Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


On Mental Health and the advent of Digital Phenotyping


Build­ing the Ther­mome­ter for Men­tal Health (The Dana Foun­da­tion):

Imag­ine that you vis­it your physi­cian com­plain­ing of a fever and, rather than tak­ing out a ther­mome­ter, they begin hov­er­ing their “edu­cat­ed hands” over you. Grad­u­al­ly, they press down against your arm to gain a full impres­sion of your skin’s tem­per­a­ture and the “deep­er seat­ed com­bus­tions.” Remov­ing their hand, they look close­ly at your appear­ance and pro­nounce their assess­ment: you do, in fact, have a fever. You might (jus­ti­fi­ably) be dubi­ous

Just as the ther­mome­ter pro­vid­ed a stan­dard­ized, objec­tive mea­sure­ment for detect­ing fever, tools to quan­ti­fy health and dis­ease para­me­ters have trans­formed med­i­cine in almost every major dis­ease area—electrocardiograms for heart dis­ease, blood glu­cose for dia­betes, and, recent­ly, genet­ic diag­nos­tic tests for can­cer. But when it comes to brain health, and in the case of men­tal ill­ness espe­cial­ly, progress has been uneven. Although direct brain imag­ing instru­ments exist, most (MRI, PET, MEG) are expen­sive, inac­ces­si­ble to many, rarely use­ful for decid­ing the treat­ment of an indi­vid­ual patient, and time-inten­sive to admin­is­ter. While they can iden­ti­fy brain lesions in mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis or demen­tia, they are less use­ful in men­tal dis­or­ders. This lack of mea­sure­ment mat­ters because, to bor­row a tru­ism from busi­ness, “we don’t man­age well what we don’t mea­sure well.”

Keep read­ing Build­ing the Ther­mome­ter for Men­tal Health over at The Dana Foun­da­tion.

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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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