Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Icon

Brain Teasers on Brain Training/ Games for Health Conference

Giv­en the whole dis­tract­ing “con­tro­ver­sy” of whether Nin­ten­do Brain Age “works” or not, I have start­ed to use the fol­low­ing “brain teasers” in my talks in order to help the audi­ence gain a more use­ful per­spec­tive of what is going on. They worked great both in the Medicare Read­mis­sions Sum­mit in DC a few weeks ago, and at the Games for Heath Con­fer­ence last week.

Q: How many sol­diers in the US Army have gone through com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive test­ing before being deployed, and why?
A: Over 150,000, in order to estab­lish an objec­tive start­ing base­line and iden­ti­fy poten­tial Post Trau­mat­ic Stress Dis­or­der (PTSD) and Trau­mat­ic Brain Injury (TBI) prob­lems upon their return.

Q: How big is the ongo­ing invest­ment by OptumHealth, a divi­sion of Unit­ed­Health Group (UNH), in devel­op­ing com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive assess­ments to inform clin­i­cal deci­sion-mak­ing?
A: over $6m.

Q: How many All­state pol­i­cy-hold­ers over the age of 50 have received a com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­gram to improve their dri­ving safe­ty?
A: Over 8,000, in the state of Penn­syl­va­nia.

Q: How many res­i­den­tial com­mu­ni­ties are offer­ing com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­grams to their res­i­dents?
A: Over 700, in the US alone, cov­er­ing inde­pen­dent and assist­ed liv­ing.

Q: How much mon­ey has the Gov­ern­ment of Ontario invest­ed in set­ting up a new Cen­tre for Brain Fit­ness as part of Bay­crest research cen­ter in order to devel­op and com­mer­cial­ize tech­nolo­gies to assess and enhance cog­ni­tive func­tions?
A: $10m, matched with anoth­er 10m from local investors.

For more on our Cog­ni­tive Health Track at Games for Health Con­fer­ence last week, see this USA Today arti­cle:

More doctor’s pre­scrip­tions may include brain games to improve men­tal acu­ity

(pret­ty good over­all, but please note that Sharp­Brains didn’t orga­nize the whole con­fer­ence, “only” the cog­ni­tive health track, which was a lot of stim­u­lat­ing fun. Ben Sawyer and team did over­all con­fer­ence).

Brain Training Games @ CNN

Crisp CNN arti­cle:

Boom times for brain train­ing games

Includ­ing my final quote “[Brain fit­ness] is not just some fad. The mar­ket is much deep­er than Nin­ten­do.”

The “brain fit­ness cen­ter” financed by Ontario is Bay­crest. Com­pa­nies men­tioned: Mind­fit, Posit Sci­ence, Nin­ten­do, All­state, Brain­Builder, MyBrain­Train­er.

The reporter and I also dis­cussed in depth the need for bet­ter con­sumer edu­ca­tion and pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment, so peo­ple can make informed deci­sions, and for cog­ni­tive assess­ments to serve as inde­pen­dent base­line, help iden­ti­fy pri­or­i­ties and mea­sure results. Please note that our mar­ket esti­mates do include rev­enues of com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive assess­ments, today most­ly used in clin­i­cal tri­als, and with­in the mil­i­tary and sports teams.

Announcing the Premium Research Sponsors program

Have you ever won­dered how we can main­tain Sharp­Brains web­site, blog and newslet­ter with­out sell­ing any prod­uct and with only lim­it­ed adver­tis­ing? Peo­ple often ask us that ques­tion, espe­cial­ly once we explain that we don’t sell prod­ucts (sell­ing prod­ucts would present a con­flict of inter­est giv­en our mis­sion to “pro­vide indi­vid­u­als, com­pa­nies and insti­tu­tions with high-qual­i­ty, research-based, infor­ma­tion and guid­ance to nav­i­gate the grow­ing cog­ni­tive and brain fit­ness mar­ket”.)

The answer is, we offer pro­pri­etary mar­ket research and advi­so­ry ser­vices to orga­ni­za­tions such as these. They want to ful­ly under­stand emerg­ing Brain Fit­ness and Cog­ni­tive Health trends, oppor­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges, in order to make bet­ter-informed deci­sions. Exam­ples:

- lead­ing health­care providers eval­u­at­ing cog­ni­tive assess­ment and train­ing options.
uni­ver­si­ties and research cen­ters try­ing to bridge brain research and prac­tice.
devel­op­ers of tech­nolo­gies that help assess and/ or train cog­ni­tive func­tions who want a bet­ter view of mar­ket size, trends and the com­pet­i­tive land­scape.
con­sult­ing and train­ing com­pa­nies inter­est­ed in under­stand­ing mar­ket trends to scope their own poten­tial offer­ings.
ven­ture cap­i­tal firms look­ing for invest­ment ideas and due dili­gence on existing/ poten­tial deals.

We chose to focus our efforts on pro­vid­ing qual­i­ty mar­ket research and advi­so­ry ser­vices giv­en the grow­ing con­fu­sion in the mar­ket­place and the need for an inde­pen­dent and qual­i­fied source of infor­ma­tion, mar­ket data and best prac­tices. The brain fit­ness soft­ware field (defined as soft­ware appli­ca­tions that help assess or train cog­ni­tive func­tions) is pro­ject­ed to exceed $2B by 2015, fueled by an increas­ing amount of applied research on neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty and cog­ni­tion; a rapid­ly evolv­ing mar­ket­place of prod­ucts mak­ing cog­ni­tive claims; and grow­ing con­sumer and insti­tu­tion­al demand. Large and small orga­ni­za­tions are already tak­ing the first steps to lever­age those tech­nolo­gies.

We are now launch­ing a new Pre­mi­um Research Spon­sors pro­gram to part­ner with pio­neer­ing orga­ni­za­tions who want to col­lab­o­rate with us to shape the future of Read the rest of this entry »

Computerized Cognitive Assessments: opportunities and concerns

You know your weight. And your phys­i­cal fit­ness. And a vari­ety of health-relat­ed met­rics.

What about your brain fit­ness?

Two recent announce­ments bring out how the assess­ment of cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties, or brain func­tions, is increas­ing­ly being done thanks to new com­put­er­ized options:

1) Last week, OptumHealth announced an exclu­sive 3-year agree­ment (esti­mat­ed at $18m) with the Aus­tralian com­pa­ny Brain Resource. OptumHealth will be embed­ding the Brain Resource plat­form into their over­all Behav­ioral Solu­tions pro­gram.

- OptumHealth Behav­ioral Solu­tions will work with Brain Resource to pro­vide clin­i­cians with a Web-based assess­ment that mea­sures gen­er­al cog­ni­tion (how peo­ple process infor­ma­tion) and social cog­ni­tion (how peo­ple man­age their emo­tions). This 40-minute assess­ment is based on well-known and val­i­dat­ed tests of mem­o­ry, atten­tion, exec­u­tive func­tion, and response speed, and mood, social skills and emo­tion­al resilience.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posit Science, Nintendo Brain Age, and Brain Training Topics

A few col­leagues referred me over the week­end to a very nice arti­cle at busi­ness pub­li­ca­tion Port­fo­lio.

While the arti­cle does an excel­lent job at intro­duc­ing the read­er to the con­cept and promise of com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive assess­ments, it also con­tributes to the mythol­o­gy of “Brain Age”. MRI scan neuroimaging

Let’s first take a look at the arti­cle How Smart Are You: The busi­ness of assess­ing cog­ni­tion and mem­o­ry is mov­ing from test­ing brain-impaired patients to assess­ing healthy peo­ples’ brains online.

A cou­ple of quotes:

- “Cog­ni­tive Drug Research is one a hand­ful of busi­ness­es, most of them out­side of the U.S., that work with phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies to test how new drugs for every­thing from nico­tine addic­tion to Alzheimer’s dis­ease affect the mind’s abil­i­ty to remem­ber things, make deci­sions, and ana­lyze infor­ma­tion.”

- “Cog­ni­tive tests have been around for a cen­tu­ry as exam­i­na­tions tak­en with paper and pen­cil. In the 1970s and ‘80s the tests shift­ed to com­put­ers, Cog­ni­tive Drug Research founder Kei­th Wesnes says.

So far, so good. In fact, one of the key high­lights from the mar­ket report we released in March was that “Large-scale, ful­ly-auto­mat­ed cog­ni­tive assess­ments are being used in a grow­ing num­ber of clin­i­cal tri­als. This opens the way for the devel­op­ment of inex­pen­sive con­sumer-fac­ing, base­line cog­ni­tive assess­ments.” And we pro­filed a few lead­ing com­pa­nies in the space: Brain Resource Com­pa­ny, Cog­ni­tive Drug Research, CNS Vital Signs and CogState.

Now, the arti­cle is accom­pa­nied by a 5–7 minute quick test that promis­es to give us our “Brain Age”. And this doesn’t come from Nin­ten­do, but from Cog­ni­tive Drug Research, a respect­ed sci­ence-based com­pa­ny.

You can check it out Read the rest of this entry »

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

Follow us and Engage via…

twitter_logo_header
RSS Feed

Search for anything brain-related in our article archives

Enter Your Email to receive Sharp­Brains free, monthly eNewslet­ter:

Join more than 50,000 Sub­scribers and stay informed and engaged.