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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Brain Teaser: What “some kind of asset” are we talking about?

BrainFitnessTrajectoryAn excel­lent arti­cle at the Times, Who Gets to Grad­u­ate, explores new think­ing and tools to help col­lege stu­dents suc­ceed. Towards the end of the quite long arti­cle the writer quotes researcher David Yea­ger as say­ing: Read the rest of this entry »

(Some) New Yorker articles are bogus

Scarecrow-or-strawmanI love read­ing the New York­er. I have writ­ten before about bogus brain games, and about bogus brain train­ing claims. We have pub­lished a 10-ques­tion check­list to help con­sumers make informed deci­sions.

All this is to say I was sur­prised to read a recent New York­er blog arti­cle titled “Brain games are bogus.” If you are going to make such strong claims, you need to back them up with seri­ous due dili­gence and analy­sis, and explain to read­ers what Read the rest of this entry »

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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