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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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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