Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


DARPA invests in nonsurgical neurotechnologies for eventual use in healthy human subjects


Non­sur­gi­cal Neur­al Inter­faces Could Sig­nif­i­cant­ly Expand Use of Neu­rotech­nol­o­gy (DARPA News):

Over the past two decades, the inter­na­tion­al bio­med­ical research com­mu­ni­ty has demon­strat­ed increas­ing­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed ways to allow a person’s brain to com­mu­ni­cate with a device, allow­ing break­throughs aimed at improv­ing qual­i­ty of life, such as access to com­put­ers and the inter­net, and more recent­ly con­trol of a pros­thet­ic limb.

The state of the art in brain-sys­tem com­mu­ni­ca­tions has employed inva­sive tech­niques that allow pre­cise, high-qual­i­ty con­nec­tions to spe­cif­ic neu­rons or groups of neu­rons. These tech­niques have helped patients with brain injury and oth­er ill­ness­es. How­ev­er, these tech­niques are not appro­pri­ate for able-bod­ied peo­ple. DARPA now seeks to achieve high lev­els of brain-sys­tem com­mu­ni­ca­tions with­out surgery, in its new pro­gram, Next-Gen­er­a­tion Non­sur­gi­cal Neu­rotech­nol­o­gy (N3). Read the rest of this entry »

Reinventing Brain Medicine, Pharma adopts Digital Therapeutics: Evidence-based videogames, smartphone apps, and sensors


From app store to drug store, dig­i­tal health is redefin­ing pharma’s pipeline (STAT):

The pitch­es always sound­ed promis­ing: A new soft­ware app could track glu­cose lev­els for peo­ple with dia­betes or soothe the brains of insom­ni­acs. Most phar­ma exec­u­tives would polite­ly smile and nod, but then park their mon­ey some­where else.

Not any­more. Read the rest of this entry »

Consistent use of ADHD medication may stun growth by 2 inches, large study finds


The Mul­ti­modal Treat­ment Study of ADHD (MTA Study) is the largest ADHD treat­ment study ever con­duct­ed — near­ly 600 7–9-year-old chil­dren with ADHD were ran­dom­ly assigned to one of four inter­ven­tions:

1) Care­ful­ly mon­i­tored med­ica­tion treat­ment;

2) Inten­sive behav­ior ther­a­py;

3) Med­ica­tion Treat­ment com­bined with Behav­ior Ther­a­py; or

4) Com­mu­ni­ty Care (par­ents obtained what­ev­er treat­ment they desired).

After 14 months, results indi­cat­ed that Read the rest of this entry »

The ultimate in transfer from brain training to real-world outcomes: Reducing the risk of at-fault accidents by almost 50%


Can you train your brain to dri­ve longer into your gold­en years? (CTV News):

For the elder­ly, the loss of a driver’s licence could mean the end of inde­pen­dence and the begin­ning of a decline in health, with far-reach­ing con­se­quences in their dai­ly lives…New assis­tive dri­ving tech­nolo­gies seem like an obvi­ous solu­tion in the years to come, but buy­ing new vehi­cles can be too expen­sive; while options like going for adult dri­ving lessons can be too great a blow to some seniors’ pride. Now, sci­en­tists claim that there’s anoth­er option avail­able to help old­er dri­vers main­tain their abil­i­ties on the road. Read the rest of this entry »

Mind-wandering may help enhance creativity, job performance and general well-being, studies show


When writ­ing a song or a piece of prose, I often choose to let my mind wan­der, hop­ing the muse will strike. If it does, it not only moves my work along but feels great, too!

That’s why I was trou­bled by stud­ies that found an asso­ci­a­tion between mind-wan­der­ing and prob­lems like unhap­pi­ness and depression—and even a short­er life expectan­cy. This research sug­gests that focus­ing one’s thoughts on the present moment is linked to well-being, while spac­ing out—which I per­son­al­ly love to do—is not.

Now, new stud­ies are bring­ing nuance to this sci­ence. Read the rest of this entry »

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