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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Edutainment meets brain development…for good and for bad

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In 1954, Walt Dis­ney was the first to envi­sion a new form of enter­tain­ment that meld­ed tra­di­tion­al fun and education—a form that he dubbed “edu­tain­ment.” By the lat­ter part of the 20th cen­tu­ry, this form had mor­phed into edu­ca­tion­al toys and games, a mul­ti-bil­lion-dol­lar indus­try that is pro­ject­ed to cap­ture a full 36 per­cent of the glob­al toy mar­ket share by 2022.

Nowhere is this trend more appar­ent than in the explo­sion of dig­i­tal apps: of the 2.2 mil­lion apps avail­able in the Apple Store, rough­ly 176,000—8.5 percent—are loose­ly des­ig­nat­ed as “ edu­ca­tion­al. ” Their growth con­tin­ues, with annu­al increas­es of 10 per­cent expect­ed through 2021. Whether called edu­tain­ment, edu­ca­tion­al toys, or the dig­i­tal learn­ing rev­o­lu­tion, this trend shares the implic­it phi­los­o­phy that mix­ing fun and learn­ing will offer a kind of “brain train­ing” that will enhance children’s think­ing and ampli­fy their learn­ing poten­tial.

But there are many ques­tions before us. What do man­u­fac­tur­ers and mar­keters mean when they des­ig­nate a prod­uct “edu­ca­tion­al?” Keep read­ing Brain Train­ing for Kids: Adding a Human Touch over at the Dana Foun­da­tion.

Related reading:

The Brain Fitness/ Training Market: An Executive Summary

Over the next weeks we are going to be shar­ing the Exec­u­tive Sum­ma­ry of our mar­ket report The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2008 with mem­bers and clients of sev­er­al part­ner orga­ni­za­tions (the British Colum­bia Seniors Liv­ing Asso­ci­a­tion, where I will be speak­ing this Thurs­day, Neu­rotech Reports, where I will speak on Octo­ber 24th, and the Health 2.0 con­fer­ence, where we are spon­sor­ing a pan­el on gam­ing for health), so it is only fair that we first share it with our own read­ers.

Exec­u­tive Sum­ma­ry

A spate of recent glob­al news cov­er­age on brain fit­ness and brain train­ing reflects a grow­ing inter­est in nat­ur­al, non drug-based inter­ven­tions to keep our brains sharp as we age. This inter­est is very time­ly, giv­en an aging pop­u­la­tion, increas­ing preva­lence of Alzheimer’s rates, and soar­ing health care costs in the US that place more empha­sis than ever on pre­ven­tion and lifestyle changes.

US brain fit­ness mar­ket: sig­nif­i­cant and grow­ing

We esti­mate the size of the US brain fit­ness mar­ket was $225m in 2007 – more than dou­ble what it was in 2005. Where­as K12 school sys­tems were the largest buy­ers in 2005, con­sumers were respon­si­ble for most of the growth from 2005 to 2007. We esti­mate that the con­sumer seg­ment grew from a few mil­lion in 2005 to $80m in 2007, and fore­see sig­nif­i­cant mar­ket growth dri­ven not only by con­sumers but also by health­care and insur­ance providers.

Mar­ket dynam­ics

As we speak to diverse audi­ences about this emerg­ing field around the coun­try we are fre­quent­ly asked the fol­low­ing ques­tions:

- Why are we talk­ing about the brain fit­ness field at all?

Over the past decade, teams backed by neu­ro­sci­en­tists around the world Read the rest of this entry »

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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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