Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Playing American football before age 12 is linked to long-term neuropsychiatric and cognitive problems

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Tackle football before age 12 may boost risks of cognitive, mood disorders (Ars Technica):

“Taking hard knocks early in life could shove football players toward neurological problems later, a new study suggests.

Among 214 former amateur and professional male football players, those who started playing early—particularly before the age of 12—had greater risks of reporting depression and impaired behavioral regulation and executive function around their 50s, researchers found Read the rest of this entry »

Study shows how online mindfulness interventions can reduce work-related rumination and fatigue, and improve sleep quality

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Work these days often comes with long hours, emotionally draining colleagues, and complex problems that require an enormous amount of mental energy. So it’s no surprise that many of us have a hard time leaving work-related thoughts at the office.

“Surveys have shown that between 16 and 25 percent of the workforce have regular issues of not being able to switch off and are upset or distressed by work-related thoughts,” says Mark Cropley, a professor of health psychology at the University of Surrey. That can lead to a host of mental and physical health issues, including difficulty focusing and depression. Read the rest of this entry »

Trend: Biopharma embraces digital cognitive assessments to identify behavioral health biomarkers

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The hunt for behavioral health biomarkers is harnessing digital health at the research stage (MedCity News):

“Digital health companies are going through an interesting transformation as research institutions realize the benefit of their technology to collect and manage data for a host of studies. The biopharma industry’s embrace of some digital health tools to manage the costs of drug development has led to more frequent collaborations with Read the rest of this entry »

Brainy Innovation Tips from Edward Kliphuis, Investment Director with Merck Ventures

Edward Kliphuis

Question: Edward, please share 1-2 major brain health needs you observe right now whose solution demands a creative and significant tech-enabled innovation.

Answer: We need to target depression, stress and fatigue in a quantifiable manner (ie. no wellness-like claims, but real data supporting an improvement in the aforementioned indications). Treatments and early detection too.

Also, ways  to monitor longitudinal cognitive abilities (ie. person-specific brain function over the course of a number of years). Done on a wider population this could provide insights into the impact of certain external factors such as food, air quality, etc.

 

Question: And what advice would you give an entrepreneur launching an innovation to address those needs–for the approach to be successful and sustainable?

Answer: Focus on the right model from day one: You need to identify right away the best approach for the opportunity at hand — for example, regulated medical approach vs. general wellness? Both are viable but going from unregulated to regulated is hardly possible whereas the opposite is viable (although creates a risk of off-label use…)

 

— Edward Kliphuis is an Investment Director with Merck Ventures BV, the Corporate Venture Capital arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. He is responsible for the New Businesses fund, which invests globally in transformational ideas driven by great entrepreneurs. The New Businesses fund seeks to invest in strategic opportunities beyond Merck’s current businesses, make cross over investments between businesses and invest in digitization opportunities. The total volume of the corporate venture fund is €300 million. He will serve as a Judge in the first Brainnovations Pitch Contest hosted by the 2017 SharpBrains Virtual Summit: Brain Enhancement in the Digital Age (December 5-7th, 2017).

— Brainnovations Judging Panel

Update: 35% of worldwide dementia cases could be prevented by modifying these 9 modifiable risk factors

Time for SharpBrains’ July e-newsletter, featuring fascinating scientific findings, emerging brain health practices and insights…and some fun teasers.

New research

Let’s start with the key take-aways from a new and very insightful evidence review which found nine modifiable risk factors for dementia — accounting for 35% of all cases:
— Education by age 15 (during early life)
— Hypertension; Obesity; Hearing loss (in mid-life)
— Depression; Diabetes; Physical inactivity; Smoking; Low social contact (in later life)

New thinking

Upcoming events

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Finally, you may want to Test your Brain and Mind with these 9 Classic Optical Illusions 🙂

 

Have a great August!

The SharpBrains Team

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