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The FDA clears two computerized cognitive tests to assist in medical evaluations following brain injury or concussion

impact testingFDA allows mar­ket­ing of first-of-kind com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive tests to help assess cog­ni­tive skills after a head injury (FDA news release):

The U.S. Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion today per­mit­ted mar­ket­ing of two new devices to assess a patient’s cog­ni­tive func­tion imme­di­ate­ly after a sus­pect­ed brain injury or con­cus­sion. The Imme­di­ate Post-Con­cus­sion Assess­ment and Cog­ni­tive Test­ing (ImPACT) and ImPACT Pedi­atric are the first med­ical devices per­mit­ted Read the rest of this entry »

New & Excellent Review of Computerized Cognitive Training with Older Adults

With­in 20 years, old­er adults will account for almost 25% of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion. From a health­care per­spec­tive, a major con­cern with an aging pop­u­la­tion is a high­er preva­lence of age-relat­ed impair­ment in cog­ni­tive func­tion. This expand­ing aging pop­u­la­tion high­lights the need to iden­ti­fy quick, effec­tive, low-cost solu­tions to delay patho­log­i­cal cog­ni­tive decline asso­ci­at­ed with aging. Devel­op­ing inter­ven­tions that can pre­serve cog­ni­tive func­tion can also help to main­tain qual­i­ty of life and inde­pen­dence well into old age. With the help of new tech­nol­o­gy, Read the rest of this entry »

Report: Cognitive Testing Program Fails Soldiers, Leaving Brain Injuries Undetected

Test­ing Pro­gram Fails Sol­diers, Leav­ing Brain Injuries Unde­tect­ed (ProP­ub­li­ca):

In 2007, with road­side bombs explod­ing across Iraq, Con­gress moved to improve care for sol­diers who had suf­fered one of the war’s sig­na­ture wounds, trau­mat­ic brain injury.

Law­mak­ers passed a mea­sure requir­ing the mil­i­tary to test sol­diers’ brain func­tion before they deployed and again when they returned. The test was sup­posed to ensure that sol­diers received prop­er treat­ment.

Instead, an inves­ti­ga­tion by ProP­ub­li­ca and NPR has found, the test­ing pro­gram has failed to deliv­er on its promise, offer­ing sol­diers the appear­ance of help, but not the real­i­ty. Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Music Training Can Enhance Verbal Intelligence and Executive Function

Very inter­est­ing new study pub­lished in Psy­cho­log­i­cal Sci­ence: Short-Term Music Train­ing Enhances Ver­bal Intel­li­gence and Exec­u­tive Func­tion.

Abstract: Researchers have designed train­ing meth­ods that can be used to improve men­tal health and to test the effi­ca­cy of edu­ca­tion pro­grams. How­ev­er, few stud­ies have demon­strat­ed broad trans­fer from such train­ing to per­for­mance on untrained cog­ni­tive activ­i­ties. Here we report the effects of two inter­ac­tive com­put­er­ized train­ing pro­grams devel­oped for preschool chil­dren: one for music and one for visu­al art. After only 20 days of train­ing, Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Training for Babies: Hope, Hype, Both?

Train­ing the brain is pos­si­ble because of neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty. Our dai­ly expe­ri­ences can trig­ger neu­ro­plas­tic changes in the brain, such as the growth of new brain cells (neu­rons) and new con­nec­tions (synaps­es) between neu­rons. Plas­tic­i­ty is observed at all ages but is at its peak dur­ing brain devel­op­ment, as a baby and then a child learns basic knowl­edge and skills nec­es­sary to sur­vive. We should thus expect that the brain of a baby could be eas­i­ly trained. This is what Wass and his col­leagues recent­ly demon­strat­ed in a new study with 11-month-old babies. Read the rest of this entry »

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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.

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