy of Medicine, titled “Brain Fitness Software: Helping Consumers Separate Hope from Hype”. I explained what computerized cognitive assessment and training tools can do (assess/enhance specific cognitive functions), what they cannot do (reduce one’s “brain age”) and the current uncertainties about what they can do (i.e., delay Alzheimer’s symptoms). At the same symposium, Dr. Gary Kennedy, Director of Geriatric Psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center, provided guidance on why and how to screen for executive function deficits in the context of dementia.

I could perceive two emerging trends at the event: 1) “Augmenting Cognition” research is most commonly framed as a healthcare, often pharmacological topic, with the traditional cognitive bias in medicine of focusing on detection and treatment of disease, 2) In addition, there is a growing interest in non-invasive enhancement options and overall lifestyle issues. Research findings in Augmenting Cognition are only just beginning to reach the mainstream marketplace, mostly through healthcare channels. The opportunity is immense, but we will need to ensure the marketplace matures in a rational and sustainable manner, both through healthcare and non-healthcare channels.

In January 2009, we polled the 21,000 subscribers of SharpBrains’ market research eNewsletter to identify attitudes and behaviors towards the “brain fitness” field (a term we chose in 2006 based on a number of consumer surveys and focus groups to connect with a wider audience). Over 2,000 decision-makers and early adopters responded to the survey.

One of the key questions we asked was, “What is the most important problem you see in the brain fitness field and how do you think it can be solved?”. Some examples of the survey free text answers are quoted here, together with my suggestions.

Most important problems in the brain fitness field

Public awareness (39%): “To get people to understand that heredity alone does not decide brain functioning”. We need to ramp up efforts to build public awareness and enthusiasm about brain research, including establishing clear links to daily living. We can collaborate with initiatives such as the Dana Foundation’s Brain Awareness Week and use the recent “Neuroscience Core Concepts” materials developed by the Society for Neuroscience to give talks at schools, libraries and workplaces.

Claims (21%): “The lack of standards and clear definitions is very confusing, and Read the rest of this entry »

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