- “A brief course of brain exercises helped older adults hold on to improvements in reasoning skills and processing speed for 10 years after the course ended, according to results from the largest study ever done on cognitive training. [Read more…] about Brain training works: Study finds 10-year benefit from 10-hour training
If you followed latest headlines surrounding the release of the National Alzheimer’s Plan, you’d probably conclude that the likely solution to maintain lifelong brain health is simple: simply wait until 2025 for a “magic bullet” to be discovered, to cure (or end or prevent) Alzheimer’s disease and aging associated cognitive decline. These kinds of beliefs, often reinforced by doctors and advertising, may explain the billions spent today by pharma companies on discovering new compounds, and by consumers on supplements like ginkgo biloba. But [Read more…] about From Anti-Alzheimer’s “Magic Bullets” to True Brain Health
The best alternative for tomorrow should be better than the best alternative available today. How do we get there, when “cognition” and “brain fitness” remain elusive concepts in popular culture? I believe that the lack of public education is the major obstacle that limits the brain fitness field’s potential to deliver real-world benefits, since only informed demand will ensure the ongoing development of rational, structured “rules of the road.” What could be done to address this and other particular obstacles? [Read more…] about The Business and Ethics of the Brain Fitness Boom — Part 4: The Future
Engaging people where they are in the life-course
Eighty percent of the 38,000 adults over age 50 who were responders in the 2010 AARP Member Opinion Survey indicated “staying mentally sharp” was their top ranked interest and concern (Dinger, 2010). What exactly does this phrase mean? And what role can technology play in “staying mentally sharp”? Intel CEO Paul Otellini has said, “You have to start by thinking about what people want to do… and work backward.” [Read more…] about The Business and Ethics of the Brain Fitness Boom — Part 3: The Real Need
The terminology “fundamental attribution error” describes the tendency to overvalue personality-based explanations for observed human behaviors, while undervaluing situational explanations for those behaviors. I believe that a primary reason behind many perceived and real ethical challenges in the brain fitness field is due not so much to certain stakeholders’ lack of personal or professional ethics, but derives from the flawed societal construct that underpins current, relevant innovations. To improve the ethics of the brain fitness business and its application (and empower consumers’ informed decision making), there must first be agreement about a meaningful, appropriate way to analyze and guide innovation. This is the crux of the problem. The current medical model is not up to the task at hand, since it is heavily skewed toward invasive drugs and devices driven by disease-based models, and fails to leverage [Read more…] about The Business and Ethics of the Brain Fitness Boom — Part 2: The Ethics
The recent discovery that experience can change brain structure and function at any age has sparked numerous health, education, and productivity applications whose value and limitations we are only starting to grasp.
Brain fitness has quickly become a mainstream aspiration among baby boomers and elders, primarily in North America. It has fueled a growing interest in brain fitness classes, brain fitness centers, and brain fitness programs, along with attendant opportunities and challenges. An increasing number of adults want useful tools to protect cognitive health and performance—not necessarily to reverse aging—and what they are finding is an expanding and noisy marketplace where they (and also professionals) need to carefully evaluate their own needs and the available options (Fernandez and Goldberg, 2009). [Read more…] about The Business and Ethics of the Brain Fitness Boom — Part 1: The Business