Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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

Lumos Labs, the com­pa­ny behind lumosity.com, 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.

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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