Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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The Future of Cognitive Enhancement and Mental Health: Meet the Experts

Since 2006, as part of the research supporting The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness and SharpBrains’ market reports, we have interviewed dozens of leading-edge scientists and experts. Below are some of our favorite quotes and interviews — you can read the full interview notes by clicking on the links:

Conversations in 2010

“…putting good evidence to work in practice requires more than publishing good research. I’d say that scientific evidence is directly relevant to perhaps 15% of clinical decisions…we require technologies that translate emergent knowledge into prac­tice.” – Dr. John Docherty, Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Medical College, and former Branch Chief at NIMH.
Full Interview Notes.
“We should be thinking about the brain through its whole lifetime…We need to break the silos, to aggregate knowledge, to help advance our knowledge of the brain 50 years in 5 years.” – Patrick Dono­hue, founder of the Sarah Jane Brain Project.
Full Interview Notes.

Conversations in 2009

My dream in all of this is to have standardized and credible tools to train the 5–6 main neurocognitive domains for cogni tive health and performance through life, coupled with the right assessments to identify one’s individ ual needs and mea sure progress” – Dr. Michael Merzenich, Emeritus Professor at UCSF, and pioneer in brain plasticity research.
Full Interview Notes.
“We have an opportunity to make major progress in Brain Health in the XXI century, similar to what happened with Car­diovascular Health in the XX, and technology will play a crucial role.” – Dr. William E. Reich­man, President and CEO of Baycrest.
Full Interview Notes.
Growth only really comes at the point of resis­tance, but that is the moment that we tend to stop. Because it hurts…pushing our limits is a muscle that can be cultivated like any other–incrementally” – Joshua Waitzkin, chess champion and author of The Art of Learning.
Full Interview Notes.
“The correlation between identical twins reared apart gives an overestimate of heritability because the environments of iden tical twins reared apart are often highly similar. But the main contradiction of heritability estimates lies in the fact that adoption produces a huge effect on IQ” -Dr. Richard Nisbett, Professor at University of Michigan and author of Intelligence and How to Get It: Why Schools and Cultures Count.
Full Interview Notes.

For more, please visit our Neuroscience Interview Series.

Invitation to SharpBrains Summit – Technology for Cognitive Health and Performance

We are excited to invite you to the first virtual, global SharpBrains Summit (January 18-20th, 2010). The SharpBrains Summit will feature a sharpbrains_summit_logo_webdream team of over 25 speakers who are leaders in industry and research from 7 countries, to discuss emerging research, tools and best practices for cognitive health and performance. This inaugural event will expose health and insurance providers, developers, innovators at Fortune 500 companies, investors and researchers, to the opportunities, partnerships, trends, and standards of the rapidly evolving cognitive fitness field.

Register Today

Learn more and register Here today, at discounted early-bird rates, to receive these benefits:

  • Learn: Full access to all Conference live sessions, and Downloadable Recordings and Handouts
  • See: latest technologies and products during Expo Day
  • Connect and Discuss: become a member of the SharpBrains Network for Brain Fitness Innovation (members-only LinkedIn Group) through the end of 2010, access online chats during the summit, meet other registrants in your city
  • Understand the Big Picture: access 10 Research Executive Briefs prepared by leading scientists

On top of those early-bird discounts, we offer an additional 15% discount for SharpBrains readers who want Regular Admission. Discount code: sharp2010. You can register Here.

Agenda/ Speakers

Monday, January 18th, 2010:

(Preliminary schedule, US Pacific Time)

8-9.15am. Cognition & Neuroplasticity: The New Healthcare Frontier

  • Alvaro Fernandez, SharpBrains
  • David Whitehouse, OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions
  • William Reichman, Baycrest
  • P Murali Doraiswamy, Duke University

9.30-11am. Tools for Safer Driving: The Opportunity with Teenagers and Adults

  • Steven Aldrich, Posit Science
  • Shlomo Breznitz, CogniFit
  • Jerri Edwards, University of South Florida
  • Peter Christianson, Young Drivers of Canada

Noon-1.30pm. Baby Boomers and Beyond: Maintaining Cognitive Vitality

Save the Date: SharpBrains Summit, Technology for Cognitive Health and Performance

We are very excited to announce the first SharpBrains Summit, a virtual conference to take place January 18-20th, 2010.  Over 30 leading speakers and a professional audience will discuss emerging innovation and technology for lifelong cognitive health and performance. The Summit will highlight the convergence of neurocognitive research, non-invasive technology and healthcare, discuss emerging best practices, and help predict how a growing range of tools may provide solutions to cognitive health and performance-related issues.

sharpbrains_summit_logo_webYou can see speakers and agenda by clicking on SharpBrains Summit. Please register if you are interested in participating: January 18-20th 2010 (Pacific Time).

  • Conference: January 18-19th. 9-10 panels to discuss Market and Research Insights,  together with online discussions.
  • Expo Day: January 20th. Product demos by Sponsors.

Confirmed speakers and themes:

Monday, January 18th, 2010:

Cognition and Neuroplasticity: The New Healthcare Frontier

  • Alvaro Fernandez, CEO, SharpBrains
  • David Whitehouse, Chief Medical Officer, OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions
  • William Reichman, President, Baycrest
  • P Murali Doraiswamy, Biological Psychiatry Division Head, Duke University

Tools for Safer Driving: Teenagers and Older Adults

  • Steven Aldrich, CEO, Posit Science
  • Peter Christianson, President of Young Drivers of Canada
  • Jerri Edwards, Assoc. Professor University of South Florida

Clinical Applications: Researching, Identifying, Treating Cognitive Deficits

  • Keith Wesnes, Practice Leader, United BioSource Corporation
  • Jonas Jendi, CEO, Cogmed
  • Michel Noir, President, Scientific Brain Training
  • Elkhonon Goldberg, Chief Scientific Advisor, SharpBrains

Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Does Cognitive Training Work?

Here you have the February edition of our monthly newsletter covering cognitive health and brain fitness topics. Please remember that you can subscribe to receive this Brain FitnessNewsletter by email, simply by submitting your email at the top of this page.

Cognitive training (or structured mental exercise) definitely seems to work – as long as we define properly what “work” means, don’t expect magic cures, and help navigate options. Please keep reading…

Interview: Baycrest

Interview with Baycrest’s CEO Dr. William Reichman: Discussing the recent Centre for Brain Fitness at Baycrest, Dr. Reichman suggests that “we have an opportunity to make major progress in Brain Health in the XXI century, similar to what happened with Cardiovascular Health in the XXth, and technology will play a crucial role.” A major obstacle? We need a consensus on “widely accepted standards for outcome measures”.

Does It Work?

Does cognitive training work? (For Whom? For What?): The growing field of cognitive training (one of the tools for brain fitness) can appear very confusing as the media keeps reporting contradictory claims. These claims are often based on press releases, without a deeper understanding of the scientific evidence. Dr. Pascale Michelon, SharpBrains’ Research Manager for Educational Initiatives, analyzes a couple of recent studies, clarifying what they mean – and what they don’t mean.

It Works, and It Doesn’t Work: the IMPACT study (a major, multi-site study on the Posit Science auditory program) will be published at the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in April. Results support that cognitive training works – but doesn’t support the grandiose “brain age” claims we see too often.

Cognitive Training can Influence Brain Biochemistry: Dr. David Rabiner discusses a recent scientific study that “shows that brain biochemistry can be modified by experience”, and that computerized cognitive training (Cogmed working memory training) can provide that experience.

The Big Picture

Making Healthy Choices – Primare Care and Prevention: a panel at the recent World Economic Forum explored why “New markets and industries are arising silver industries such as financial services, health, housing and hospitality geared to senior citizens. Longevity needs to be linked to health including cognitive health and lifestyle choices play a major role in health.”

Enrich your environment now and benefit your future offspring: Dr. Robert Sylwester reports that “all sorts of long held-beliefs about our brain and cognition are being re- examined by cognitive neuroscientists” because of fascinating studies such as the one he reviews (with mice): “The study’s findings seemed to suggest that acquired characteristics can be genetically transmitted…long-term benefits accrue from a stimulating early environment that encourages curiosity and exploration.”

Managing Emotions

From Distress to De-Stress: helping anxious, worried kids: In a detailed 2-part article, (Part 1, Part 2), Dr. Jerome Schultz provides great tips on how to help children learn to self-regulate emotions, adding that “Teachers, occupational therapists, physical education teachers and parents need to actually teach children (of all ages) how to get themselves into a physical state of being relaxed. This doesn’t happen automatically. If it did, there wouldn’t be so many adult yoga classes!”

Lie to Me, Paul Ekman and Biofeedback: You may have watched the new series Lie To Me, with Tim Roth, based on the work of Paul Ekman. The introduction to the second episode shows why what are called “lie detectors” are nothing but biofeedback systems that measure physiological anxiety.

News

Brain Games for Baby Boomers: round-up of other recent news, covering the effects of gaming, cognitive training for driving skills, and brain fitness classes.

Neurocognitive assessments and sports concussions: a new study and a new resource to understand and address the 1.6 to 3.8 million cases of sports-related concussions that occur annually in the United States.

Brain Teaser

How will you, your organization, your neighbors, participate in Brain Awareness Week, March 16th-22nd, organized by the Dana Foundation with the participation of thousands of outreach partners, including SharpBrains? You can find event ideas, excellent resources (yes, including puzzles), and a calendar of events, Here.

Have a great month of March!

Centre for Brain Fitness at Baycrest: Interview with Dr. William Reichman

In April 2008, Baycrest, a leading research institute focused on aging and brain function, received $10-million from the Ontario Government to create a groundbreaking Centre for Brain Fitness. Its stated goal was to “develop and commercialize a range of products designed to improve the brain health of aging Ontarians and others around the world”.

“Our government is proud to support Baycrest and its invaluable work, which is already leading to the discovery of important new tools and approaches to treating brain diseases associated with aging,” said Minister of Research and Innovation, John Wilkinson.

We have Baycrest’s CEO with us today, to explore why Ontario and Baycrest chose to Bill Reichman Baycrestbecome pioneers in this area, and discuss some of the main opportunities, and challenges. Dr. William E. Reichman is President and CEO of Baycrest. Dr. Reichman, an internationally-known expert in geriatric mental health and dementia, is also Professor of Psychiatry on the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Alvaro Fernandez: Bill, thank you for your time. Let me start by asking, given that you just spoke at the recent Consumer Electronic Show, what do you make of the growing brain fitness field?

Bill Reichman: it looks like a classic example of a very promising but still early stage field – a lot of opportunity and enthusiasm, but also a lot of product claims that are not backed by solid research. Think about the physical fitness analogy: even today, after decades of progress, you still see people buying research-based products such as treadmills but also all types of random machines they see on TV and have not been subject to any validation. Similarly, consumers today do not know what to make of growing brain fitness claims. As another speaker pointed out, for the industry to fulfill its promise, it will need to be careful with research and claims, not to end up like the nutraceuticals category.

By the way, let me recognize that the work you are doing with SharpBrains reports and your website is very important to offer quality information.

Thank you. Let’s step back for a moment. Taking a, say, 10 years view, what is the main opportunity that technology-based brain fitness can offer to society?

First of all, let me say that I think we have an opportunity to make major progress in Brain Health in the XXI century, similar to what happened with Cardiovascular Health in the XX, and technology will play a crucial role.

Given the rapid advances we are witnessing today in the research and technology arenas, I feel confident in saying that in less than 10 years we will have both valid and reliable assessments of cognitive functions, that will be used both by Read the rest of this entry »

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2016 SharpBrains Virtual Summit: Reinventing Brain Health

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