Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


E-therapy stepping up to fill mental health gaps


Telehealth vendor seized opportunity from Kaiser strike (HealthCare Dive):

“When Kaiser’s mental health workers went on strike to protest what they claim is Kaiser’s policy of understaffing their facilities in order to boost their profits, it left a void for the thousands of patients who relied on Kaiser’s staff for mental health services. Acting as a real-time testimony to the power of telehealth Read the rest of this entry »

Upcoming Q&A on the Future of Brain Health to celebrate Brain Awareness Week

Infographic based on 2011 SharpBrains Summit's Meeting Report

Alvaro Fernandez, co-founder and CEO of SharpBrains, has been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, an honor recognizing the most distinguished leaders under age 40 from around the world.

Mr. Fernandez will discuss “How to Retool Brain Health for the 21st Century” via a one-hour virtual Q&A session hosted live at on Friday, March 16 from 10 to 11a.m. US Eastern Time. The conversation will be based on the Meeting Report from the 2011 SharpBrains Summit, which gathered 250+ innovators worldwide.

“The way we do brain health is essentially broken,” he said. “We need a new culture and toolkit to empower sharp brains of all ages to take more proactive care of their brain.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Business and Ethics of the Brain Fitness Boom – Part 1: The Business

The recent discovery that experience can change brain structure and function at any age has sparked numerous health, education, and productivity applications whose value and limitations we are only starting to grasp.

Brain fitness has quickly become a mainstream aspiration among baby boomers and elders, primarily in North America. It has fueled a growing interest in brain fitness classes, brain fitness centers, and brain fitness programs, along with attendant opportunities and challenges. An increasing number of adults want useful tools to protect cognitive health and performance—not necessarily to reverse aging—and what they are finding is an expanding and noisy marketplace where they (and also professionals) need to carefully evaluate their own needs and the available options (Fernandez and Goldberg, 2009). Read the rest of this entry »

Grand Rounds: Best of Health and Medical Blogging

Welcome to a new edition of Grand Rounds blog carnival, the weekly edition of what’s best in the health and medical blogosphere. This week, twenty four bloggers share data, insights, questions, reflections and more. Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

AAA to deploy Brain Fitness Software DriveSharp to Assess and Train Older Driver’s Brains

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety just started to recommend a new driver safety program called DriveSharp (see AAA and Posit Release Program to Improve Drivers’ Minds), developed by Posit Science. DriveSharp is a computerized cognitive assessment and training tool based on Karlene Ball’s research on older adults’ cognitive fitness and driving.

In the press release for the agreement, Peter Kissinger, driver safety research and policy veteran and CEO of the AAA Foundation, says thatPeter Kissinger AAA Foundation “Part of making our nation’s roads safer is helping mature drivers who wish to stay active – a quickly growing population – maintain or improve their driving safety.”

We have Peter Kissinger with us to discuss the context for this innovative initiative.

Peter, I appreciate your time. In order to set the context, would you introduce the role and priorities of the AAA Foundation?

Sure. All your readers will know that AAA is the main driver association in North America, with over 50 million members. The AAA Foundation is focused on the research and policy required to improve driver safety and has 4 strategic priorities:
– Introduce a culture of traffic safety. It is an outrage that there is a driving-related death every 13 minutes in the US, and yet, we seem to accept this as status quo
– Improve road safety, especially on rural roads, where almost 60% of the deaths occur,
– Improve safety among teens, one of the highest risk groups
– Improve safety among seniors, another high-risk group.

In terms of driver-centered interventions, are your priorities are teenage and older drivers?

driver fatality rateYes. You have probably seen the U-shaped risk curve (Editor note: see figure at left) that shows how accident risks are very high among teenagers, then decrease and remain stable until our 60s, and then increase again.

We have promoted initiatives such as DriverZED (see to help teenagers better identify and manage the typical sources of risk, so they advance faster through the learning curve. For older drivers we focus on how to balance the privilege of driving with the right of mobility – we know that losing driving independence can bring a variety of negative consequences for the individual.

Given aging population trends, it is clear we need to introduce better systems to balance those two goals you just outlined -safety and mobility. Do you think as a society we are prepared?

I don’t think we are, and I am pessimistic that we will be in the short term. This is a very important problem: official estimates say that the proportion of all drivers who are over 65 years of age will grow from 15% today to 25% in 2025.

Let me give you some background: two years ago we put together a workshop to identify the state of the research and the state of the practice of driver safety among Read the rest of this entry »

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