2011 SharpBrains Summit Meeting Report: Retooling Brain Health for the 21st Century

After months of hard work by six par­tic­i­pants @ 2011 Sharp­Brains Sum­mit, we are hon­ored to pub­lish this Meet­ing Report to help gen­er­ate a broad­er con­ver­sa­tion on what we believe is one of the main oppor­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges of our times: How to Retool Brain Health for the 21st Cen­tu­ry. This Meet­ing Report has been pre­pared by: Alvaro Fer­nan­dez (Sharp­Brains),  Luc P. Beau­doin (Simon Fras­er Uni­ver­si­ty), Muki Hansteen-Izo­ra (Intel Cor­po­ra­tion), Mar­garet E. Mor­ris  (Intel Cor­po­ra­tion), Joshua R. Stein­er­man (ProG­evi­ty Neu­ro­science), Peter J. White­house (Case West­ern Reserve Uni­ver­si­ty), and is ful­ly acces­si­ble Here.

You will find many valu­able rec­om­men­da­tions, such as “repeat­ed, fre­quent, assess­ment (of brain func­tion) over time (i.e., mon­i­tor­ing) with the use of con­sumer-fac­ing tech­nolo­gies is prefer­able to a sin­gle assess­ment”, and deep insights such as “But it was report­ed (that brain train­ing can work) to be pos­si­ble when basic “con­di­tions for trans­fer” are met, such as prop­er iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of deficit in tar­get pop­u­la­tion and suf­fi­cient train­ing “dose” Sev­eral speak­ers con­fessed to be “shocked” by the strength of the neg­a­tive claims made by the “BBC brain train­ing” Nature paper in spite of the “home­o­pathic dos­ing” of the inter­ven­tion.” 


The 2011 Sharp­Brains Vir­tual Sum­mit brought togeth­er more than 260 research, tech­nol­ogy and indus­try inno­va­tors in 17 coun­tries for 3 days to dis­cuss the rapid­ly evolv­ing devel­op­ments in sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy and pol­icy rel­e­vant to brain health across the lifes­pan.  A num­ber of impor­tant themes emerged from the talks and dis­cus­sions, includ­ing poten­tial approach­es to devel­op­ing a rich dig­i­tal toolk­it to mon­i­tor and main­tain cog­ni­tive and emo­tional health, the need for inno­v­a­tive cross-sec­tor part­ner­ships and the urgency of scal­ing up solu­tion to address grow­ing soci­etal needs.  Also dis­cussed were required sci­en­tific frame­works, mar­ket­ing stan­dards, analy­sis of latent con­sumer demands, and meth­ods to dis­sem­i­nate and dis­cuss time­ly infor­ma­tion and analy­sis – such as vir­tual con­fer­ences to bring togeth­er mul­ti­ple stake­hold­ers to enable cross-sec­tor col­lab­o­ra­tion and fos­ter inno­va­tion. Glob­al pri­or­i­ties such as opti­miz­ing cog­ni­tive and emo­tional health across the lifes­pan pro­vide a com­pelling rea­son to inno­vate about the process of inno­va­tion itself, pool­ing the efforts of hun­dreds of pio­neers across the tra­di­tional silos of geog­ra­phy, sec­tor and pro­fes­sion. Vir­tual con­fer­ences can enable  suc­cess­ful dis­trib­uted col­lab­o­ra­tion when they focus on appro­pri­ate use of the dig­i­tal medi­um, deliv­er a clear val­ue propo­si­tion to par­tic­i­pants and pri­or­i­tize ease of tech­ni­cal access.


The major mes­sage from the 2011 Sharp­Brains Sum­mit was the need to devote suf­fi­cient atten­tion and resources to pre­ven­tive and capac­i­ty-build­ing brain health strate­gies across the lifes­pan, and that a new gen­er­a­tion of reli­able and inex­pen­sive assess­ment and mon­i­tor­ing strate­gies of cog­ni­tive and emo­tional health are essen­tial and attain­able com­po­nents of such strate­gies.  Edu­ca­tion, health care, med­ical, insur­ance and neu­rotech­nol­ogy mod­els will need to adapt to bet­ter serve soci­etal needs in this emerg­ing sce­nario. There is a need to reduce the tra­di­tional depen­dence on inva­sive drugs and devices dri­ven by dis­ease-based mod­els. Par­tic­i­pants expressed opti­mism, with which we agree, about the poten­tial of rig­or­ous new research and inno­va­tion and a result­ing mar­ket­place found­ed on con­cepts of cog­ni­tive reserve and neuroplasticity.

To meet grow­ing demands, the process of inno­va­tion process must be accel­er­ated. Vir­tual inter­na­tional con­fer­ences great­ly facil­i­tate knowl­edge shar­ing and net­work­ing in a way that is respon­sive to tight trav­el bud­gets and the rapid advances in tech­nol­ogy and sci­ence.  Vir­tual events can help to crit­i­cally eval­u­ate emerg­ing require­ments, research and prod­ucts. They can pro­mote the devel­op­ment of inter-per­son­al rela­tion­ships that are impor­tant for apply­ing and advanc­ing knowl­edge and tech­nolo­gies beyond tra­di­tion­al silos. The suc­cess of these con­fer­ences is pred­i­cated on their orga­niz­ers under­stand­ing the par­tic­i­pants’ needs, espe­cially that of techni­cal simplicity.

–> To Read the Full Meet­ing Report, includ­ing Intro­duc­tion, Sum­ma­ry of Main Take-Aways, Emerg­ing Themes and Impli­ca­tions, and a Word about the For­mat, click 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.

Top Articles on Brain Health and Neuroplasticity

Top 10 Brain Teasers and Illusions


Subscribe to our e-newsletter

* indicates required

Got the book?