Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Icon

The Benefits of a One-Time Cognitive Training Program Do Last but Wane Over Time

Do you remember the IMPACT study published in 2009? It was a randomized clinical trial with healthy older adults that compared a computer-based cognitive program that trains audi­tory pro­cess­ing (Brain Fitness Program, Posit Science) with educational video programs (control group). People who used the program improved in the trained tasks, which was not that surprising, but there was also a clear ben­e­fit in audi­tory mem­ory, which wasn’t directly trained.

A 2011 paper reports the 3-month follow-up results of the IMPACT study. The 487 participants in the original study were 65 and older. Training was 1 hour a day, 4 to 5 days a week, for a total of 40 hours in 8 to 10 weeks. There was no contact with the researchers between the initial training study and the follow-up study.

The results showed that 3 months after the initial training most of the improvement observed in the training group was still present, although not as strongly. Read the rest of this entry »

Scientific critique of BBC/ Nature Brain Training Experiment

logo-bbcThere has been quite a bit of comment about the Owen et al study in Nature available online on April 20, 2010. A quick synopsis of the study is that the BBC show Bang Goes the Theory worked with the study authors to provide a test of the hypothesis that commercially available brain training programs transfer to general cognitive abilities. The conclusion was that, despite improvements on the trained tasks, “no evidence was found for transfer effects to untrained tasks, even when those tasks were cognitively closely related.”

The experiment

The study was conducted through the show’s web site. Of 52,617 participants who registered, approximately 20% (11,430) completed full participation in the study, which consisted of two benchmarking assessments 6 weeks apart with variants of neuropsychological tests and at least two training sessions. People were randomly assigned to one of three groups that were asked to train for about 10 min a day three times a week for the 6-week period, though they could train either more or less frequently. One of the two experimental groups was a “brain training” group that completed tasks including simple arithmetic, finding missing pieces, matching symbols to a target, ordering rotating numbers by numerical value, updating, and memory for items. Most of the training sessions were 90 sec each; the rotating numbers tasks was 3 min. These activities are similar to those used in “edutainment” programs that can be played online or with a handheld device. The other experimental group was trained on reasoning tasks that involved identifying relative weights of objects based on a visual “seesaw”, selecting the “odd” item in a concept formation type task, a task involving thinking through the effects of one action on current and future states, and three planning tasks including drawing a continuous line around a grid while ascertaining that the line will not hinder later moves, a version of the Tower of Hanoi task, and a tile sliding game. The control group spent time answering questions about obscure facts and organizing them chronologically based on any available online resource. Results indicated that the two experimental groups performed better than the control group on only one outcome test of grammatical reasoning; there were no differences between either experimental group and the controls on the remaining test. The experimental groups had improved on the trained tasks but not on the transfer tasks.

Scientific concerns

Although some news reports suggest that these findings are definitive, there are a number of concerns, many of which have to do with whether the findings have been overgeneralized to all forms of brain training because only a few tests were used. Second, there have been questions raised about the amount of time allocated to training and the issue of testing in the home environment. The study reported Read the rest of this entry »

Invitation to SharpBrains Summit – Technology for Cognitive Health and Performance

We are excited to invite you to the first virtual, global SharpBrains Summit (January 18-20th, 2010). The SharpBrains Summit will feature a sharpbrains_summit_logo_webdream team of over 25 speakers who are leaders in industry and research from 7 countries, to discuss emerging research, tools and best practices for cognitive health and performance. This inaugural event will expose health and insurance providers, developers, innovators at Fortune 500 companies, investors and researchers, to the opportunities, partnerships, trends, and standards of the rapidly evolving cognitive fitness field.

Register Today

Learn more and register Here today, at discounted early-bird rates, to receive these benefits:

  • Learn: Full access to all Conference live sessions, and Downloadable Recordings and Handouts
  • See: latest technologies and products during Expo Day
  • Connect and Discuss: become a member of the SharpBrains Network for Brain Fitness Innovation (members-only LinkedIn Group) through the end of 2010, access online chats during the summit, meet other registrants in your city
  • Understand the Big Picture: access 10 Research Executive Briefs prepared by leading scientists

On top of those early-bird discounts, we offer an additional 15% discount for SharpBrains readers who want Regular Admission. Discount code: sharp2010. You can register Here.

Agenda/ Speakers

Monday, January 18th, 2010:

(Preliminary schedule, US Pacific Time)

8-9.15am. Cognition & Neuroplasticity: The New Healthcare Frontier

  • Alvaro Fernandez, SharpBrains
  • David Whitehouse, OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions
  • William Reichman, Baycrest
  • P Murali Doraiswamy, Duke University

9.30-11am. Tools for Safer Driving: The Opportunity with Teenagers and Adults

  • Steven Aldrich, Posit Science
  • Shlomo Breznitz, CogniFit
  • Jerri Edwards, University of South Florida
  • Peter Christianson, Young Drivers of Canada

Noon-1.30pm. Baby Boomers and Beyond: Maintaining Cognitive Vitality

Save the Date: SharpBrains Summit, Technology for Cognitive Health and Performance

We are very excited to announce the first SharpBrains Summit, a virtual conference to take place January 18-20th, 2010.  Over 30 leading speakers and a professional audience will discuss emerging innovation and technology for lifelong cognitive health and performance. The Summit will highlight the convergence of neurocognitive research, non-invasive technology and healthcare, discuss emerging best practices, and help predict how a growing range of tools may provide solutions to cognitive health and performance-related issues.

sharpbrains_summit_logo_webYou can see speakers and agenda by clicking on SharpBrains Summit. Please register if you are interested in participating: January 18-20th 2010 (Pacific Time).

  • Conference: January 18-19th. 9-10 panels to discuss Market and Research Insights,  together with online discussions.
  • Expo Day: January 20th. Product demos by Sponsors.

Confirmed speakers and themes:

Monday, January 18th, 2010:

Cognition and Neuroplasticity: The New Healthcare Frontier

  • Alvaro Fernandez, CEO, SharpBrains
  • David Whitehouse, Chief Medical Officer, OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions
  • William Reichman, President, Baycrest
  • P Murali Doraiswamy, Biological Psychiatry Division Head, Duke University

Tools for Safer Driving: Teenagers and Older Adults

  • Steven Aldrich, CEO, Posit Science
  • Peter Christianson, President of Young Drivers of Canada
  • Jerri Edwards, Assoc. Professor University of South Florida

Clinical Applications: Researching, Identifying, Treating Cognitive Deficits

  • Keith Wesnes, Practice Leader, United BioSource Corporation
  • Jonas Jendi, CEO, Cogmed
  • Michel Noir, President, Scientific Brain Training
  • Elkhonon Goldberg, Chief Scientific Advisor, SharpBrains

Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness Newsletter: December Edition

Brain exercise, brain exercisesI hope you are having a joyful holiday season, and wish you a Happy and Prosperous 2008. The Brain Fitness field has made a great deal of progress in 2007, and we are looking forward the New Year.

Here you are have the Monthly Digest of our Most Popular Blog Posts. You can consider it your monthly Brain Fitness/ Exercise Newsletter.

(Also, remember that you can subscribe to receive our blog RSS feed, or to our monthly newsletter at the top of this page if you want to receive this monthly Digest by email).

Let me first of all introduce you to our new “Author Speaks Series“, where we will give leading scientists and experts a forum to present their new brain-related books. We are honored to kickstart the series with Larry McCleary, former acting Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Denver Children’s Hospital. You can read Here his article on how to keep a brain-friendly lifestyle. This series will complement our ongoing Neuroscience Interview Series.

Brain Fitness in the News

Brain Fitness @ PBS: PBS featured a fantastic special program on neuroplasticity and brain fitness during the month of December. Before you ask: as of today, the DVD of the program is still not available in PBS online shop. We expect to see it there in 2-3 weeks. We will keep you informed.

The Huffington Post started featuring a column written by me: you may enjoy taking a look at Alvaro Fernandez – Living on The Huffington Post.

Jogging our Brains for Brain Vitality, Healthy Aging-and Intelligence!: a roundup of several great recent articles on memory, aging, IQ and cognitive abilities such as self-control.

Health & Wellness

Brain Training: No Magic Bullet, Yet Useful Tool. Interview with Elizabeth Zelinski: Dr. Zelinski, leading researcher of the IMPACT study, shares fascinating insights. For example: “…cognitive enhancement requires the engagement in a variety of activities, those activities must be novel, adaptive and challenging-which is why computer-based programs can be helpful. But even at a more basic level, what matters is being engaged with life, continually exposed to stimulating activities, always trying to get out of our comfort zones, doing our best at whatever we are doing. A major typical misconception is that there is only one general intelligence to care about. In reality, we have many different cognitive abilities, such as attention, memory, language, reasoning, and more, so it makes sense to have different programs designed to train and improve each of them.”

How to Evaluate and Choose a Brain Fitness Program: To help you navigate the growing number of computer-based programs and games, we published this 10-Question Checklist, based on dozens of interviews with scientists, experts and consumers.

Travel and Engagement as Good Brain Exercise: As we’ve seen, novelty, variety and challenge are the key guidelines for “brain exercise” that help build new neural connections, force one to be mindful and pay attention, improve abilities such as pattern-recognition, and generally contribute to lifelong brain health. In this post we feature the brain building / mind expanding experience of a SharpBrains friend working in Namibia.

Alzheimer’s Prevention and Diagnostic Tests: analysis of several recent articles on emerging research behind Alzheimer’s diagnostic and prevention.

Corporate Wellness and Training

Cognitive Reserve and Intellectually Demanding Jobs: a recent study shows how “Intellectually demanding work was associated with greater benefit to cognitive performance in later life independent of related factors like education and intelligence.”

Cognitive Health and Baby Boomers- 6 Points to Keep in Mind: based upon an excellent McKinsey report titled Serving Aging Baby Boomers, we discuss a variety a news articles, including interesting numbers, some bad news, and some good news.

Lifelong Learning Is Changing My Brain: Andreas, the neuroscience PhD student who spent last summer working with SharpBrains, writes some reflections on his experience and on how scientists and business professionals can learn from each other.

Brain Teasers

Traveler IQ Game: Check out this stimulating online game…

Events

Learning & The Brain Conference, February 5-7 2008, San Francisco: Sign up now for this great conference for educators who want to learn about the latest brain research findings and implications. I will be speaking at the conference giving an overview of innovative cognitive training programs. The organizers are offering a Special Discount for SharpBrains readers until January 25th 2008, so click here if interested.

If we don’t talk beforehand…Happy New Year!

———————

You can also enjoy our previous editions of our Brain Fitness Newsletter:

November Edition

October Edition

September Edition

August Edition

July Edition

Check out the Summit Agenda and Reserve Your Spot

Learn all about the 2017 SharpBrains Virtual Summit in less than 2 minutes

Search for anything brain-related in our article archives

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 and think tank tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

Enter Your Email to receive Sharp­Brains free, monthly eNewslet­ter:

Join more than 50,000 Sub­scribers and stay informed and engaged.