Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Theme: 80% of the 38,000 adults over 50 surveyed in the 2010 AARP Member Opinion Survey indicated “Staying Mentally Sharp”  as their top ranked interest and concern. This consumer-fueled interest, combined with growing research on lifelong neuroplasticity and the cognitive reserve and with a growing marketplace of “brain fitness” products and services, constitutes a call to action to expand the brain health toolkit to meet growing needs across the lifespan. Intel CEO Paul Otellini is quoted as saying, “You have to start by thinking about what people want to do…and work backward,” and the 2011 SharpBrains Summit: Retooling Brain Health for the 21st Century will do so by showcasing the latest trends taking place among consumers and professionals, in industry, research, technology, and care, to identify critical opportunities and challenges to develop a valuable  innovation ecosystem which may exceed $2B worldwide in 2015.

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Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Market Insights

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

R&D Insights

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Expo Day

7.30am: 2011 SharpBrains Virtual Summit opens for registered participants.8.15am: Welcome Remarks by Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier, Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, US Department of Education.8.30-10am: The Innovation Imperative: Meeting Growing Demands at Lower Costs. Call it “brain fitness” or “mental capital”, there is clear interest worldwide in how non-invasive technologies and lifestyle approaches can help maintain brain health and performance across the lifespan, paving the way for a growing innovation ecosystem that can significantly impact academic and workplace performance, clinical outcomes and quality of life. What is driving innovation, and how can we best harness growth to deliver value?

  • Dr. Ken­neth Kosik, Direc­tor, UCSB Neu­ro­science Institute, and Founder, CFIT
  • Dr. Cary Cooper, Sci­ence Coor­di­na­tor, Fore­sight Project on Men­tal Cap­i­tal and Wellbeing
  • Dr. Keith Wesnes, Prac­tice Leader, United BioSource
  • Nigel Smith, Inno­va­tion Director, AARP
  • Moderated by: Dr. James Giordano, Director of the Center for Neurotechnology Studies, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

10.15-11.45am: Antic­i­pat­ing Future Demands of Savvy Consumers. What are people’s priorities, beliefs and habits in terms of how to maintain cognitive and emotional health and performance? What evolving choices will consumers and the professionals serving them face in the future? How will new tools be integrated into existing settings?

  • Lind­say Gask­ins, CEO, Mar­bles: the Brain Store
  • Robin Klaus, Chair­man, Club One
  • Dr. Henry Mahncke, CEO, Posit Science
  • Dr. Peter Reiner, Co-Founder National Core for Neu­roethics, Uni­ver­sity of British Columbia
  • Margaret Morris, Senior Researcher, Intel’s Digital Health Group
  • Moderated by: Alexandra Morehouse, CMO at AAA North California

1-2pm: Protecting and Developing Young Minds. The acquisition of Cogmed by Pearson in June 2010 could prove to be a landmark in reframing education, special education and cognitive rehabilitation into personalized and targeted capacity-building interventions. How can brain-based bottlenecks be identified and addressed early on? How will innovative interventions be delivered?

  • Jonas Jendi, CEO, Cogmed
  • Dr. Tracy Alloway, Direc­tor Cen­ter Mem­ory & Learn­ing, Uni­v. Stirling
  • Ken Gib­son, Pres­i­dent, LearningRx
  • Moderated by: Alvaro Fernandez, CEO, SharpBrains

2.15-2.45pm: A Workplace Health & Productivity Case Study – From Lab to Rollout. The market for employer-driven solutions to monitor and enhance cognition and wellness is gaining traction with a dual health & productivity value proposition. What are employers looking for in these services? How can insurers capitalize on the opportunity via optional assistance products provided through health insurance packages? How will these emerging capabilities impact the traditional practices of Human Resources departments?

  • Evian Gordon, CEO, Brain Resource
  • Kathleen Herath, Asst Vice President, Nationwide Insurance
  • Moderated by: Patty Purpur, Director, Stanford Health Promotion Network

3-4.30pm: Cog­ni­tive Services for Active Aging – What a Brain Gym Looks Like. Adults over 50 in North America are adopting “brain fitness” as a mainstream lifestyle choice, and emerging service-based models are helping them navigate options to promote active aging. What quality of life outcomes and business drivers justify such efforts? What are the challenges to develop, market and scale innovative programs?

  • Lena Perel­man, Direc­tor Com­mu­nity Out­reach, SCAN Health Plan
  • Bev­erly San­born, Vice Pres­i­dent of Activ­i­ties and Mem­ory Pro­grams, Bel­mont Vil­lage Senior Living
  • Lisa Schooner­man, Co-Founder, VibrantBrains
  • Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, President, Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation
  • Moderated by: Dr. David Tal, Director, A.G.E. Matters Clinic

7.30-8am: The NIH Toolbox for Assessment of Neurological and Behavioral Function. Dr. Molly Wagster, Chief, Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience Branch at the National Institute of Aging (NIA).8-8.30am: Past, Present and Future of Applied Neuroplasticity.Dr. Michael Merzenich, Emeritus Professor at UC-San Francisco.8.45-10am: The Role of Cognitive Health Monitoring Systems. A missing piece in today’s brain health toolkit is the capability to monitor a person’s cognitive performance and Cognitive Reserve across the lifespan. Such a system could greatly facilitate the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cognitive decline due to aging and disease. Policy, research and technology strands are converging to better define and meet this need: Which instruments, platforms and analytical approaches could provide the data and outcomes required? How will behavioral markers complement biological and neuroimaging markers? How may cognitive monitoring systems be developed, marketed and used?

  • Dr. Yaakov Stern, Head Cog­ni­tive Neu­ro­science Divi­sion of the Taub Insti­tute, Colum­bia University
  • Dr. David Darby, Chief Medical Officer, CogState
  • Dr. Jeffrey Kaye, Director, NIA – ORCATECH
  • Moderated by: Dr. Joshua Steinerman, Assistant Professor, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

10.15-11.30am: The Business Case – Scal­ing up Cost-efficient Sys­tems to Extend Well­ness and Mod­u­lat­e Risks. The delivery of cognitive interventions is often restricted  by the expensive and time-intensive nature of the intervention and the lack of enough skilled practitioners. Technology assisted therapies and training have the potential to alleviate this bottleneck, reaching beyond traditional client/ patient groups. How will interventions target identified needs? Do reimbursement policies need to be updated? How will large data sets be used to benefit both the end-user and the providers?

  • Tom War­den, Vice Pres­i­dent, All­state
  • Dr. Justin Marley, Chair Mental Health Informatics Group, UK Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Dr. Joe Hardy, Senior Director R&D, Lumos Labs
  • Moderated by: Veronika Litinski, Advisor, MaRS Life Sciences and Health Care

12.45-2pm: Beyond the Controversy: Defining “Brain Train­ing” and Its Applications. As evidenced by the “BBC brain training experiment”, significant controversy has been brewing around what “brain training” is and what specific applications warrant it. This panel will discuss research-backed methodologies and analyze the key “conditions for transfer” to real-world benefits, matching population, need, and intervention protocol and duration. Is there a way to standardize interventions to drive better research and inform both preventive/ clinical care and consumer decisión-making?

  • Dr. Daphne Bave­lier, Direc­tor Brain and Vision Lab, Uni­v. Rochester
  • Dr. Jerri Edwards, Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor, USF
  • Dr. Adam Gaz­za­ley, Direc­tor Neu­ro­science Imag­ing Center, UCSF
  • Dr. Sophia Vino­gradov, Interim Vice Chair Psychiatry, UCSF
  • Moderated by: Dr. Jamie Wilson, Platform Director, SharpBrains

2.15-2.45pm: The State of Innovation and Emerging Marketplace. While healthy aging is the most visible driver of growth today, early adopters are also embracing interventions that enhance brain performance across the lifespan. What partnerships and alliances will be required to align mainstream interest with validated research, and position scalable tools within a coherent and sustainable marketplace? SharpBrains forecasts the worldwide market to exceed $2 billion by 2015 depending on how important category bottlenecks are addressed.

  • Alvaro Fernandez, CEO, SharpBrains
  • Moderated by: Muki Hansteen-Izora, Senior Design Researcher and Strate­gist, Intel’s Dig­i­tal Health Group

3-4.30pm: What’s Next – Stan­dard­iz­ing Out­comes to Drive Valuable Innovation. Can eating cereal brain X make your kids smarter? what about aerobic exercise, or playing the piano? Does playing videogame Y enhance working memory – or contribute to deplete it? Are “smart pills” really here or around the corner? Do supplements improve memory and brainpower? Fragmentary news coverage around many of these questions combined with aggressive marketing claims present the challenge of how to best navigate options – which will only be possible when we can compare “apples with apples” outcomes. How can interested parties, from consumers to policy-makers, make sense of the landscape today?

  • Dr. Gary Small, Direc­tor Cen­ter on Aging, UCLA
  • Dr. Michael Valenzuela, Leader Regenerative Neuroscience Group, University of New South Wales
  • Dr. Martha Farah, Direc­tor Cen­ter for Neu­ro­science and Soci­ety, UPenn
  • Dr. Bill Reich­man, CEO, Baycrest
  • Moderated by: Paula Psyllakis, Senior Policy Advisor, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation
8.30-9.30am: From Lab to Marketplace: How Science Reaches Users. Technology transfer from the lab to lead users is fraught with challenges, especially in new categories which lack established standards, channels, and investor interest. What commercialization paths, business models and investment scenarios will better allow for the needed pooling of scientific, entrepreneurial and investment resources to commercialize non-invasive applications of cognitive and affective neuroscience? What are early-adopters such as Walter Reed Army Medical Center doing and looking for?

  • Dr. Walter Greenleaf, CEO, Virtually Better
  • Kate Sul­li­van, Direc­tor Brain Fit­ness Cen­ter, Wal­ter Reed Army Med­ical Center
  • Moderated by: Dr. John Reppas, Policy Director, Neurotechnology Industry Organization

10-10.30am: Lumos Labs presentation/ demo

10.45-11.15am: Brain Resource presentation/ demo

11.30am-Noon: Cogmed presentation/ demo

1-1.30pm: Baycrest presentation/ demo

1.45-2.15pm: CogniFit presentation/ demo