Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Improving brain fitness literacy in Japan

Shoukei Matsumoto and Alvaro Fernandez. Courtesy of Newsweek Japan

– Shoukei Mat­sumo­to and Alvaro Fer­nan­dez. Cour­tesy of Newsweek Japan

Newsweek Japan just pub­lished this great arti­cle to dis­sem­i­nate lat­est think­ing and research about med­i­ta­tion, brain fit­ness and dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies, based on Alvaro Fer­nan­dez’ trip last week to dis­cuss How is our soci­etal obses­sion with tech­nol­o­gy chang­ing our health and well-being at the World Forum on Sport and Cul­ture in Tokyo.

Key insights dis­cussed, com­ing from The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­nessnow in Japan­ese!–, includ­ed:

1) We are smarter and health­i­er than ever, so it is not true that tech­nol­o­gy (or Google) is killing our brains.

2) But it’s true is that we are fac­ing grow­ing health and brain chal­lenges. Why? Because, even if we are smarter and health­i­er, our fit­ness is not keep­ing up with the demands on our brains and minds in our increas­ing­ly com­plex work and life envi­ron­ment. Read the rest of this entry »

Barcelona talk: How Digital Tech will Transform Education, Training and Brain Health

If you hap­pen to be in Barcelona, Spain, on Sep­tem­ber 14th, make sure to attend Alvaro Fer­nan­dez talk there titled “How and Why Dig­i­tal Tech­nol­o­gy Will Trans­form Edu­ca­tion, Train­ing and Brain Health”.

  • Date: 14/09/2010
  • Time: 19:00
  • Place: ESADEFORUM. Av. Pedralbes 60–62.

Descrip­tion: You have a brain. Make it reflect on this provoca­tive vision of how the con­ver­gence of demo­graph­ic and polit­i­cal trends with the dis­cov­er­ies of neu­ro­science and dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy can give rise to a glob­al mar­ket capa­ble of trans­form­ing the way in which we devel­op and main­tain our brains, in order to attain the high­est pos­si­ble lev­el of brain health and per­for­mance through­out our lives. The neu­ro­sci­en­tist Ramón y Cajal once said: “Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculp­tor of his own brain”. This has become a pre­vail­ing desire, pro­mot­ed by baby boomers who, as they approach their 60th birth­day, embark on a search for life­long “brain fit­ness”.

Learn more and Reg­is­ter Here.

Technology as the missing link to enable a brain-based model of brain care: interview with Dr. John Docherty

Dr. John Docher­ty is an Adjunct Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chi­a­try at the Weill Med­ical Col­lege, Cor­nell Uni­ver­si­ty, Direc­tor of Post Grad­u­ate Edu­ca­tion there, and Chief Med­ical Offi­cer of Brain Resource. Trained as a clin­i­cal research fel­low in neu­ropsy­chophar­ma­col­o­gy at NIMH, he lat­er returned as Chief of the Psy­choso­cial Treat­ments Research Branch, respon­si­ble for all fed­er­al­ly sup­port­ed psy­choso­cial treat­ment research in men­tal health nation­wide. He over­saw the land­mark Nation­al Col­lab­o­ra­tive Study of the Treat­ment of Depres­sion and served as a mem­ber and Chair­man for over 10 years on the NIMH and then NIDA Treat­ment Research IRGs. Dr. Docher­ty has wide expe­ri­ence in suc­cess­ful­ly imple­ment­ing inno­va­tion in both clin­i­cal oper­a­tions and man­aged health care. He found­ed North­east Psy­chi­atric Asso­ciates in 1985. As Nation­al Med­ical Direc­tor for Nation­al Med­ical Enter­pris­es, he over­saw med­ical con­trol and qual­i­ty improve­ment in 74 hos­pi­tals in 34 states. He was the Exec­u­tive Vice-Pres­i­dent and Chief Med­ical Offi­cer for Mer­it Behav­ioral Care, which then cov­ered 30 mil­lion peo­ple. In 1998, he found­ed Com­pre­hen­sive Neu­ro­Science (CNS). Its Care Man­age­ment Tech­nolo­gies are cur­rent­ly imple­ment­ed in 17 state Med­ic­aid plans. Dr Docher­ty has received numer­ous hon­ors and awards and has authored over 100 sci­en­tif­ic pub­li­ca­tions.

(Editor’s note: this inter­view with Dr. John Docher­ty was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in Sharp­Brains’ mar­ket report Trans­form­ing Brain Health with Dig­i­tal Tools to Assess, Enhance and Treat Cog­ni­tion across the Lifes­pan, pub­lished in July 2010)

Alvaro Fer­nan­dez: Dr. Docher­ty, it is a plea­sure to be with you today to dis­cuss the main theme of Sharp­Brains’ 2010 mar­ket report – how the con­ver­gence of sci­en­tif­ic find­ings and tech­nol­o­gy plat­forms and tools is reshap­ing how as a soci­ety and as indi­vid­u­als we will take care of cog­ni­tion and men­tal well­ness along the life­course, giv­ing birth to the emerg­ing dig­i­tal brain health and fit­ness mar­ket. Can you first briefly dis­cuss your career tra­jec­to­ry and your cur­rent role at Brain Resource?

Dr. John Docher­ty: Sure. The main theme of my work since the 1960s has remained the same, “How do we put knowl­edge into effec­tive use to improve men­tal health?” Over the last cen­tu­ry, med­i­cine made tremen­dous progress in gen­er­at­ing sci­en­tif­ic and clin­i­cal knowl­edge. Basic research dis­cov­ery sci­ence and clin­i­cal treat­ment devel­op­ment sci­ence have made great progress. With­in Psy­chi­a­try there was stan­dard set­ting advance in the 1960’s through the NIMH-VA coop­er­a­tive stud­ies to the method­ol­o­gy of assess­ing the effi­ca­cy of psy­chophar­ma­co­log­i­cal drugs. This work estab­lished prin­ci­ples adopt­ed for the study of med­ica­tions in the oth­er areas of med­i­cine. The study of psy­chother­a­py, how­ev­er, lagged in devel­op­ment. In my role of Chief of the Psy­choso­cial Treat­ments Branch of the NIMH , I helped con­tribute to the advance of that work by sup­port­ing the efforts of an extra­or­di­nary group of indi­vid­u­als led by Irene Waskow who car­ried out the TDCRP. This study estab­lished the method­olo­gies that made pos­si­ble the effec­tive sci­en­tif­ic study of the effi­ca­cy of psy­chother­a­pies. The evi­dence base and of such treat­ments as CBT, DBT, Moti­va­tion­al Enhance­ment Treat­ment and oth­er evi­dence-based psy­chother­a­pies derives direct­ly from this study and its sem­i­nal influ­ence. This was a con­tri­bu­tion to the sci­ence of Clin­i­cal Treat­ment Devel­op­ment research.

I would say that my major inter­est, how­ev­er, has been in the next step, the sci­ence of knowl­edge trans­fer. There has been and remains a long and cost­ly (in terms par­tic­u­lar­ly of unnec­es­sary suf­fer­ing) lag between the devel­op­ment of new knowl­edge and its com­mon and effec­tive use in prac­tice.

In order the help the field moved for­ward, I have worked for the last 20 years in the devel­op­ment and imple­men­ta­tion of meth­ods to effec­tive­ly trans­fer knowl­edge into prac­tice. Read the rest of this entry »

New Report Finds A Brain Health Revolution in the Making, Driven by Digital Technology and Neuroplasticity Research

2010MarketReportIn spite of the recent eco­nom­ic down­turn, rev­enues for dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies to assess, enhance and treat cog­ni­tion, or dig­i­tal brain health and fit­ness tools, grew 35% in 2009. “The con­ver­gence of demo­graph­ic and pol­i­cy trends with cog­ni­tive neu­ro­science dis­cov­er­ies and tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tion is giv­ing birth to a nascent mar­ket­place that can fun­da­men­tal­ly trans­form what brain health is, how it is mea­sured, and how it is done,” says Alvaro Fer­nan­dez, mem­ber of the World Eco­nom­ic Forum’s Coun­cil on the Aging Soci­ety and Edi­tor-in-Chief of the report. “This ground­break­ing report can help pio­neers shape the emerg­ing toolk­it to ben­e­fit an aging soci­ety that increas­ing­ly seeks new ways to enhance cog­ni­tive func­tion­al­i­ty and men­tal well­ness across the lifes­pan.”

As the brain is thrust into the cen­ter of the health­care ecosys­tem, inno­v­a­tive cog­ni­tive health and brain fit­ness appli­ca­tions will play an increas­ing­ly impor­tant role in defin­ing neu­ro­cen­tric health,” adds Jake Duna­gan, Research Direc­tor at the Insti­tute For The Future.

Report: Trans­form­ing Brain Health with Dig­i­tal Tools to Assess, Enhance and Treat Cog­ni­tion across the Lifes­pan: The State of the Brain Fit­ness Mar­ket 2010.

A major­i­ty among the 1,900+ deci­sion-mak­ers and ear­ly-adopters sur­veyed said they trust­ed the effec­tive­ness of non-inva­sive options above inva­sive options to enhance crit­i­cal brain func­tion­al­i­ty. Pro­fes­sion­al and intel­lec­tu­al chal­lenges were rat­ed very effec­tive by 61% of respon­dents, aer­o­bic exer­cise and read­ing books by 42%, med­i­ta­tion by 38%, com­put­er­ized brain train­ing by 26%, tak­ing pre­scrip­tion drugs by 13%, tak­ing sup­ple­ments by 12%, and self-med­icat­ing with drugs by 1%.

These are among the key find­ings of a 207-page mar­ket report released today by Sharp­Brains and pre­pared in col­lab­o­ra­tion with 24 lead­ing sci­en­tists and 10 inno­v­a­tive orga­ni­za­tions — the most com­pre­hen­sive such research study done to ana­lyze emerg­ing research, tech­nolo­gies and mar­ket­place.

We must do for brain health in the 21st cen­tu­ry what we large­ly accom­plished in car­dio­vas­cu­lar health in the past cen­tu­ry. It’s time to take sci­en­tif­ic insights out of the lab and to iden­ti­fy prac­ti­cal appli­ca­tions, mak­ing the main­te­nance of good brain fit­ness a pub­lic health pri­or­i­ty,” indi­cates William Reich­man, MD, Pres­i­dent and CEO of Bay­crest.

Oth­er Report High­lights are: 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.

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