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Ten Important Signals to help reinvent Brain Health in the Digital Age & serve the needs of an Aging Population

brain-health-reimagined—–

Dear sharp read­er,

It’s been a busy year.

To sum­ma­rize where we are, and to bet­ter pre­pare for the oppor­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges in the year ahead, let’s step back for a minute.

Let’s take a look at the big pic­ture pre­sent­ed in the arti­cle Both Impor­tant and Urgent: Get­ting ready to serve the Cog­ni­tive & Brain Health needs of an Aging Pop­u­la­tion by an esteemed par­tic­i­pant in the 2016 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit held ear­li­er this month:

The urgency to devel­op inno­v­a­tive new tech­nolo­gies that will sup­port brain health is close­ly linked to the fact that a grow­ing pro­por­tion of the glob­al pop­u­la­tion is liv­ing longer than at any oth­er time in his­to­ry. As this pop­u­la­tion ages, the need to main­tain brain health and/or man­age declin­ing cog­ni­tive func­tion will have far-reach­ing impact both social­ly and eco­nom­i­cal­ly.” — David Stoller @ CC-ABHI.

Good news is, sci­en­tists, tech­nol­o­gists and entre­pre­neurs are work­ing hard on this world­wide, as evi­denced by the wealth of insights and ini­tia­tives dis­cussed by 200+ par­tic­i­pants in 15 coun­tries dur­ing the 2016 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit (Decem­ber 6–8th).

The list of insights and ini­tia­tives com­ing from the 3‑day event is too long to detail (I encour­age you to access the slid­edecks and record­ings here); let me just high­light Ten Impor­tant Sig­nals to help Rein­vent Brain Health in the Dig­i­tal Age we live in:

  1. Our health starts and ends with brain health,” as Dr. San­dra Bond Chap­man, Founder and Chief Direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Brain­Health at The Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas at Dal­las, remind­ed us.
  2. There is too lit­tle wis­dom in brain health (as prac­ticed today),” cau­tioned Dr. Peter White­house, Pro­fes­sor of Neu­rol­o­gy at Case West­ern Reserve Uni­ver­si­ty.
  3. The Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Clin­i­cal Neu­ropsy­chol­o­gy (AACN) announced a new Dis­rup­tive Tech­nol­o­gy Ini­tia­tive focused on “assess­ment and/or inter­ven­tion-pre­ven­tion-improve­ment of cog­ni­tive func­tions, acces­si­ble to the entire pop­u­la­tion.”
  4. Both the Nation­al Insti­tute of Men­tal Health (NIMH) and the Cana­di­an Cen­tre for Aging and Brain Health Inno­va­tion (CC-ABHI) shared sub­stan­tial fund­ing pro­grams to help start-ups access seed cap­i­tal to devel­op and com­mer­cial­ize evi­dence-based dig­i­tal brain health plat­forms.
  5. Ven­ture investors see a bur­geon­ing land­scape and future of the mind train­ing space.
  6. Many pio­neers are work­ing on ways to har­ness neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty for good, via cog­ni­tive assess­ments and ther­a­pies (Brain­HQ, Cog­niFit, Akili, Click Ther­a­peu­tics, Cog­nic­i­ti, SBT Group) mind­ful­ness apps (Clar­i­tas Mind­sciences), EEG (Emo­tiv) and vir­tu­al real­i­ty (Mind­Maze).
  7. A grow­ing num­ber of phar­ma com­pa­nies, from Mer­ck to Janssen, are invest­ing in dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics by devel­op­ing tools, licens­ing them, even invest­ing in start-ups in the space.
  8. Clin­i­cal­ly-guid­ed” video cap­ture of behav­ior can aid in diag­no­sis…behav­ior imag­ing, aug­ment­ed by deep learn­ing, will lead to real pre­ci­sion med­i­cine, thanks to firms like Behav­ior Imag­ing Solu­tionsMyn­dY­ouPear Ther­a­peu­tics, and more.
  9. Old and new play­ers in edu­ca­tionPear­son, ETS, UC Berke­ley, the Arrow­smith School– are devel­op­ing dig­i­tal and in-per­son pro­grams to pro­mote life­long brain devel­op­ment.
  10. The Coach­es and Psy­chol­o­gists of the Future–exem­pli­fied by the Insti­tute of Coach­ing, The Synapse Sys­tem, the new Wat­son Cen­tre for Brain Health–are already aug­ment­ing their prac­tices with lat­est brain & cog­ni­tion find­ings and dig­i­tal neu­rotech­nolo­gies.

As you can see, a lot is hap­pen­ing. And a lot more will hap­pen in 2017.

I’d like to thank all Sum­mit Speak­ers and Spon­sors–we could­n’t do it with­out you– and also every sharp read­er for your con­tin­ued atten­tion and sup­port.

On behalf of the Sharp­Brains team and com­mu­ni­ty, Hap­py Hol­i­days and Pros­per­ous New Year!

 

PS1: If you are still look­ing for gifts…please con­sid­er giv­ing a copy of The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness: How to Opti­mize Brain Health and Per­for­mance, rec­om­mend­ed by many dur­ing the Sum­mit as a cru­cial book to help edu­cate pro­fes­sion­als and the wider pub­lic.

PS2: You can access all Sum­mit slid­edecks and record­ings here (slid­edecks are free; record­ings require reg­is­tra­tion, and we high­ly rec­om­mend them for peo­ple with a pro­fes­sion­al inter­est in the area)

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning, Health & Wellness

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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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