Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Mobile Brain Training, Scientific Learning, and More News

Some recent brain train­ing and health news: Monkey memory

1) A Promis­ing Debut for Com­put­er­ized Ther­a­pies

2) Fit­ness pro­tects brain in Alzheimer’s patients

3) Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram Clas­sic comes to Mac

4) Posit Sci­ence gains own­er­ship of Sci­en­tif­ic Learn­ing (NSDQ: SCIL) Brain­Con­nec­tion.

5) Brain train­ing on your mobile

6) You must remem­ber this: how the mind works

Here you have the links and my com­men­tary for these news:

1) A Promis­ing Debut for Com­put­er­ized Ther­a­pies

- “Against this dif­fi­cult back­ground, researchers at Yale report a par­a­digm-shift­ing approach that clos­es the gap to cost-effec­tive real-world deliv­ery of an effec­tive cog­ni­tive-behav­ioral therapy(CBT) pro­gram for sub­stance depen­dence. Clev­er­ly called com­put­er-based train­ing for cog­ni­tive-behav­ioral ther­a­py (CBT4CBT),this infor­ma­tion age web-based pro­gram pen­e­trates pre­vi­ous­ly impreg­nable bar­ri­ers to care deliv­ery.”

Com­ment: fas­ci­nat­ing recent clin­i­cal tri­al on the ben­e­fits of com­put­er-based cog­ni­tive inter­ven­tions, pre­sent­ed with a very insight­ful edi­to­r­i­al on how these emerg­ing tools can com­ple­ment exist­ing, face-to-face, approach­es.

2) Fit­ness pro­tects brain in Alzheimer’s patients

- “Peo­ple in the ear­ly stages of Alzheimer’s dis­ease who are more phys­i­cal­ly fit had less shrink­age in areas of the brain that are impor­tant for mem­o­ry, researchers said on Sun­day.”

- “Fit­ness and exer­cise have been shown to slow age-relat­ed changes in the brain in healthy peo­ple. The lat­est find­ing sug­gests peo­ple with ear­ly Alzheimer’s dis­ease may still ben­e­fit.”

Com­ment: anoth­er study show­ing why, no mat­ter our age or cog­ni­tive health, lead­ing a seden­tary life is bad for our brains.

3) Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram Clas­sic comes to Mac

- “Posit Sci­ence has announced the release of Brain Fit­ness Pro­gram Clas­sic for the Mac. It costs $395. Sys­tem require­ments call for Mac OS X 10.3.9 or lat­er, 1GB hard disk space”

Com­ment: Mac users have now have access to this audi­to­ry pro­cess­ing train­ing pro­gram. Giv­en the medi­an age of par­tic­i­pants in the one pub­lished study that mea­sured the ben­e­fits of this pro­gram (close to 70 years), I am not sure many Mac users will jump on it, but it cer­tain­ly helps bridge the PC-Mac divide (to our knowl­edge this is the first sci­ence-based pro­gram offered for Macs).

4) Posit Sci­ence gains own­er­ship of Sci­en­tif­ic Learn­ing (NSDQ: SCIL) Brain­Con­nec­tion.

Com­ment: we just received an email mes­sage say­ing so. It will be inter­est­ing to learn what price Posit Sci­ence had paid for this online prop­er­ty, one of the best mar­ket­ing and strate­gic assets Sci­en­tif­ic Learn­ing (NSDQ: SCIL, devel­op­er of Fast For­Word) had devel­oped over the years, and the ratio­nale for hav­ing a poten­tial com­peti­tor acquire it.

5) Brain train­ing on your mobile

- “Stu­dents with mobile phones appear to have been sharp­en­ing their minds out­side their stud­ies after it was revealed that the most pop­u­lar game down­loaded onto mobile phones is ‘Brain Coach with Dr Kawashima’, accord­ing to the game’s cre­ator Nam­co Bandai.”
— Masajo Okubo, man­ag­ing direc­tor at Naco Bandai, said: “With Dr. Kawashima’s offi­cial approval, we are very proud to take this pop­u­lar genre to the next lev­el. Play­ers are now pre­sent­ed a new and sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly proven series of fun brain train­ing chal­lenges that actu­al­ly help acti­vate dif­fer­ent parts of the brain.”

Com­ment: to talk about “mobile brain train­ing” today is either an exer­cise in banal­i­ty (basi­cal­ly, every sin­gle thing we do, every sin­gle thought we have, changes some­how the struc­ture of our brains, so any­thing can be con­sid­ered to be “brain train­ing”) or mis­lead­ing, giv­en the dearth of spe­cif­ic research. Through­out the research under­tak­en to pre­pare our Mar­ket Report cov­er­ing the whole brain fit­ness soft­ware cat­e­go­ry, includ­ing mobile appli­ca­tions, we didn’t come across a sin­gle mobile prod­uct with qual­i­ty pub­lished evi­dence on how it can enhance cog­ni­tive func­tions. We can call them “games”, but not “brain train­ing” or “brain fit­ness”, or say, as in the quote above, that they are “sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly proven”. In fact, we gave Nin­ten­do Brain Age a score of 1 out of 10 in clin­i­cal val­i­da­tion… and we do con­sid­er it more promis­ing than the many oth­er “game” copy­cats. Mobile plat­forms will be very impor­tant in the brain fit­ness mar­ket, but the medi­um will prob­a­bly show val­ue first for cog­ni­tive assess­ments, more than for real “brain train­ing”. Med­i­ta­tion, cog­ni­tive ther­a­py and com­put­er-based cog­ni­tive train­ing are, today, the only “brain train­ing” medi­ums with emerg­ing research show­ing cog­ni­tive val­ue.

6) You must remem­ber this: how the mind works

- “Ama­zon is full of brain work­outs. Last year, British sci­en­tist Baroness Susan Green­field launched a PC-based pro­gram of exer­cis­es — Mind­Fit — whose online ‘per­son­al coach’ eval­u­ates your results and adjusts tasks depend­ing on how bad­ly you’ve done. It says it can boost mem­o­ry recall by 14 per cent. I don’t know about that, but I did get notice­ably bet­ter at pre­dict­ing the course of a hot-air bal­loon sail­ing from one cloud to anoth­er.”

- “Our appetite for bet­ter brains is an obses­sion reflect­ed in the world­wide expan­sion over the past decade of neu­ro­science stud­ies. These come on the heels of neu­roimag­ing tech­niques that have brought togeth­er the dis­ci­plines of psy­chol­o­gy (mind) and neu­ro­bi­ol­o­gy (mat­ter) to pro­duce a new breed of ‘cog­ni­tive’ neu­ro­sci­en­tist who looks at behav­iour in the con­text of wiring and chem­i­cals”

Com­ment: fun and inter­est­ing arti­cle on what is going on in the UK mar­ket.

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