The future (of Brain Health & Enhancement) is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed


The future is already here — it’s just not very even­ly dis­trib­uted” — William Gibson

Last week we asked the ques­tion, Have you ever used–for your­self or for others–technologies or prod­ucts that you think would fall into the cat­e­go­ry of brain enhance­ment? a) If Yes, what did you use and what lessons learned can you share? b) If No, what issues would you like to see addressed before con­sid­er­ing doing so?

Thank you every­one for your great answers and comments!

They are very valu­able in help­ing us final­ize the agen­da of the the upcom­ing 2017 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit: Brain Health & Enhance­ment in the Dig­i­tal Age (Decem­ber 5–7th).

As a token of appre­ci­a­tion, we are issu­ing 4 com­pli­men­ta­ry Sum­mit pass­es for Eva, A. Mark, Kitt and Gwyneth to join the Sum­mit and add their per­spec­tives and ques­tions to the mix, based on these insight­ful answers (light­ly edit­ed for clarity).

Eva Pon­der, Psychologist:

I use tech­nol­o­gy for myself and also with my clients. I reg­u­lar­ly use Muse, the brain sens­ing head­band for mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion. The feed­back and app help me stay on track in incor­po­rat­ing reg­u­lar prac­tice in my life. Mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion has been demon­strat­ed to be help­ful in improved well-being and reduc­tion of anx­i­ety, depres­sion and insom­nia. I also use the Muse with clients in ses­sions and encour­age them to obtain and use them as reg­u­lar part of their self care. I also use the Alpha-Stim with many of my clients, espe­cial­ly those with pain, anx­i­ety and insom­nia and find that most of them get some imme­di­ate relief. I believe that it real­ly helps peo­ple gain more hope for feel­ing bet­ter when they can expe­ri­ence some result imme­di­ate­ly. Final­ly, I also rec­om­mend use of apps cre­at­ed by the US Depart­ment of Vet­er­an Affairs: CBT‑I coach and Vir­tu­al Hope Box. They have a portable tool box that peo­ple can access eas­i­ly when they are hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ty cop­ing with stress.

A. Mark Pon, Senior EHS Engi­neer at 3M:

I’ve used many of the typ­i­cal tech­nolo­gies, i.e., games (gam­ing plat­forms, apps, paper and pen­cil, etc.) and sup­ple­ments, if not for any oth­er rea­son, than keep­ing myself sharp for work, social inter­ac­tions, and/or for self-actu­al­iza­tion/­self devel­op­ment pur­pos­es, or for sharp­en­ing the saw. As far as sup­ple­ments, I should be more dis­cern­ing as to what I put into my body, and look­ing for the best research, i.e., con­trolled exper­i­ments, with prop­er scop­ing to deter­mine cause and effect, or at least to oper­a­tional­ize it more effec­tive­ly to deter­mine effects. I’m not sold on any prod­uct that is on the mar­ket. In terms of games go, I think of a few things:
1. You can learn to improve at play­ing a game or performing/ answer­ing quizzes/tests/questions and get bet­ter outcomes.
2. Some games, how­ev­er, espe­cial­ly dig­i­tal games, are not nec­es­sar­i­ly con­ducive to “doing the work,” and you are just guessing.
3. You can make your­self more accept­ing of doing new games/ things.

Kitt O’Mal­ley, Men­tal Health Advocate:

I con­sid­er doing Jig­saw puz­zles on my iPad brain enhance­ment. I’ve also used Lumos­i­ty in the past. Most recent­ly, I’ve used the Calm app for med­i­ta­tion to qui­et my mind to allow sleep. Liv­ing with men­tal ill­ness and fear­ing mem­o­ry loss (both par­ents have demen­tia), I must calm my mind and keep it sharp. 

Gwyneth Wes­ley Rolph, Cog­ni­tive sci­en­tist at Uni­ver­si­ty of Westminster:

The “tech­nolo­gies” I use most often are good old exer­cise, sleep, diet, dietary sup­ple­ments, and study. I did­n’t keep going with things like dual n‑back, brain train­ing etc. because they were bor­ing. A few exam­ples that I have tried and liked: audio-visu­al entrain­ment (David Delight Pro), HRV biofeed­back (Heart­Math), neu­ro­feed­back, GSR meter-assist­ed self-explorato­ry/ self-devel­op­ment ther­a­py. I also tried cra­nial elec­tros­tim­u­la­tion but it made me feel slight­ly nau­seous. Anki is a great lit­tle app for mem­o­ry training.


Look­ing for­ward to a great con­fer­ence, full of insights and con­nec­tions to help advance Brain Health & Enhance­ment in the dig­i­tal age we live in,

Alvaro Fer­nan­dez on behalf of the Sum­mit Steer­ing Group


Learn more & Reserve your Spot HERE

(10%-off pro­mo code for Sharp­Brains read­ers: sharp2017)

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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