Report: The State of the Brain Fitness/ Training Software Market 2008

After many months of work (and we hope many new neu­rons and stronger synaps­es in our brains), we have just released our inau­gur­al report on the emerg­ing Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket, Brain Fitness Software the first to define the brain fit­ness and train­ing soft­ware mar­ket and ana­lyze the size and trends of its four cus­tomer seg­ments. We esti­mate the size of the US brain fit­ness soft­ware mar­ket at $225M in2007, up from $100m in 2005 (50% CAGR). The two seg­ments that fueled the mar­ket growth: con­sumers (grew from $5m to $80m, 300% CAGR) and health­care & insur­ance providers (grew from $36m to $65m, 35% CAGR).

High­lights from The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2008 report include:

1) 2007 was a sem­i­nal year for the US Brain Fit­ness soft­ware mar­ket, which reached $225 mil­lion in rev­enues – up from an esti­mat­ed $100 mil­lion in 2005.

2) Over 20 com­pa­nies are offer­ing tools to assess and train cog­ni­tive skills to four cus­tomer seg­ments: con­sumers; health­care and insur­ance providers; K12 school sys­tems; and For­tune 1000 com­pa­nies, the mil­i­tary, and sports teams.

3) The Nin­ten­do Brain Age/ Brain Train­ing phe­nom­e­non has dri­ven much of the growth. The con­sumer seg­ment grew from a few mil­lion in 2005 to an esti­mat­ed $80 mil­lion in 2007.

4) There is major con­fu­sion in the mar­ket, so edu­ca­tion will be key. Users and buy­ers need help to nav­i­gate the maze of prod­ucts and claims.

5) Over 400 res­i­den­tial facil­i­ties for old­er adults have launched com­put­er­ized “brain fit­ness centers.” Sales to the health­care and insur­ance provider seg­ment grew from $35 mil­lion in 2005 to an esti­mat­ed $65 mil­lion in 2007.

6) More than five pro­grams have shown results in ran­dom­ized con­trolled tri­als. Cog­ni­tive func­tions that can be trained include: visu­al and audi­to­ry pro­cess­ing, work­ing mem­o­ry, atten­tion, and decision-making.

7) A prod­uct has obtained 510(k) FDA clear­ance for reha­bil­i­ta­tion of stroke and Trau­mat­ic Brain Injury patients. Anoth­er prod­uct is being used by a grow­ing net­work of ADHD specialists.

8) Large-scale, ful­ly-auto­mat­ed cog­ni­tive assess­ments are being used in a grow­ing num­ber of clin­i­cal tri­als. This opens the way for the devel­op­ment of inex­pen­sive con­sumer-fac­ing, base­line cog­ni­tive assessments.

9) The poten­tial for K12 Edu­ca­tion remains large­ly untapped due to lim­it­ed research link­ing cog­ni­tive train­ing to aca­d­e­m­ic performance.

10) Com­pa­nies, sports teams and the mil­i­tary are find­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to improve pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. The aging work­force will make this a must.

The report tracks devel­op­ments at over 20 pub­lic and pri­vate com­pa­nies offer­ing tools to assess and train brain func­tions and pro­vides impor­tant indus­try data, insights and analy­sis to help investors, exec­u­tives, entre­pre­neurs, and pol­i­cy mak­ers nav­i­gate the oppor­tu­ni­ties and risks of this rapid­ly grow­ing mar­ket. The report dis­cuss­es the impli­ca­tions of cog­ni­tive sci­ence on healthy aging and a num­ber of dis­or­ders such as atten­tion deficits, dyslex­ia, stroke and trau­mat­ic brain injury, schiz­o­phre­nia, autism, mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment, and Alzheimer’s dis­ease. The report also pro­vides infor­ma­tion and frame­works to help insti­tu­tion­al buy­ers make informed pur­chase deci­sions about brain fit­ness programs.

Table of Contents
List of Figures
Com­pa­nies Included
End Notes

A few acco­lades for the report:

Final­ly, an insight­ful and com­plete overview of the sci­ence, com­pa­nies and trends in the brain fit­ness field. A must-read for every­one offer­ing prod­ucts and ser­vices to boomers and elders.”
— Glo­ria Cavanaugh, for­mer Pres­i­dent & CEO of the Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging and found­ing Board mem­ber of the Nation­al Alliance for Caregiving.

This ground­break­ing report pro­vides a defin­i­tive overview of the emerg­ing brain train­ing mar­ket — an impor­tant cat­e­go­ry to watch for every gam­ing and health­care exec­u­tive and investor. Sharp­Brains’ com­pre­hen­sive report defines a clear scope for the mar­ket and also charts its evo­lu­tion, path and key trends.”
— Tim Chang, Prin­ci­pal at Nor­west Ven­ture Partners.

Brain health and func­tion is becom­ing a top pri­or­i­ty in our soci­ety. This is as true for school chil­dren as it is for cor­po­rate exec­u­tives or aging baby-boomers. It is a typ­i­cal mis­con­cep­tion about the brain that there is only one gen­er­al intel­li­gence to care about. It has been shown that there are many dif­fer­ent cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties each of which may be trained sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly. While phys­i­cal exer­cise increas­es the rate of for­ma­tion of new nerve cells, men­tal exer­cise pro­motes their sur­vival. It is in this con­text that an explo­sion of new “brain-train­ing” soft­ware modal­i­ties have been developed.
The 2008 State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket report is a time­ly analy­sis of the sta­tus of this new and emerg­ing mar­ket. Pre­lim­i­nary results from sci­en­tif­ic inves­ti­ga­tions eval­u­at­ing sev­er­al of the pro­grams sug­gest not only short-term improve­ment in the trained skills, but a more long last­ing and extend­ed response span­ning relat­ed men­tal func­tions. The review clear­ly states that the impact of men­tal train­ing on brain aging and dement­ing dis­or­ders remains unknown, but it pro­files each approach regard­ing degree of sci­en­tif­ic scruti­ny, mar­ket seg­ment, modal­i­ty, and spe­cif­ic para­me­ter being trained. Health­care and psy­chol­o­gy pro­fes­sion­als will ben­e­fit immense­ly from this state of the art, com­pre­hen­sive overview and insight­ful analysis.”
- Lar­ry McCleary, M. D., for­mer act­ing Chief of Pedi­atric Neu­ro­surgery at Den­ver Chil­dren’s Hospital.

The report is avail­able either in elec­tron­ic for­mat or hard­copy, both priced at $495. To learn more, and pur­chase, click Here. We are offer­ing a 10% dis­count to our blog read­ers in hon­or of Brain Aware­ness Week (Dis­count Code “BAW2008”), valid until March 20th.

Relat­ed information:

- We first announced this report in this MIT/ ASA/ Smart­Sil­vers Panel

- The video of the entire 1.5 hour pan­el is avail­able in Google Video.

- This post fea­tured the main high­lights of the event.


  1. George Rawalt on March 13, 2008 at 1:12

    As an inde­pen­dant and solo prac­tic­ing clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist I could very much use the report infor­ma­tion, but the price is pro­hib­i­tive. Is there any alter­na­tive way for me to get the information?

  2. Alvaro on March 13, 2008 at 1:25

    Hel­lo George, com­pa­ra­ble reports in oth­er indus­tries usu­al­ly run at prices over $1,000…so we have tried to make it as afford­able as possible. 

    What we are doing is approach­ing asso­ci­a­tions and com­pa­nies who may want to buy large quan­ti­ties, at large dis­count, for their mem­bers or employ­ees. May I sug­gest that you con­tact any asso­ci­a­tion or oth­er group you are part of, and encour­age them to con­tact us. Thank you

  3. Terral Lawrence on March 17, 2008 at 5:38

    Termed a ‘Report,’ but isn’t it real­ly a mar­ket­ing plan for yourselves?

  4. Kent Stewart on March 17, 2008 at 1:56

    You stat­ed that “More than five pro­grams have shown results in ran­dom­ized con­trolled tri­als. Cog­ni­tive func­tions that can be trained include: visu­al and audi­to­ry pro­cess­ing, work­ing mem­o­ry, atten­tion, and deci­sion-mak­ing”. I am work­ing with a very low bud­get non-prof­it group on brain fit­ness. What were the prod­ucts that have shown results in ran­dom­ized con­trolled trials?

  5. Alvaro on March 17, 2008 at 2:08

    Ter­ral: the only way I can under­stand your com­ment is if you think we are devel­op­ing the pro­grams ourselves…which we aren’t. We have no affil­i­a­tion what­so­ev­er with the com­pa­nies we cov­er, and they are the ones devel­op­ing pro­grams. We pro­vide intel­li­gence, either via con­sult­ing or reports like this, to help com­pa­nies and investors who want to under­stand this field. And the val­ue we pro­vide is the qual­i­ty of the infor­ma­tion includ­ed, so we would be shoot­ing our­selves in the floor if the con­tent was not valu­able. In every new mar­ket there are ana­lysts who cov­er it and edu­cate on it, and that’s our role.

    Kent: please con­tact us with more infor­ma­tion on who you are and what you are doing. Giv­ing you 5 names is not going to be that help­ful in any case. More impor­tant than whether a pro­gram has shown effects in a tri­al is to go deep into what exact­ly is it that the pro­gram trains and the tri­al showed.

    Final­ly: my wife and I just had a baby…and the rest of the team is very busy…so our apolo­gies for some slow days in blog­ging and answer­ing comments.

  6. Wally Bock on March 19, 2008 at 3:38

    This post was select­ed for the Car­ni­val of Human Resources

  7. Parris Kidd, PhD on March 21, 2008 at 2:48

    How can I get this report?
    Thanks for your help!

  8. Alvaro on March 21, 2008 at 6:32

    Hel­lo Par­ris, the link to learn more and pur­chase it is

  9. Adva on March 24, 2008 at 5:01

    A prod­uct has obtained 510(k) FDA clear­ance for.… Anoth­er prod­uct is being used by a grow­ing net­work of ADHD specialists”.

    I’m look­ing for the ADHD prod­uct which men­tion above.Thanks for your help, Adva

  10. Alvaro on March 24, 2008 at 9:47

    Adva: it’s Cogmed. An inter­view with the sci­en­tist behind is here

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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