Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Update: Trained older brains can outperform untrained younger ones at demanding cognitive tasks

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Time for Sharp­Brains e‑newsletter, fea­tur­ing the lat­est research, tools and think­ing for life­long brain health and men­tal well-being — and a cou­ple fun brain teasers 🙂

New brain research:

New neurotech and digital health:

New thinking on brain and mind:

And a couple fun brain teasers:

 

Have a great month of Sep­tem­ber,

 

The Sharp­Brains Team

Trend: Pharma industry warming up to digital therapeutics

– Som­ryst app by Pear Ther­a­peu­tics

Dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics have poten­tial but com­mer­cial suc­cess unproven (Van­tage):

Devel­op­ing drugs to treat dis­or­ders of the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem is famous­ly fraught with dif­fi­cul­ty. Sev­er­al com­pa­nies, includ­ing Pear Ther­a­peu­tics and Dthera, are tak­ing a wild­ly dif­fer­ent approach: dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics. These are pieces of soft­ware designed to treat dis­ease that are reg­u­lat­ed, pre­scribed and even paid for as if they were drugs … Pear is so far the only com­pa­ny to have brought a dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tic to mar­ket – but it is by no means the only com­pa­ny in this space. Akili Inter­ac­tive has­filed for FDA approval of AKL-T01, a com­put­er game designed to treat ADHD, and Read the rest of this entry »

Can digital Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBTi) become the universal first-line treatment for insomnia?

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Pear Ther­a­peu­tics’ dig­i­tal insom­nia ther­a­peu­tic will put FDA’s Pre­Cert frame­work through its paces (Mobi­Health­News):

Pre­scrip­tion dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics com­pa­ny Pear Ther­a­peu­tics announced late last week that it has filed an FDA mar­ket­ing autho­riza­tion for Som­ryst, its dig­i­tal cog­ni­tive behav­ioral ther­a­py for the treat­ment of adults with chron­ic insom­nia and depres­sion.

While an approval from the agency would mark the third autho­rized pre­scrip­tion dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tic for Pear Read the rest of this entry »

The Future of Brain Health & Wellness as seen by Joy Ventures, Total Brain, Vielight, Arrowsmith, Peak, CABHI and NeurotechX

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Dur­ing Expo Day at the 2019 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit (May 7–9th), select­ed Sum­mit Spon­sors and Part­ners had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to show­case their most promis­ing brain health & well­ness ini­tia­tives and solu­tions. We hope you enjoy their slid­edecks below! (and please remem­ber that the full record­ings are avail­able for pur­chase here)

8.30am. Dr. Hag­it Alon, VP Sci­en­tif­ic Affairs of Joy Ven­tures,  pre­sent­ed their “Neu­ro-Well­ness” phi­los­o­phy and approach to invest in sci­en­tif­ic research and in entre­pre­neurs: 

 

9.15am. Mar­cel Legrand, Chief Rev­enue Offi­cer of Total Brain, pro­vid­ed an overview of their new plat­form to bet­ter assess, under­stand and improve brain capac­i­ties:

 

10am. Dr. Lew Lim, Founder & CEO of Vielight, explored the lat­est on pho­to­bio­mod­u­la­tion and brain stim­u­la­tion: 

 

11am. Deb­bie Gilmore, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of The Arrow­smith Pro­gram, dis­cussed plans to bet­ter equip 100+ schools help­ing stu­dents with spe­cial needs: 

 

11.45am. Xavier Louis, CEO of Peak, out­lined their plans to bring to mar­ket engag­ing, self-serve and evi­dence-based dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics:

 

12.30pm. Mel Barsky, Direc­tor at Cen­tre for Aging + Brain Health Inno­va­tion (CABHI), announced a new call for inno­va­tion where CABHI will be fund­ing nov­el ideas from point-of-care work­ers that can help to improve brain health in old­er adults:

 

1.15pm. Syd­ney Swaine-Simon, Co-Founder of Neu­rotechX, intro­duced new learn­ing resources and their grow­ing com­mu­ni­ty of neu­rotech experts, entre­pre­neurs, and enthu­si­asts: 

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10 Highlights from the 2019 SharpBrains Virtual Summit to shape the Future of Brain & Mental Health

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Wow. Fas­ci­nat­ing three days last week. Some of our favorite moments and take-aways…

1. Dr. Tom Insel pro­vid­ed a spec­tac­u­lar overview of the dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion in brain health and men­tal health. While we have his­tor­i­cal­ly failed to bend the curve as well as in oth­er areas of health, since “you can’t man­age what you can’t mea­sure”, new dig­i­tal and neu­ro­log­i­cal mon­i­tor­ing tech­nolo­gies are final­ly allow­ing us to rem­e­dy that fun­da­men­tal issue so we can iden­ti­fy prob­lems ear­ly and inter­vene ear­ly. Mul­ti­ple Speak­ers dur­ing the Sum­mit like Dr. Sri­jan Sen, Jan Samzelius and Louis Gagnon built upon Insel’s remarks with much research, tech and exam­ples.

2. Richard Han­bury won the 2019 Brainnova­tions Pitch Con­test by pre­sent­ing a nov­el com­bi­na­tion of audio-visu­al stim­u­la­tion and neu­ro­feed­back train­ing to  alle­vi­ate chron­ic pain. Our “Sharp Tank” Judges were very impressed by Kate Sharadin work too, who came in as close sec­ond thanks to her dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics start­up.

3. Dr. Anna Wexler, Dr. Karen Rom­melfanger and Jacque­line Stud­er shared a fas­ci­nat­ing ses­sion on pri­va­cy and ethics, help­ing to bridge acad­e­mia and indus­try. We lack clear stan­dards and tax­onomies for neu­rotech­nol­o­gy, but they men­tioned sev­er­al ini­tia­tives to antic­i­pate and address the chal­lenges, and  encour­aged par­tic­i­pants to be aspi­ra­tional rather than “legal­is­tic” — by con­sid­er­ing diverse per­spec­tives, striv­ing for the widest ben­e­fit with the min­i­mum risks, and edu­cat­ing users, we can enable ben­e­fi­cial inno­va­tion in ways that reg­u­la­tion alone, as impor­tant as it is, prob­a­bly can­not.

4. Sev­er­al pre­sen­ters includ­ing Dr. Lew Lim, Ana Maiques and Nick­o­lai Vysokov dis­cussed the grow­ing field of adap­tive and per­son­al­ized neu­ro­mod­u­la­tion meth­ods. This emerg­ing tech­nol­o­gy class deserves atten­tion and research, as it could mean a non-inva­sive, non-phar­ma­co­log­ic treat­ment for a vari­ety of con­di­tions. (For exam­ple, the FDA recent­ly cleared the use of the first non-drug treat­ment for ADHD thanks to the study dis­cussed here).

5. The theme of per­son­al­iza­tion was also dis­cussed by pre­sen­ters work­ing on an array of brain-based and cog­ni­tive ther­a­pies in schools, the work­place and con­sumer tech. Speak­ers like David Klein, Ariel Garten, and Dr. Gre­go­ry Rose dis­cussed emerg­ing find­ings and best prac­tices in the “real word” out­side of research labs and clin­i­cal set­tings.

6. Back to cut­ting-edge research, Dr. Nir Gross­man and Dr. Reza Zomor­ro­di unveiled excit­ing advances in non-inva­sive brain stim­u­la­tion while Dr. Peter White­house remind­ed us of the crit­i­cal impor­tance of soci­etal fac­tors which impact the indi­vid­ual brain and of com­mu­ni­ty-based inter­ven­tions that can help pro­mote brain health. Dr. Hag­it Alon dis­cussed fund­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to advance the “Neu­ro-Well­ness” field.

7. Dr. Dean­na Bel­sky, Dr. Tony Chang, Avery Bedows, Elan Tye and oth­er ven­ture investors through­out the Sum­mit dis­cussed the oppor­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges for a suc­cess­ful mar­riage of research and com­mer­cial­iza­tion,  nav­i­gat­ing the com­bi­na­tion of reli­able sci­ence and tech, fea­si­bil­i­ty, and mar­ket need.

8. We had an “Oprah moment” when Mar­cel Legrand at Total Brain promised to give away licens­es for all Sum­mit par­tic­i­pants to try out their cor­po­rate well­ness plat­form to bet­ter assess, under­stand and improve brain capac­i­ties.

9. Dr. Margie Mor­ris pre­sent­ed Left to Our Own Devices (MIT Press; 2018), a great book pro­vid­ing mul­ti­ple sto­ries and exam­ples on how to out­smart our smart­phones,  and Alvaro Fer­nan­dez pre­sent­ed his lat­est book El Cere­bro Que Cura (“The Brain That Heals;” Platafor­ma Edi­to­r­i­al; 2019), co-authored with Dr. Alvaro Pas­cual-Leone, which pro­pos­es a sim­ple but rev­o­lu­tion­ary idea — a healthy mind/brain is both the prod­uct and the dri­ver of over­all phys­i­cal health.

10. All this, and much more, hap­pened dur­ing 3‑days and engag­ing up to 174 par­tic­i­pants in 18 coun­tries…and yet not even one per­son out­side the orga­niz­ing team had to jump on a flight and gen­er­ate tons of trav­el-relat­ed CO2 emis­sions…

Time to pro­tect those pre­cious nat­ur­al resources out­side AND inside our skulls 🙂

 

– Alvaro Fer­nan­dez is the CEO & Edi­tor-in-Chief of Sharp­Brains, and Bran­don Frank is a PhD can­di­date at Ford­ham Uni­ver­si­ty with a con­cen­tra­tion in Neu­ropsy­chol­o­gy.

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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