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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Update: Live Well to 100 by Using Your Brain

Here you have the Novem­ber edi­tion of our month­ly newslet­ter cov­er­ing 107px-gray1197thumbnailcog­ni­tive health and brain fit­ness top­ics. Please remem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this Newslet­ter by email, using the box at the top of this page.

Liv­ing Well to 100

100 is the new 65: Why do some peo­ple live, and well, to 100? Researchers are try­ing to find out, reports Meera Lee Sethi at Greater Good Mag­a­zine. They are dis­cov­er­ing that genet­ic fac­tors may account for only 20 to 30 per­cent of a person’s lifes­pan, while envi­ron­men­tal and behav­ioral fac­tors can dic­tate the oth­er 70 to 80 per­cent.

Does cof­fee boost cog­ni­tive func­tions over time? Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon weighs the evi­dence and reports good and bad news. The good news: long-term effects seem more pos­i­tive than neg­a­tive, so cof­fee leads to no clear harm. The bad news: there are no clear ben­e­fi­cial effects on gen­er­al brain func­tions (impli­ca­tion for pro­po­nents of “smart pills”: don’t use cof­fee as the anal­o­gy).

10 Inno­va­tions for the Aging Soci­ety: In the Thanksgiving’s spir­it, we want to thank 10 pio­neers for emerg­ing inno­va­tions that may help mil­lions of peo­ple alive today to keep our brains in top shape per­haps till we are 100 or more. Many of those pio­neers will par­tic­i­pate in the inau­gur­al Sharp­Brains Sum­mit.

In Autopi­lot?

Train your autopilot.…and how to turn it off: Madeleine Van Hecke, Ph.D shares an excerpt from The Brain Advan­tage, in which she encour­ages main­tain­ing men­tal “autopi­lot” when it’s work­ing well, yet shift­ing to more con­scious delib­er­a­tions when need­ed.

Sci­en­tia Pro Pub­li­ca:  A good way to turn off autopi­lot is to enjoy some great sci­ence and nature blog­ging, cour­tesy of Sci­en­tia Pro Pub­li­ca blog car­ni­val. Addi­tion­al­ly, you can enjoy read­ing some of the best neu­ro­science, psy­chol­o­gy and med­ical blog­ging at the first ever com­bined Grand Rounds/ Encephalon edi­tion.

Games for Health

Games for Health Research: The Robert Wood John­son Foun­da­tion announced more than $1.85 mil­lion in grants for research teams to study how dig­i­tal games can improve play­ers health. One of the grantees is UCSF’s Adam Gaz­za­ley (who will be speak­ing at the Sharp­Brains Sum­mit) to devel­op a dri­ving game for cog­ni­tive fit­ness among younger and old­er adults.

Smart indus­try-research col­lab­o­ra­tion: Lumos Labs and researchers Susanne Jaeg­gi and Mar­tin Buschkuehl announce a col­lab­o­ra­tion to make the orig­i­nal Dual N-Back work­ing mem­o­ry train­ing pro­gram avail­able online and use it for ongo­ing research.

News

Mar­i­an C. Dia­mond to open Sharp­Brains Sum­mit: Kick­ing off our Jan­u­ary 2010 Sharp­Brains Sum­mit is Mar­i­an C. Dia­mond, one of the pio­neers of neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty research since the 1960s. She will intro­duce us to the human brain, its anato­my and func­tion, and impli­ca­tions of  neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty for brain health and per­for­mance at any age.

The Sharp­Brains Guide’s reviews and inter­views: a col­lec­tion of links to inter­views and reviews of The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness.

Net­work for Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion (mem­bers-only): Dis­cus­sion on the future of com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive behav­ioral ther­a­py; Unit­ed BioSource acquires Cog­ni­tive Drug Research; inno­v­a­tive part­ner­ship between Nav­i­gen­ics and Posit Sci­ence; new research on brain impact of Tetris; how a drop in visu­al skills may pre­cede Alzheimer’s Dis­ease;  excel­lent report by the Nation­al Acad­e­mies for the US Army avail­able for free now.

Brain Teas­er

Who will you believe, me or your own eyes? dis­cov­er the 3 Win­ners of the 2009 Best Visu­al Illu­sion of the Year Con­test. Neu­ro­sci­en­tists Susana Mar­tinez-Conde and Stephen Mack­nik, who help orga­nize the con­test, will give a fun demo on Mag­ic and the Brain at Sharp­Brains Sum­mit, to dis­cuss the lim­its of human per­cep­tion and cog­ni­tion.

Enjoy the final month of 2009!

United BioSource Corporation Announces Acquisition of Cognitive Drug Research (computerized cognitive testing)

Press release: “Leader in cog­ni­tion mea­sure­ment inte­grates into UBC to max­i­mize mea­sure­ment pre­ci­sion of piv­otal end­points and ensure data integri­ty. Unit­ed BioSource Cor­po­ra­tion (UBC) today announced the acqui­si­tion of CDR”

Press release (09/10/09): Here

Analy­sis for mem­bers of Sharp­Brains Net­work for Brain Fit­ness Inno­va­tion: Here

For con­text, see our pre­vi­ous arti­cle titled Com­put­er­ized Cog­ni­tive Assess­ments: oppor­tu­ni­ties and con­cerns, focused on the OptumHealth — Brain­Re­source part­ner­ship and inno­v­a­tive work by the US Army.

Update: Preparing Society for the Cognitive Age, and Industry Webinar

Here you have the August edi­tion of our month­ly newslet­ter cov­er­ing cog­ni­tive health and Brain Fitnessbrain fit­ness top­ics. Please remem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this Newslet­ter by email, using the box at the top of this page.

Sci­en­tif­ic pub­li­ca­tion Fron­tiers in Neu­ro­science recent­ly pub­lished a spe­cial issue on Aug­ment­ing Cog­ni­tion, and invit­ed me to con­tribute with an arti­cle titled Prepar­ing Soci­ety for the Cog­ni­tive Age. Ground­break­ing brain research has occurred over the last 20 years. The oppor­tu­ni­ty to improve brain health and per­for­mance is immense, but we need to ensure the mar­ket­place matures in a ratio­nal and sus­tain­able man­ner, both through health­care and non-health­care chan­nels. Click Here to read my arti­cle.

Announce­ments

In May 2009 Sharp­Brains pub­lished The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2009, the main indus­try report for lead­ing orga­ni­za­tions prepar­ing their mem­bers, their clients, and their patients for the cog­ni­tive age. 150-pages long, the report includes a mar­ket sur­vey with 2,000+ respon­dents, detailed analy­sis of 20+ ven­dors, research briefs writ­ten by 12 lead­ing sci­en­tists and data and trends for 4 major cus­tomer seg­ments.webinar

Below we share the full Exec­u­tive Sum­ma­ry of the report and announce an exclu­sive webi­nar on Sep­tem­ber 29th to dis­cuss the State of the Mar­ket in more depth with buy­ers of the report.

To order the report and access both the report and the webi­nar, you can click Here. (Only $975 -a 25% dis­count- using Dis­count Code Frontiers2009 before Sep­tem­ber 28th).

State of the Mar­ket

The brain fit­ness field holds excit­ing promise for the future while pre­sent­ing clear oppor­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges today. The good news is that there are more tools avail­able than ever before to assess and train a vari­ety of cog­ni­tive skills. The bad news is that there are no mag­ic pills and that con­sumers, while sat­is­fied over­all, seem con­fused by com­pet­ing claims on how to reduce one’s “brain age.” We do see signs that this ear­ly-stage mar­ket can mature in a more ratio­nal, struc­tured man­ner; but there is much work to be done. We esti­mate that the size of the U.S. brain fit­ness soft­ware (i.e., appli­ca­tions designed to assess or enhance cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties) mar­ket in 2008 was Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness/ Training Report Finds Market Growth, Potential, and Confusion

After many many months of men­tal stim­u­la­tion, phys­i­cal exer­cise and the cer­tain need for stress man­age­ment… we have just announced the release of the The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2009 report, our sec­ond annu­al com­pre­hen­sive mar­ket analy­sis of the US mar­ket for com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive assess­ment and train­ing tools. In this report we esti­mate the size of the US brain fit­ness soft­ware mar­ket at $265M in 2008, up from $225M in 2007 (18% annu­al growth), and from $100m in 2005. Two seg­ments fuelled the mar­ket growth from 2007 to 2008: con­sumers (grew from $80m to $95m) and health­care & insur­ance providers (grew from $65m to $80m).

The 150-page report finds promis­ing research and ini­tia­tives to dri­ve sig­nif­i­cant growth, com­bined with increased con­sumer con­fu­sion giv­en aggres­sive mar­ket­ing claims and lack of edu­ca­tion and stan­dards. The report includes:
— The com­plete results of an exclu­sive Jan­u­ary 2009 Sur­vey with 2,000+ respon­dents
— A pro­pri­etary Mar­ket & Research Momen­tum Matrix to cat­e­go­rize 21 key ven­dors into four cat­e­gories
— 10 Research Exec­u­tive Briefs writ­ten by lead­ing sci­en­tists at promi­nent research labs
— An analy­sis of the lev­el of clin­i­cal val­i­da­tion per prod­uct and cog­ni­tive domain

Top 10 High­lights from the report:

1) Con­sumers, seniors, com­mu­ni­ties and insur­ance providers drove year on year sus­tained growth, from $225m in 2007 to $265m in 2008. Rev­enues may reach between $1 bil­lion to $5 bil­lion by 2015, depend­ing on how impor­tant prob­lems (Pub­lic Aware­ness, Nav­i­gat­ing Claims, Research, Health Cul­ture, Lack of Assess­ment) are addressed.

2) Increased inter­est and con­fu­sion: 61% of respon­dents Strong­ly Agree with the state­ment Address­ing cog­ni­tive and brain health should be a health­care pri­or­i­ty. But, 65% Agree/Strongly Agree. I don’t real­ly know what to expect from prod­ucts mak­ing brain claims.

3) Invest­ment in R&D seeds future growth: Land­mark invest­ments by insur­ance providers and gov­ern­ment-fund­ed research insti­tutes test­ing new brain fit­ness appli­ca­tions plant­ed new seeds for future growth.

4) Becom­ing stan­dard in res­i­den­tial facil­i­ties: Over 700 res­i­den­tial facil­i­ties most­ly Inde­pen­dent and Assist­ed Liv­ing facil­i­ties and CCRCs have installed com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­grams.

5) Cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion: Con­sumers seem more sat­is­fied with com­put­er-based prod­ucts than paper-based options. But, sat­is­fac­tion dif­fers by prod­uct. When asked I got real val­ue for my mon­ey, results were as fol­lows: Lumosity.com (65% Agree), Puz­zle Books (60%), Posit Sci­ence (52%), Nin­ten­do (51%) agreed. Posit Sci­ence (53% Agree) and Lumosity.com (51%) do bet­ter than Puz­zle Books (39%) and Nin­ten­do (38%) at I have seen the results I want­ed.

6) Assess­ments: Increas­ing adop­tion of com­put­er-based cog­ni­tive assess­ments to base­line and track cog­ni­tive func­tions over time in mil­i­tary, sports, and clin­i­cal con­texts. The Alzheimer’s Foun­da­tion of Amer­i­ca now advo­cates for wide­spread cog­ni­tive screen­ings after 65–75.

7) Spe­cif­ic com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive train­ing and videogames have been shown to improve brain func­tions, but the key ques­tions are, Which ones, and Who needs what when?

8) Aggres­sive mar­ket­ing claims are cre­at­ing con­fu­sion and skep­ti­cism, result­ing in a dis­tract­ing con­tro­ver­sy between two mis­lead­ing extremes: (a) buy­ing prod­uct XYZ can reju­ve­nate your brain Y years or (b) those prod­ucts don’t work; just do one more cross­word puz­zle. The upcom­ing book The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness aims to help con­sumers nav­i­gate these claims.

9) Devel­op­ers can be clas­si­fied into four groups, based on a pro­pri­etary Mar­ket and Research Momen­tum Matrix: Sharp­Brains finds 4 Lead­ers, 8 High Poten­tials, 3 Cross­words 2.0, and 6 Wait & See com­pa­nies.

10) Increased dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion: Lead­ing com­pa­nies are bet­ter defin­ing their val­ue propo­si­tion and dis­tri­b­u­tion chan­nels to reach spe­cif­ic seg­ments such as retire­ment com­mu­ni­ties, schools, or health­care providers.

Lead­ing researchers pre­pared 10 Research Exec­u­tive Briefs:
- Dr. Joshua Stein­er­man (Ein­stein-Mon­te­o­re): Neu­ro­pro­tec­tion via cog­ni­tive activ­i­ties
— Dr. Jer­ri Edwards (South Flori­da): Assess­ments of dri­ving fit­ness
— Dr. Susanne Jaeg­gi and Dr. Mar­tin Buschkuehl (Bern, Michi­gan): Work­ing mem­o­ry train­ing and  intel­li­gence
— Dr. Torkel Kling­berg (Karolin­s­ka): Work­ing mem­o­ry train­ing, dopamine, and math
— Dr. Liz Zelin­s­ki (UC Davis): Audi­to­ry pro­cess­ing train­ing
— Dr. David Vance (UAB): Speed-of-pro­cess­ing train­ing
— Dr. Jer­ri Edwards (South Flori­da): Cog­ni­tive train­ing for healthy aging
— Dr. Daphne Bave­li­er & Dr. Shawn Green (Rochester): Action videogames and atten­tion­al skills
— Dr. Arthur Kramer (Illi­nois): Strat­e­gy videogames and exec­u­tive func­tions
— Dr. Yaakov Stern (Colum­bia): The cog­ni­tive reserve and neu­roimag­ing
— Dr. David Rabin­er (Duke): Objec­tive assess­ments for ADHD

Table of Con­tents

Edi­to­r­i­al
Exec­u­tive Sum­ma­ry
Chap­ter 1. Bird-Eye View of the Grow­ing Field
Chap­ter 2. Mar­ket Sur­vey on Beliefs, Atti­tudes, Pur­chase Habits
Chap­ter 3. The Emerg­ing Com­pet­i­tive Land­scape
Chap­ter 4. The Sci­ence for Brain Fit­ness and Cog­ni­tive Health
Chap­ter 5. Con­sumers  Adopt­ing Cross­words 2.0?
Chap­ter 6: Health­care and Insur­ance Providers — A Cul­ture of Cog­ni­tive Health
Chap­ter 7: K12 School Sys­tems- Ready for Change?
Chap­ter 8: Mil­i­tary, Sports Teams, Com­pa­nies,  Brain-Per­for­mance Link
Chap­ter 9: Future Direc­tions‚ Pro­jec­tions and Bot­tle­necks

Com­pa­nies pro­filed include: Advanced Brain Tech­nolo­gies, Applied Cog­ni­tive Engi­neer­ing, Brain Cen­ter Amer­i­ca, Brain Resource, CNS Vital Signs, Cogmed, Cogstate, Cog­niFit, Cog­ni­tive Drug Research, Dakim, Houghton Mif­flin, Learn­ing Enhance­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, Learn­ingRx, Lumos Labs, Mar­bles: The Brain Store, Nin­ten­do, NovaV­i­sion, Posit Sci­ence, Sci­en­tif­ic Brain Train­ing, Sci­en­tif­ic Learn­ing, Trans­An­a­lyt­ics, vibrant­Brains, Vig­or­ous Mind, Viv­i­ty Labs.

More on the report by click­ing on The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2009.

Cognitive Assessments: HeadMinder, ANAM, and more

Just saw a very inter­est­ing press release regard­ing com­put­er-based neu­rocog­ni­tive assess­ments — a crit­i­cal part of the brain fit­ness puz­zle. How long will it take before con­sumers can have access to a reli­able and cred­i­ble annu­al “men­tal check-up”/ cog­ni­tive base­line?

Head­Min­der Cog­ni­tive Sta­bil­i­ty Index: Com­put­er­ized Neu­rocog­ni­tive … (Press release)

- “The Head­Min­der web-based Cog­ni­tive Sta­bil­i­ty Index (CSI) has proven more use­ful for blast-con­cus­sion detec­tion than the ANAM com­put­er­ized test bat­tery the DoD cur­rent­ly employs. The CSI pro­vides an imme­di­ate solu­tion to clear the back­log of 400,000 IED-exposed ser­vice mem­bers in less than two years.”

- “The CSI is a 30-minute, Inter­net-based, com­put­er­ized test that pro­vides auto­mat­ed, objec­tive mea­sures of atten­tion, mem­o­ry, response speed, and pro­cess­ing speed for ini­tial eval­u­a­tion of cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing. The CSI pro­duces stan­dard­ized reports that enable triage and deci­sion-mak­ing appro­pri­ate to a user’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions — from medic to neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist to neu­rol­o­gist and oth­er treat­ment team mem­bers.”

We cov­ered this emerg­ing type of assess­ments in the arti­cle Com­put­er­ized Cog­ni­tive Assess­ments: oppor­tu­ni­ties and con­cerns

- “In fact, one of the Read the rest of this entry »

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