Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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The (Tailored) Future of New Driver Training

New dri­ver train­ing study high­lights impor­tance of post-licence skills (Sci­ence Net­work):

Crash rates are high­est imme­di­ate­ly after licensing…so there is poten­tial for improv­ing safe­ty dur­ing the first six months,” Dr Bean­land says…“Driving involves a high­ly com­plex skill set, so dri­vers need some kind of train­ing and prac­tice to acquire those skills…The paper found cog­ni­tive skills train­ing (par­tic­u­lar­ly haz­ard per­cep­tion) had the poten­tial to sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduce crash risk, and Read the rest of this entry »

Peter Kissinger on Brain Retraining for U.S. Drivers

The Pres­i­dent of the AAA Foun­da­tion for Traf­fic Safe­ty will pro­vide an update on Brain Retrain­ing for U.S. Dri­vers, at the upcom­ing 2012 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit (June 7–14th, 2012), dis­cussing the progress of this  ini­tia­tive since 2009.

J. Peter Kissinger is the Pres­i­dent and Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer of the AAA Foun­da­tion for Traf­fic Safe­ty, a posi­tion he assumed in May of 2002. The Foun­da­tion is a pub­licly sup­ported, char­i­ta­ble research and edu­ca­tional orga­ni­za­tion Read the rest of this entry »

When and Why Should Drivers with Cognitive Impairment Stop Driving (And How to Delay It)

Ontario says tougher rules expect­ed for dri­vers with demen­tia (Toron­to Star):

- “In the wake of a Star series on dri­vers with cog­ni­tive impair­ment, Chiarel­li pre­dict­ed there will be a “tight­en­ing across the board” of the sys­tem that allows many seniors with demen­tia to dri­ve unchecked.”

- “The min­istry is con­sid­er­ing mak­ing the fol­low­ing changes: bet­ter train­ing for fam­i­ly doc­tors on report­ing cog­ni­tive­ly impaired patients who dri­ve; more rig­or­ous on-road test­ing of senior dri­vers; and the intro­duc­tion of grad­u­at­ed licens­ing for some seniors who, like teenage dri­vers, would not be allowed to dri­ve at night or on 400-series high­ways.” Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Brain Fitness/ Training Report Finds Market Growth, Potential, and Confusion

After many many months of men­tal stim­u­la­tion, phys­i­cal exer­cise and the cer­tain need for stress man­age­ment… we have just announced the release of the The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2009 report, our sec­ond annu­al com­pre­hen­sive mar­ket analy­sis of the US mar­ket for com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive assess­ment and train­ing tools. In this report we esti­mate the size of the US brain fit­ness soft­ware mar­ket at $265M in 2008, up from $225M in 2007 (18% annu­al growth), and from $100m in 2005. Two seg­ments fuelled the mar­ket growth from 2007 to 2008: con­sumers (grew from $80m to $95m) and health­care & insur­ance providers (grew from $65m to $80m).

The 150-page report finds promis­ing research and ini­tia­tives to dri­ve sig­nif­i­cant growth, com­bined with increased con­sumer con­fu­sion giv­en aggres­sive mar­ket­ing claims and lack of edu­ca­tion and stan­dards. The report includes:
— The com­plete results of an exclu­sive Jan­u­ary 2009 Sur­vey with 2,000+ respon­dents
— A pro­pri­etary Mar­ket & Research Momen­tum Matrix to cat­e­go­rize 21 key ven­dors into four cat­e­gories
— 10 Research Exec­u­tive Briefs writ­ten by lead­ing sci­en­tists at promi­nent research labs
— An analy­sis of the lev­el of clin­i­cal val­i­da­tion per prod­uct and cog­ni­tive domain

Top 10 High­lights from the report:

1) Con­sumers, seniors, com­mu­ni­ties and insur­ance providers drove year on year sus­tained growth, from $225m in 2007 to $265m in 2008. Rev­enues may reach between $1 bil­lion to $5 bil­lion by 2015, depend­ing on how impor­tant prob­lems (Pub­lic Aware­ness, Nav­i­gat­ing Claims, Research, Health Cul­ture, Lack of Assess­ment) are addressed.

2) Increased inter­est and con­fu­sion: 61% of respon­dents Strong­ly Agree with the state­ment Address­ing cog­ni­tive and brain health should be a health­care pri­or­i­ty. But, 65% Agree/Strongly Agree. I don’t real­ly know what to expect from prod­ucts mak­ing brain claims.

3) Invest­ment in R&D seeds future growth: Land­mark invest­ments by insur­ance providers and gov­ern­ment-fund­ed research insti­tutes test­ing new brain fit­ness appli­ca­tions plant­ed new seeds for future growth.

4) Becom­ing stan­dard in res­i­den­tial facil­i­ties: Over 700 res­i­den­tial facil­i­ties most­ly Inde­pen­dent and Assist­ed Liv­ing facil­i­ties and CCRCs have installed com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive train­ing pro­grams.

5) Cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion: Con­sumers seem more sat­is­fied with com­put­er-based prod­ucts than paper-based options. But, sat­is­fac­tion dif­fers by prod­uct. When asked I got real val­ue for my mon­ey, results were as fol­lows: Lumosity.com (65% Agree), Puz­zle Books (60%), Posit Sci­ence (52%), Nin­ten­do (51%) agreed. Posit Sci­ence (53% Agree) and Lumosity.com (51%) do bet­ter than Puz­zle Books (39%) and Nin­ten­do (38%) at I have seen the results I want­ed.

6) Assess­ments: Increas­ing adop­tion of com­put­er-based cog­ni­tive assess­ments to base­line and track cog­ni­tive func­tions over time in mil­i­tary, sports, and clin­i­cal con­texts. The Alzheimer’s Foun­da­tion of Amer­i­ca now advo­cates for wide­spread cog­ni­tive screen­ings after 65–75.

7) Spe­cif­ic com­put­er­ized cog­ni­tive train­ing and videogames have been shown to improve brain func­tions, but the key ques­tions are, Which ones, and Who needs what when?

8) Aggres­sive mar­ket­ing claims are cre­at­ing con­fu­sion and skep­ti­cism, result­ing in a dis­tract­ing con­tro­ver­sy between two mis­lead­ing extremes: (a) buy­ing prod­uct XYZ can reju­ve­nate your brain Y years or (b) those prod­ucts don’t work; just do one more cross­word puz­zle. The upcom­ing book The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness aims to help con­sumers nav­i­gate these claims.

9) Devel­op­ers can be clas­si­fied into four groups, based on a pro­pri­etary Mar­ket and Research Momen­tum Matrix: Sharp­Brains finds 4 Lead­ers, 8 High Poten­tials, 3 Cross­words 2.0, and 6 Wait & See com­pa­nies.

10) Increased dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion: Lead­ing com­pa­nies are bet­ter defin­ing their val­ue propo­si­tion and dis­tri­b­u­tion chan­nels to reach spe­cif­ic seg­ments such as retire­ment com­mu­ni­ties, schools, or health­care providers.

Lead­ing researchers pre­pared 10 Research Exec­u­tive Briefs:
- Dr. Joshua Stein­er­man (Ein­stein-Mon­te­o­re): Neu­ro­pro­tec­tion via cog­ni­tive activ­i­ties
— Dr. Jer­ri Edwards (South Flori­da): Assess­ments of dri­ving fit­ness
— Dr. Susanne Jaeg­gi and Dr. Mar­tin Buschkuehl (Bern, Michi­gan): Work­ing mem­o­ry train­ing and  intel­li­gence
— Dr. Torkel Kling­berg (Karolin­s­ka): Work­ing mem­o­ry train­ing, dopamine, and math
— Dr. Liz Zelin­s­ki (UC Davis): Audi­to­ry pro­cess­ing train­ing
— Dr. David Vance (UAB): Speed-of-pro­cess­ing train­ing
— Dr. Jer­ri Edwards (South Flori­da): Cog­ni­tive train­ing for healthy aging
— Dr. Daphne Bave­li­er & Dr. Shawn Green (Rochester): Action videogames and atten­tion­al skills
— Dr. Arthur Kramer (Illi­nois): Strat­e­gy videogames and exec­u­tive func­tions
— Dr. Yaakov Stern (Colum­bia): The cog­ni­tive reserve and neu­roimag­ing
— Dr. David Rabin­er (Duke): Objec­tive assess­ments for ADHD

Table of Con­tents

Edi­to­r­i­al
Exec­u­tive Sum­ma­ry
Chap­ter 1. Bird-Eye View of the Grow­ing Field
Chap­ter 2. Mar­ket Sur­vey on Beliefs, Atti­tudes, Pur­chase Habits
Chap­ter 3. The Emerg­ing Com­pet­i­tive Land­scape
Chap­ter 4. The Sci­ence for Brain Fit­ness and Cog­ni­tive Health
Chap­ter 5. Con­sumers  Adopt­ing Cross­words 2.0?
Chap­ter 6: Health­care and Insur­ance Providers — A Cul­ture of Cog­ni­tive Health
Chap­ter 7: K12 School Sys­tems- Ready for Change?
Chap­ter 8: Mil­i­tary, Sports Teams, Com­pa­nies,  Brain-Per­for­mance Link
Chap­ter 9: Future Direc­tions‚ Pro­jec­tions and Bot­tle­necks

Com­pa­nies pro­filed include: Advanced Brain Tech­nolo­gies, Applied Cog­ni­tive Engi­neer­ing, Brain Cen­ter Amer­i­ca, Brain Resource, CNS Vital Signs, Cogmed, Cogstate, Cog­niFit, Cog­ni­tive Drug Research, Dakim, Houghton Mif­flin, Learn­ing Enhance­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, Learn­ingRx, Lumos Labs, Mar­bles: The Brain Store, Nin­ten­do, NovaV­i­sion, Posit Sci­ence, Sci­en­tif­ic Brain Train­ing, Sci­en­tif­ic Learn­ing, Trans­An­a­lyt­ics, vibrant­Brains, Vig­or­ous Mind, Viv­i­ty Labs.

More on the report by click­ing on The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2009.

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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