Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Lumos Labs raises $32.5m: Largest Cognitive/ Brain Fitness Investment so far

Lumos Labs, the company behind, has raised $32.5 million dollars in a Series C round from Menlo Ventures, FirstMark Capital, Harrison Metal and Norwest Venture Partners.

In our 2010 market report Lumos Labs came up as one of the category Leaders given its market and research momentum (not easy for a startup to get clear momentum in either of those dimensions, much less in both of them), so our congratulations to them for now adding such investment traction. Read the rest of this entry »

Brain fitness & training heads towards its tipping point

How do you know when something is fast moving towards a Gladwellian tipping point? When health insurance companies and public policy makers launch significant initiatives.

For example, the government of Ontario recently announced a $10 million investment with Baycrest Research Centre who will partner with MaRS Venture Group to develop and commercialise brain fitness technologies. The investment was matched by an additional $10 million from private sources.

Another important development was the $18 million agreement between the Australian-based Brain Resource Company (ASX:BRC) and OptumHealth in the US. This will allow for the provision of web-based cognitive assessments as part of a clinician’s decision support systems.

These are some initiatives covered in a webinar Top Ten Cognitive Fitness Events of 2008 presented in December for SharpBrains’ clients. Alvaro Fernandez described the state of play and main drivers behind the growth of the burgeoning brain fitness market – which I will try and summarize here.

The key drivers seem to be 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 »

The Cognitive Health and Fitness Market On The Move

As you have probably seen, the Cognitive Health and Brain Fitness field is rapidly evolving, so let me highlight some of the main recent developments affecting the field:

1) Public policy initiatives:
– The Government of Ontario, Canada, announced a $10m investment in Baycrest Research Center to help develop and commercialize brain fitness technologies. This $10m investment was matched with an additional $10m by local investors.
– In the US, The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 was signed into law, included in the recently-approved economic bailout bill. The passage of this law has significant implications for healthcare providers and technology vendors alike.

2) Computerized Cognitive Assessments Used by the US Military:
The US Army launched a new policy requiring cognitive screenings of all soldiers before deployment (in order to better diagnose potential problems such as PTSD and TBI upon return). ANAM was the selected computerized battery of tests.

3) Venture & Angel Fundraising for Cognitive Training companies:
A number of developers have raised money. CogniFit received $5m (from Milk Capital), Lumos Labs $3m (FirstMark Capital -previously called Pequot Ventures-, Norwest Venture Partners), Scientific Brain Training $1.5m (issued shares), Vivity Labs $1m (undisclosed angel investors), This is, of course, on top of the February $10.6 investment in Dakim (Galen Partners) that we already included in our market report.

4) Major Initiatives by Insurance Companies:
– Allstate launched a large-scale research project to measure impact of Posit Science InSight (visual processing training) on driver safety for adults over 50.
– OptumHealth announced a 3-year, $18m agreement with Brain Resource to offer web-based cognitive assessments as part of clinicians’ decision support systems.
– Humana decided not to renew its agreement with Posit Science to offer Posit’s auditory processing training program to Medicare members.

5) New Research:
– In a significant new study, a team from the University of Michigan published a high-quality paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showing how computerized working memory training can generalize and improve fluid intelligence (one of the domains that tends to decline with age).
– Learning and Teaching Scotland released an internal study showing how Nintendo Brain Training can help children’s math and concentration skills. The study gained significant media attention, despite the fact it hasn’t been published in a respected journal.

Note: This is an excerpt from the 6-Month Market Update we will  release later this month, covering the many important developments that have occurred since we launched the inaugural Brain Fitness Market Report in March this year. This special report will be available exclusively for our Premium Research Sponsors.

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