“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today permitted marketing of two new devices to assess a patient’s cognitive function immediately after a suspected brain injury or concussion. The Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) and ImPACT Pediatric are the first medical devices permitted [Read more…] about The FDA clears two computerized cognitive tests to assist in medical evaluations following brain injury or concussion
“In 2007, with roadside bombs exploding across Iraq, Congress moved to improve care for soldiers who had suffered one of the war’s signature wounds, traumatic brain injury.
Lawmakers passed a measure requiring the military to test soldiers’ brain function before they deployed and again when they returned. The test was supposed to ensure that soldiers received proper treatment.
Instead, an investigation by ProPublica and NPR has found, the testing program has failed to deliver on its promise, offering soldiers the appearance of help, but not the reality. [Read more…] about Report: Cognitive Testing Program Fails Soldiers, Leaving Brain Injuries Undetected
Brain training games: Do they work? This piece explores the world of computerized brain training software: Who uses them? Are they worth the expense? You can also check out Sharpbrains Program Evaluation checklist to learn about the 10 questions to ask when choosing a brain fitness program.
Protect your brain: The new issue for athletes. Learn more about ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), the computerized clinical report which is quickly becoming the norm for high schools and colleges [Read more…] about Brain Training News Digest
Here you have the February edition of our monthly newsletter covering cognitive health and brain fitness topics. Please remember that you can subscribe to receive this Newsletter by email, simply by submitting your email at the top of this page.
Cognitive training (or structured mental exercise) definitely seems to work — as long as we define properly what “work” means, don’t expect magic cures, and help navigate options. Please keep reading…
Interview with Baycrest’s CEO Dr. William Reichman: Discussing the recent Centre for Brain Fitness at Baycrest, Dr. Reichman suggests that “we have an opportunity to make major progress in Brain Health in the XXI century, similar to what happened with Cardiovascular Health in the XXth, and technology will play a crucial role.” A major obstacle? We need a consensus on “widely accepted standards for outcome measures”.
Does It Work?
Does cognitive training work? (For Whom? For What?): The growing field of cognitive training (one of the tools for brain fitness) can appear very confusing as the media keeps reporting contradictory claims. These claims are often based on press releases, without a deeper understanding of the scientific evidence. Dr. Pascale Michelon, SharpBrains’ Research Manager for Educational Initiatives, analyzes a couple of recent studies, clarifying what they mean — and what they don’t mean.
It Works, and It Doesn’t Work: the IMPACT study (a major, multi-site study on the Posit Science auditory program) will be published at the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in April. Results support that cognitive training works — but doesn’t support the grandiose “brain age” claims we see too often.
Cognitive Training can Influence Brain Biochemistry: Dr. David Rabiner discusses a recent scientific study that “shows that brain biochemistry can be modified by experience”, and that computerized cognitive training (Cogmed working memory training) can provide that experience.
The Big Picture
Making Healthy Choices — Primare Care and Prevention: a panel at the recent World Economic Forum explored why “New markets and industries are arising silver industries such as financial services, health, housing and hospitality geared to senior citizens. Longevity needs to be linked to health including cognitive health and lifestyle choices play a major role in health.”
Enrich your environment now and benefit your future offspring: Dr. Robert Sylwester reports that “all sorts of long held-beliefs about our brain and cognition are being re- examined by cognitive neuroscientists” because of fascinating studies such as the one he reviews (with mice): “The study’s findings seemed to suggest that acquired characteristics can be genetically transmitted…long-term benefits accrue from a stimulating early environment that encourages curiosity and exploration.”
From Distress to De-Stress: helping anxious, worried kids: In a detailed 2‑part article, (Part 1, Part 2), Dr. Jerome Schultz provides great tips on how to help children learn to self-regulate emotions, adding that “Teachers, occupational therapists, physical education teachers and parents need to actually teach children (of all ages) how to get themselves into a physical state of being relaxed. This doesn’t happen automatically. If it did, there wouldn’t be so many adult yoga classes!”
Lie to Me, Paul Ekman and Biofeedback: You may have watched the new series Lie To Me, with Tim Roth, based on the work of Paul Ekman. The introduction to the second episode shows why what are called “lie detectors” are nothing but biofeedback systems that measure physiological anxiety.
Brain Games for Baby Boomers: round-up of other recent news, covering the effects of gaming, cognitive training for driving skills, and brain fitness classes.
Neurocognitive assessments and sports concussions: a new study and a new resource to understand and address the 1.6 to 3.8 million cases of sports-related concussions that occur annually in the United States.
How will you, your organization, your neighbors, participate in Brain Awareness Week, March 16th-22nd, organized by the Dana Foundation with the participation of thousands of outreach partners, including SharpBrains? You can find event ideas, excellent resources (yes, including puzzles), and a calendar of events, Here.
Have a great month of March!
The IMPACT study which we reported on in December 2007, funded by Posit Science, conducted by the Mayo Clinic and USC Davis, has just announced publication at the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Reference:
- Smith et al. A Cognitive Training Program Designed Based on Principles of Brain Plasticity: Results from the Improvement in Memory with Plasticity-based Adaptive Cognitive Training Study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, April 2009.
Computer Exercises Improve Memory And Attention, Study Suggests (Science Daily)
- “The Improvement in Memory with Plasticity-based Adaptive Cognitive Training (IMPACT) study was funded by the Posit Science Corporation, which owns the rights to the Brain Fitness Program, tested in the study.”
- “Of the 487 healthy adults over the age of 65 who participated in a randomized controlled trial, half used the Brain Fitness Program for 40 hours over the course of eight weeks. The Brain Fitness Program consists of six audio exercises done on a computer, and is intended to “retrain the brain to discriminate fine distinctions in sound, and do it in a way that keeps the user engaged,” Zelinski explained.” The other half of participants spent an equal amount of time learning from educational DVDs followed by quizzes.
Comment: this is a very interesting study, in that it shows both that cognitive training works, and that it doesn’t work.
- “People concussed in their youth show subtle signs of mental and physical problems even more than 30 years later, say Canadian researchers.”
- “Dr Louis de Beaumont, who led the study, said: “This study shows that the effects of sports concussions in early adulthood persist beyond 30 years post-concussion, and that it can cause cognitive and motor function alterations as the athletes age.”
- “Athletes should be better informed about the cumulative and persistent effects of sports concussion on mental and physical processes so they know about the risk associated with returning to their sport.”
The study in question:
De Beaumont L, Theoret H, Mongeon D at al. Brain function decline in healthy retired athletes who sustained their last sports concussion in early adulthood. Brain 2009, Advanced online publication January 27
Given the importance of this topic, which we covered in our 2008 Market Research, we are happy to read about new resources like a new book titled Sports Neuropsychology: Assessment and Management of Traumatic Brain Injury
From a recent book review by Gary S. Solomon, Ph.D.:
- “The past 15 years has yielded an explosion of information on [Read more…] about Neurocognitive assessments and sports concussions