In 2015, Brie Code was working at leading video game company Ubisoft as lead artificial intelligence programmer when she realized that many people she knew – about half, by her estimation – found video games boring. [Read more…] about Trend: Harnessing digital tech to improve mental health and wellness
Meditation app Headspace this morning announced plans to merge with on-demand mental health service Ginger. Barring unforeseen regulatory roadblocks, the two companies will combine to form Headspace Health. The new organization would sport a combined value of $3 billion and a headcount of more than 800.
The merger comes during accelerated usage of both parties, as a seemingly endless pandemic has put a strain on mental health across the globe and many have turned to virtual solutions to address the growing problem. [Read more…] about Headspace and Ginger merge to expand and scale up digital mental health
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring fascinating findings, books and resources for lifelong brain health.
#1. “The human brain (section; left image above) functions thanks to its wide neuronal network that is deemed to contain approximately 69 billion neurons. On the other hand, the observable universe (section simulation; right image) can count upon a cosmic web of at least 100 billion galaxies. Within both systems, only 30% of their masses are composed of galaxies and neurons. Within both systems, galaxies and neurons arrange themselves in long filaments or nodes between the filaments. Finally, within both systems, 70% of the distribution of mass or energy is composed of components playing an apparently passive role: water in the brain and dark energy in the observable Universe.” Understanding Brain Health via Cosmological Health, and vice versa
#2. One very smart and generous brain to brighten your day: Indian teacher Ranjitsinh Disale wins annual $1M Global Teacher Prize; shares half with 9 finalists
#3. “Of all the qualities parents can cultivate in their children, hope and optimism are the most precious. We can nurture hope and optimism in our kids by demonstrating that we always have some control over our environment and ourselves. The future isn’t a tide that’s going to crush us, it’s a wave we’re a part of.” — Madeline Levine, author of Ready or Not. Three favorite 2020 books on parenting and mental health
#5. This survey of 2500 families about what ADHD treatments seem to work/ not work finds that 49% of parents report Exercise to be ‘Extremely or Very Effective;’ above any other treatment.
#6. On the dangers of “productizing” lifestyle guidelines that help build brain reserve and delay cognitive problems; Buyer beware: The story of a pricey and “credentialled” program to end Alzheimer’s Disease
#7. Now, given that “In a new McKinsey report, 62% of employees consider mental health issues a top challenge,” it is good to see growing resources and approaches aimed at addressing the challenge: Calm raises $75 million, expands into corporate mental health and wellness
#8. And, step by step, digital therapeutics are going mainstream: Click Therapeutics raises $30 million in debt to advance commercialization of smoking cessation app Clickotine
#9. Never two without three: Pear Therapeutics raises $80M; finds cost savings of $2,150 per patient with opioid use disorder
#10. Finally, we asked our team and trusted advisors to compile a list of ideas to stay sane and healthy in the months ahead, prioritizing habits shown to promote brain health, resilience and positive neuroplasticity: Enjoy these 3 New Year Resolutions and 36 Ideas for a Happier & Healthier 2021
Wishing you a safe, healthy and happy New Year
Calm, maker of a meditation, sleep and relaxation app, doubled its valuation to $2 billion after raising capital from existing backers including Lightspeed Venture Partners, TPG and Insight Partners. [Read more…] about Calm raises $75 million, expands into corporate mental health and wellness
Time for a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter!
1. Food for (nonpartisan) Thought: Should heads of state and candidates to high office pass a cognitive/ mental fitness test?
2. A school psychologist shares good tips to support our kids and, yes, manage our own stress. Three Ss to reduce the stress of “homeschooling” our kids: Simplify, Structure, Support.
4. Great partnership! Kaiser Permanente offers Calm mental fitness app at no cost to millions of members.
5. “Just as you can’t self-introspect to determine your cholesterol, much of the highest-value information about ourselves and each other sits outside our conscious awareness.” — Bryan Johnson, Founder and CEO of Kernel, as Kernel launches Neuroscience as a Service (NaaS) built on non-invasive brain recording technology.
6. Fascinating conversation on how and why “Practice actually changes the physicality of your brain” — Q&A with Rick Hanson on Neurodharma, brain science, personal practice and well-being
7. May this trend continue (and for better reasons): Growing interest in digital mental health among insurers and medical care providers.
8. Particularly promising for multiple sclerosis, ocular hypertension, diabetes, and traumatic brain injury: Portable brain assessment device by Headsafe secures 510(k) FDA clearance.
10. If not a limerick, perhaps a few brain teasers. Say the months of the year in alphabetical order. Too easy? Well, try doing so backwards, in reverse alphabetical order. Five quick brain teasers to flex those Attention and Working Memory mental muscles
11. You have been invited to a fundraising gala at your old college (via Zoom of course) and decide that this black-tie event demands a super white Italian shirt, like the one you bought years ago for your wedding. Ready for some quick math? Try this Brain Teaser: What shirt size you need?
Have a great month of June,
The SharpBrains Team
Kaiser Permanente is trying to give its 12.4 million members a little bit of calm.
Starting Tuesday, the health-care provider is allowing patients to download the Calm meditation app for free as part of a way to help customers manage anxiety as they deal with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Calm is the most-popular health and fitness app on Google-powered devices and No. 2 on the iPhone, according to App Annie. Paid subscriptions normally cost $70 a year … Calm was seeing surging growth even before the coronavirus forced Americans to shelter in place and led to skyrocketing unemployment. The San Francisco-based start-up was valued by investors last year at $1 billion, two years after being named Apple’s app of the year back in 2017. The app has been downloaded over 80 million times.