Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Brain fitness & training heads towards its tipping point

How do you know when some­thing is fast mov­ing towards a Glad­wellian tip­ping point? When health insur­ance com­pa­nies and pub­lic pol­i­cy mak­ers launch sig­nif­i­cant ini­tia­tives.

For exam­ple, the gov­ern­ment of Ontario recent­ly announced a $10 mil­lion invest­ment with Bay­crest Research Cen­tre who will part­ner with MaRS Ven­ture Group to devel­op and com­mer­cialise brain fit­ness tech­nolo­gies. The invest­ment was matched by an addi­tion­al $10 mil­lion from pri­vate sources.

Anoth­er impor­tant devel­op­ment was the $18 mil­lion agree­ment between the Aus­tralian-based Brain Resource Com­pa­ny (ASX:BRC) and OptumHealth in the US. This will allow for the pro­vi­sion of web-based cog­ni­tive assess­ments as part of a clinician’s deci­sion sup­port sys­tems.

These are some ini­tia­tives cov­ered in a webi­nar Top Ten Cog­ni­tive Fit­ness Events of 2008 pre­sent­ed in Decem­ber for Sharp­Brains’ clients. Alvaro Fer­nan­dez described the state of play and main dri­vers behind the growth of the bur­geon­ing brain fit­ness mar­ket — which I will try and sum­ma­rize here.

The key dri­vers seem to be Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Training New Frontier: Ice Hockey!

USA Hock­ey Inc., is the nation­al gov­ern­ing body for the sport of ice hock­ey in the Unit­ed States. As such, its mis­sion is to pro­mote the growth of hock­ey and pro­vide the best Ice Hockeypos­si­ble expe­ri­ence for all par­tic­i­pants by encour­ag­ing, devel­op­ing, advanc­ing and admin­is­ter­ing the sport.”

Why do we talk about ice hock­ey in a  brain fit­ness blog?

Well, we recent­ly announced this very inno­v­a­tive ini­tia­tive, and now can offer more con­text:

USA Hock­ey and Intel­li­gym:

- “USA Hock­ey, with part­ners ACE (Applied Cog­ni­tive Engi­neer­ing) and the BIRD (Bina­tion­al Indus­tri­al Research and Devel­op­ment) Foun­da­tion, have announced plans to devel­op a rev­o­lu­tion­ary prod­uct that will, for the first time ever, pro­vide play­ers a train­ing tool to devel­op “hock­ey sense.”

- “To be called Hock­ey Intel­li­Gym, the soft­ware-based prod­uct will fur­nish play­ers with a high­ly effec­tive train­ing tool to devel­op per­cep­tion and deci­sion-mak­ing skills. Fur­ther, it will Read the rest of this entry »

IntelliGym cognitive simulation for Ice Hockey players

Very inter­est­ing new mar­ket devel­op­ment:

The Mark­er, Israel - Oct 28, 2008, Sharp­Brains,

In oth­er words, Applied Cog­ni­tive Engi­neer­ing (ACE) and USA Hock­ey have part­nered to bring to mar­ket a cog­ni­tive sim­u­la­tion game to improve the per­for­mance of ice hock­ey play­ers — sim­i­lar to what  ACE has been offer­ing to pro­fes­sion­al and ama­teur bas­ket­ball play­ers.

ACE has raised $2.5M, and ACE and USA Hock­ey have received a joint $800k devel­op­ment grant from the BIRD Foun­da­tion for the co-devel­op­ment of a train­ing sys­tem for Ice Hock­ey play­ers. (The arti­cle men­tions Sharp­Brains’ Mar­ket Report as a sign of how the mar­ket is grow­ing, since we cov­er ACE).

For more con­text on cog­ni­tive sim­u­la­tions, you will enjoy this Inter­view with Prof. Daniel Gopher:

Alvaro Fer­nan­dez: Tell us a bit about your over­all research inter­ests.

Daniel Gopher: My main inter­est has been how to expand the lim­its of human atten­tion, infor­ma­tion pro­cess­ing and response capa­bil­i­ties which are crit­i­cal in com­plex, real-time deci­sion-mak­ing, high-demand tasks such as fly­ing a mil­i­tary jet or play­ing pro­fes­sion­al bas­ket­ball. Using a ten­nis anal­o­gy, my goal has been, and is, how to help devel­op many “Wim­ble­don-like cham­pi­ons. Each with their own styles, but per­form­ing to their max­i­mum capac­i­ty to suc­ceed in their envi­ron­ments.

What research over the last 15–20 years has shown is that cog­ni­tion, or what we call think­ing and per­for­mance, is real­ly a set of skills that we can train sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly. And Read the rest of this entry »

Resource for Brain Fitness Centers

Our Mar­ket Report has received some recent addi­tion­al acco­lades:

In a wide­ly scat­tered and unreg­u­lat­ed field, this clear, cred­i­ble doc­u­ment
is a first-class, pio­neer­ing com­pendi­um that’s like­ly to become indus­try-stan­dard
for all of us in this field. Well done!”
— Eric Jensen, Founder of Jensen Learn­ing Cor­po­ra­tion.

This is the first clear, con­cise and com­pre­hen­sive overview and analy­sis I have seen of Brain Fitness Market Reportthe emerg­ing Brain-Train­ing mar­ket­place. It is a great mar­ket research for every investor, entre­pre­neur, man­ag­er, researcher and oth­ers who seek an under­stand­ing of the sub­ject. Per­son­al­ly, I was wait­ing such a review for quite a while. The Sharp­Brains staff, led by Alvaro Fer­nan­dez, real­ly did a great job here.”

– Dan­ny Dankn­er, CEO, Applied Cog­ni­tive Engi­neer­ing (ACE).

Neu­ro­science is at a cross­roads, and The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2008 by Sharp­Brains, points the way for­ward. Our under­stand­ing of how the brain works is just begin­ning to yield real fruit in the form of prod­ucts that tru­ly improve the func­tion of the brain. This reports gives any­one inter­est­ed in how to under­stand which prod­ucts are tru­ly in a posi­tion to make a dif­fer­ence in brain func­tion, and which mar­kets will be inter­est­ed and prof­itable for such prod­ucts an invalu­able guide. We found the analy­sis clear, pre­cise, loaded with sub­stan­tive insight. One would be fool­hardy not to use this pub­li­ca­tion as the best guide to this mar­ket.”

– Dr. Arthur Lavin, Asso­ciate Clin­i­cal Pro­fes­sor of Pedi­atrics, Case Med­ical School, and Med­ical Direc­tor of A Work­ing Mind.

As we begin the task of devel­op­ing a Brain Fit­ness Cen­ter at our Sun­rise Senior Liv­ing Com­mu­ni­ty, this Brain Fit­ness Mar­ket Report is prov­ing Read the rest of this entry »

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