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The Business and Ethics of the Brain Fitness Boom — Part 4: The Future

Build­ing Blocks for a Bet­ter Future

The best alter­na­tive for tomor­row should be bet­ter than the best alter­na­tive avail­able today. How do we get there, when “cog­ni­tion” and “brain fit­ness” remain elu­sive con­cepts in pop­u­lar cul­ture? I believe that the lack of pub­lic edu­ca­tion is the major obsta­cle that lim­its the brain fit­ness field’s poten­tial to deliv­er real-world ben­e­fits, since only informed demand will ensure the ongo­ing devel­op­ment of ratio­nal, struc­tured “rules of the road.” What could be done to address this and oth­er par­tic­u­lar obsta­cles? Read the rest of this entry »

The Business and Ethics of the Brain Fitness Boom — Part 3: The Real Need

Engag­ing peo­ple where they are in the life-course

Eighty per­cent of the 38,000 adults over age 50 who were respon­ders in the 2010 AARP Mem­ber Opin­ion Sur­vey indi­cat­ed “stay­ing men­tal­ly sharp” was their top ranked inter­est and con­cern (Dinger, 2010). What exact­ly does this phrase mean? And what role can tech­nol­o­gy play in “stay­ing men­tal­ly sharp”? Intel CEO Paul Otelli­ni has said, “You have to start by think­ing about what peo­ple want to do… and work back­ward.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Business and Ethics of the Brain Fitness Boom — Part 2: The Ethics

The ter­mi­nol­o­gy “fun­da­men­tal attri­bu­tion error” describes the ten­den­cy to over­val­ue per­son­al­i­ty-based expla­na­tions for observed human behav­iors, while under­valu­ing sit­u­a­tion­al expla­na­tions for those behav­iors.  I believe that a pri­ma­ry rea­son behind many per­ceived and real eth­i­cal chal­lenges in the brain fit­ness field is due not so much to cer­tain stake­hold­ers’ lack of per­son­al or pro­fes­sion­al ethics, but derives from the flawed soci­etal con­struct that under­pins cur­rent, rel­e­vant inno­va­tions. To improve the ethics of the brain fit­ness busi­ness and its appli­ca­tion (and empow­er con­sumers’ informed deci­sion mak­ing), there must first be agree­ment about a mean­ing­ful, appro­pri­ate way to ana­lyze and guide inno­va­tion. This is the crux of the prob­lem. The cur­rent med­ical mod­el is not up to the task at hand, since it is heav­i­ly skewed toward inva­sive drugs and devices dri­ven by dis­ease-based mod­els, and fails to lever­age Read the rest of this entry »

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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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