Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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March/ April Update: Brain Health Status Quo No Longer An Option

The 2011 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit (March 30th — April 1st) gath­ered more than 260 research and indus­try lead­ers from 16 coun­tries for 3 days to dis­cuss the chang­ing land­scape of Brain Health and Cog­ni­tive Fit­ness. It was a great suc­cess! Find the key lessons and take-home points from the Sum­mit in these 2 arti­cles by Drs. Jamie Wil­son and Luc Beau­doin, respec­tive­ly: 10 Emerg­ing Themes:  Why Brain Health Sta­tus Quo is Not an Option and 7 Key Lessons from the Sharp­Brains Sum­mit.

Con­sid­er this: “Col­lab­o­ra­tion is emerg­ing in ways that were unthink­able only a few years ago. Researchers are open­ing up their data and method­olo­gies to gain insights from one anoth­er. Com­mer­cial orga­ni­za­tions are part­ner­ing via dig­i­tal chan­nels, con­tent syn­di­ca­tion and oth­er areas of best prac­tice. Social entre­pre­neurs and local prac­ti­tion­ers are shar­ing  moti­va­tional tips and edu­ca­tional resources in their efforts to build pro­grams from the bot­tom up.  Open inno­va­tion is dri­ving a bet­ter mar­ket­place for con­sumers. All these col­lab­o­ra­tive efforts are the seeds of suc­cess­ful inno­va­tion, and despite still being in the foothills, it would seem bet­ter to go hand in hand, than tak­ing a lone­ly road.”

We hope the arti­cles of this free newslet­ter will help you think about the future and your own role in shap­ing it as a pro­fes­sion­al and/ or a life­long learn­er.

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Brain and Neuroplasticity

Med­i­ta­tion and the Brain: This arti­cle by Greater Good Mag­a­zine dis­cuss­es how med­i­tat­ing can increase the den­sity of gray mat­ter in brain regions asso­ci­ated with mem­ory, stress, and empa­thy. 

The Ben­e­fits of a One-Time Cog­ni­tive Train­ing Pro­gram: They last but wane over time as shown in the 3‑month fol­low-up results of the IMPACT study.

Can Direct Brain Stim­u­la­tion Boost Per­for­mance? The answer seems to be yes, accord­ing to three stud­ies using dif­fer­ent types of electrical/magnetic brain stim­u­la­tion.

How the Brain of a Blind Per­son Rewires Itself: The brain areas devot­ed to vision in peo­ple with eye sight turn out to be respond­ing to speech in blind peo­ple.

How are Young Brains Affect­ed by Stress? An inter­est­ing arti­cle from the Dana Foun­da­tion on the con­se­quences of ear­ly life stress.

Can weight loss boost mem­o­ry? The mem­ory of obese patients under­go­ing gas­tric-bypass surgery is shown to improve 12 weeks after surgery.

The Inner Savant In All of Us: Scott Kauf­man inter­views Dr. Tre­f­fert, expect on savan­tism and autism, tech­ni­cal con­sul­tant to the award-win­ning movie Rain Man, to dis­cuss the hid­den brain poten­tials that may lie dor­mant in all of us.

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Assessments and Remediation

Dri­ving Safe­ly after a Stroke: Scores for 3 sim­ple cog­ni­tive tests were found to pre­dict the actu­al dri­ving eval­u­a­tion out­come of many peo­ple after a stroke.

Schiz­o­phre­nia Research is Lead­ing the Way: An inter­est­ing review of the dif­fer­ent cog­ni­tive reme­di­a­tion tech­niques used with peo­ple suf­fer­ing from schiz­o­phre­nia.

Vir­tu­al Real­i­ty Games for Stroke Patients: Promis­ing results show that vir­tual real­ity and oth­er video games involv­ing motion can enhance motor improve­ment after a stroke.

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Books

Children’s Self Con­trol and Cre­ativ­i­ty: Two Seeds of Intel­li­gence: An excerpt from the book Brain Rules for Baby, by John Med­ina, that pro­vides a good sum­mary of the cog­ni­tive sci­ence find­ings shed­ding light on how a baby’s brain grows from 0 to 5.

Inte­gra­tive Neu­ro­science, Per­son­al­ized Med­i­cine: This book takes an in depth and hard look at the cur­rent sta­tus and future direc­tion of treat­ment pre­dic­tive mark­ers in Per­son­al­ized Med­i­cine for the brain.

The Longevi­ty Project: UC-River­side researchers Howard Fried­man and Leslie Mar­tin draw key lessons from an eight-decade-long Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity Ter­man study of 1,500 peo­ple.

Exploit­ing Tech­nol­o­gy and Col­lab­o­ra­tion to Enable Qual­i­ty Aging. In this essay, extract­ed from the book Longevi­ty Rules, Joseph Cough­lin explores the role that tech­nol­ogy can play in aging well.

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Brain Teaser

Brain Games to Test Your Mem­o­ry: Dis­cov­er how well you can remem­ber ran­dom words and names.

We hope you enjoyed this edi­tion of the Sharp­Brains eNewslet­ter. Please do feel free to share this with friends and col­leagues. The more, the mer­ri­er!

AAA to deploy Brain Fitness Software DriveSharp to Assess and Train Older Driver’s Brains

The AAA Foun­da­tion for Traf­fic Safe­ty just start­ed to rec­om­mend a new dri­ver safe­ty pro­gram called Dri­ve­Sharp (see AAA and Posit Release Pro­gram to Improve Dri­vers’ Minds), devel­oped by Posit Sci­ence. Dri­ve­Sharp is a com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive assess­ment and train­ing tool based on Kar­lene Bal­l’s research on old­er adults’ cog­ni­tive fit­ness and dri­ving.

In the press release for the agree­ment, Peter Kissinger, dri­ver safe­ty research and pol­i­cy vet­er­an and CEO of the AAA Foun­da­tion, says thatPeter Kissinger AAA Foundation “Part of mak­ing our nation’s roads safer is help­ing mature dri­vers who wish to stay active — a quick­ly grow­ing pop­u­la­tion — main­tain or improve their dri­ving safe­ty.”

We have Peter Kissinger with us to dis­cuss the con­text for this inno­v­a­tive ini­tia­tive.

Peter, I appre­ci­ate your time. In order to set the con­text, would you intro­duce the role and pri­or­i­ties of the AAA Foun­da­tion?

Sure. All your read­ers will know that AAA is the main dri­ver asso­ci­a­tion in North Amer­i­ca, with over 50 mil­lion mem­bers. The AAA Foun­da­tion is focused on the research and pol­i­cy required to improve dri­ver safe­ty and has 4 strate­gic pri­or­i­ties:
— Intro­duce a cul­ture of traf­fic safe­ty. It is an out­rage that there is a dri­ving-relat­ed death every 13 min­utes in the US, and yet, we seem to accept this as sta­tus quo
— Improve road safe­ty, espe­cial­ly on rur­al roads, where almost 60% of the deaths occur,
— Improve safe­ty among teens, one of the high­est risk groups
— Improve safe­ty among seniors, anoth­er high-risk group.

In terms of dri­ver-cen­tered inter­ven­tions, are your pri­or­i­ties are teenage and old­er dri­vers?

driver fatality rateYes. You have prob­a­bly seen the U‑shaped risk curve (Edi­tor note: see fig­ure at left) that shows how acci­dent risks are very high among teenagers, then decrease and remain sta­ble until our 60s, and then increase again.

We have pro­mot­ed ini­tia­tives such as Dri­verZED (see www.driverzed.org) to help teenagers bet­ter iden­ti­fy and man­age the typ­i­cal sources of risk, so they advance faster through the learn­ing curve. For old­er dri­vers we focus on how to bal­ance the priv­i­lege of dri­ving with the right of mobil­i­ty — we know that los­ing dri­ving inde­pen­dence can bring a vari­ety of neg­a­tive con­se­quences for the indi­vid­ual.

Giv­en aging pop­u­la­tion trends, it is clear we need to intro­duce bet­ter sys­tems to bal­ance those two goals you just out­lined ‑safe­ty and mobil­i­ty. Do you think as a soci­ety we are pre­pared?

I don’t think we are, and I am pes­simistic that we will be in the short term. This is a very impor­tant prob­lem: offi­cial esti­mates say that the pro­por­tion of all dri­vers who are over 65 years of age will grow from 15% today to 25% in 2025.

Let me give you some back­ground: two years ago we put togeth­er a work­shop to iden­ti­fy the state of the research and the state of the prac­tice of dri­ver safe­ty among Read the rest of this entry »

Games for Health Conference Announces First Cognitive Health Track Powered by SharpBrains

This is a press release that went through the wire ear­li­er today. If you are inter­est­ed, in attend­ing the con­fer­ence, you can learn more and reg­is­ter Here

Note that below you can find 5 out of the 12 ses­sions — we will announce the full track tomor­row. To get a 15% off reg­is­tra­tion fees, you can use dis­count code: sharp09, when you reg­is­ter.


The Games for Health Project, orga­niz­ers of the 5th Annu­al Games for Health Con­fer­ence, today announced its first Cog­ni­tive Health Track pow­ered by Sharp­Brains, a lead­ing mar­ket research com­pa­ny focused on the brain fit­ness and the cog­ni­tive health mar­ket.

The Cog­ni­tive Health track builds upon pre­vi­ous year’s sam­pling of ses­sions look­ing at cog­ni­tive health and fit­ness, expand­ing to a full two-day track at The Games for Health Con­fer­ence, June 11–12, Boston, MA. The Con­fer­ence fea­tures the largest gath­er­ing of orga­ni­za­tions inter­est­ed in the inter­sec­tion between videogames, health and health­care.

There is already a very active cog­ni­tive health videogames indus­try and field of research,” said Ben Sawyer, co-founder of the Games for Health Con­fer­ence. “We part­nered with Sharp­Brains to bring their exper­tise in this field our con­fer­ence plan­ning. Togeth­er we have for the first time cre­at­ed a pow­er­ful set of ses­sions and a much need­ed con­ver­sa­tion with researchers, thought-lead­ers and indus­try pio­neers who will attend the event in June.”

The track fea­tures a dozen ses­sions cov­er­ing research find­ings and part­ner­ships, imple­men­ta­tion in insur­ance, con­sumer and clin­i­cal set­tings, and spe­cial ses­sions look­ing at inno­v­a­tive areas such as dri­ver safe­ty, healthy aging, atten­tion deficits, stroke/traumatic brain injury, schiz­o­phre­nia and mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis.

The con­ver­gence of inter­ac­tive media such as videogames with cog­ni­tive sci­ence opens the door to inno­v­a­tive and scal­able approach­es to Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Cognitive Fitness Events of 2008 (Webinar)

We have just announced an upcom­ing webi­nar to pro­vide a mar­ket update:  Top 10 Cog­ni­tive Fit­ness Events of 2008 — A Mar­ket Update.

cognitive fitness When: Thurs­day Decem­ber 11th, from 12:00 to 1:00 pm Pacif­ic Time. The same webi­nar will be repeat­ed on Thurs­day Decem­ber 18th, from 9:00 to 10:00 pm Pacif­ic Time.

The Top 10 Cog­ni­tive Fit­ness Events that will be dis­cussed include:

1) Feb­ru­ary: Dakim secures a $10.6m invest­ment from Galen Part­ners. Jack LaLanne becomes spokesper­son.
2) April: The Gov­ern­ment of Ontario, Cana­da, invests $10m in Bay­crest to devel­op and com­mer­cial­ize cog­ni­tive fit­ness tech­nolo­gies.
3) April: Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan researchers reveal in the Pro­ceed­ings of the Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences how com­put­er­ized work­ing mem­o­ry train­ing can gen­er­al­ize and improve flu­id intel­li­gence in healthy adults.
4) May: Humana unveils Games for Health ini­tia­tives, not renew­ing its agree­ment with Posit Sci­ence.
5) June: The US Army launch­es a new pol­i­cy requir­ing cog­ni­tive screen­ings of all sol­diers before deploy­ment (in order to Read the rest of this entry »

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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