Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Monitoring health, wellness and fitness via wearable devices: Key Neurotech Patent #29

— Illustrative image from US Patent No. 7,261,690.

Today we are sharing a fascinating 2007 patent assigned to Bodymedia. (As mentioned, we are featuring a foundational Pervasive Neurotech patent a day, from older to newer by issue date)

U.S. Patent No. 7,261,690: Apparatus for monitoring health, wellness and fitness.

  • Assignee(s): Bodymedia, Inc.
  • Inventor(s): Eric Teller, John M. Stivoric, Christopher D. Kasabach, Christopher D. Pacione, John
  • L. Moss, Craig B. Liden
  • Technology Category: Neuro-monitoring
  • Issue Date: August 28, 2007

SharpBrains’ Take:

The ‘690 patent discloses an apparatus for monitoring human health and wellness, including mental health elements, through a wearable device with physiological and contextual (environmental) sensors. Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Brain Training Trends – Putting our Cognitive Reserve to Work

Yesterday I had the chance to chat with Yaakov Stern, leading Cognitive Reserve researcher at Columbia University, and then with a group of 25 lifelong learners in Arizona who attended a brain fitness class (hello, Robert and friends!) based on our consumer guide The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness. On reflection, I found both conversations to be very stimulating for the same reason: they were forward-looking, focused not so much on status quo but on how emerging research, technology and trends may impact our society and lives in years to come. Let’s continue the conversation. Let me share the 10 main trends that we analyzed/ forecasted in our book, and then ask you, sharp readers, to add your own 2 cents to the discussion. Read the rest of this entry »

Pooling data to accelerate Alzheimer’s research

Very interesting article in the New York Times on the reasons behind growing research of how to detect Alzheimer’s Disease: Rare Sharing of Data Leads to Progress on Alzheimer’s (New York Times)

(Situation before) Scientists were looking for biomarkers, but they were not getting very far. “The problem in the field was that you had many different scientists in many different universities doing their own research with their own patients and with their own methods,” said Dr. Michael W. Weiner of the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs, who directs ADNI. “Different people using different methods on different subjects in different places were getting different results, which is not surprising. What was needed was to get everyone together and to get a common data set.”

(Situation now) Companies as well as academic researchers are using the data. There have been more than 3,200 downloads of the entire massive data set and almost a million downloads of the data sets containing images from brain scans.

Comment: as discussed in our recent market report, we’ll probably see sooner rather than later a comparable effort aimed at finding the biological and or cognitive markers for the Cognitive Reserve, the emerging cornerstone for a lifelong mental wellness (vs. a disease-specific) approach. For more on the need to standardize data and care, read interview with Patrick Donohue on Reinventing Brain Care through Policy, Standards, Technology. For more on the Cognitive Reserve, read interview with Dr. Yaakov Stern.

Technology as the missing link to enable a brain-based model of brain care: interview with Dr. John Docherty

Dr. John Docherty is an Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the Weill Medical College, Cornell University, Director of Post Graduate Education there, and Chief Medical Officer of Brain Resource. Trained as a clinical research fellow in neuropsychopharmacology at NIMH, he later returned as Chief of the Psychosocial Treatments Research Branch, responsible for all federally supported psychosocial treatment research in mental health nationwide. He oversaw the landmark National Collaborative Study of the Treatment of Depression and served as a member and Chairman for over 10 years on the NIMH and then NIDA Treatment Research IRGs. Dr. Docherty has wide experience in successfully implementing innovation in both clinical operations and managed health care. He founded Northeast Psychiatric Associates in 1985. As National Medical Director for National Medical Enterprises, he oversaw medical control and quality improvement in 74 hospitals in 34 states. He was the Executive Vice-President and Chief Medical Officer for Merit Behavioral Care, which then covered 30 million people. In 1998, he founded Comprehensive NeuroScience (CNS). Its Care Management Technologies are currently implemented in 17 state Medicaid plans. Dr Docherty has received numerous honors and awards and has authored over 100 scientific publications.

(Editor’s note: this interview with Dr. John Docherty was originally published in SharpBrains’ market report Transforming Brain Health with Digital Tools to Assess, Enhance and Treat Cognition across the Lifespan, published in July 2010)

Alvaro Fernandez: Dr. Docherty, it is a pleasure to be with you today to discuss the main theme of SharpBrains’ 2010 market report – how the convergence of scientific findings and technology platforms and tools is reshaping how as a society and as individuals we will take care of cognition and mental wellness along the lifecourse, giving birth to the emerging digital brain health and fitness market. Can you first briefly discuss your career trajectory and your current role at Brain Resource?

Dr. John Docherty: Sure. The main theme of my work since the 1960s has remained the same, “How do we put knowledge into effective use to improve mental health?” Over the last century, medicine made tremendous progress in generating scientific and clinical knowledge. Basic research discovery science and clinical treatment development science have made great progress. Within Psychiatry there was standard setting advance in the 1960’s through the NIMH-VA cooperative studies to the methodology of assessing the efficacy of psychopharmacological drugs. This work established principles adopted for the study of medications in the other areas of medicine. The study of psychotherapy, however, lagged in development. In my role of Chief of the Psychosocial Treatments Branch of the NIMH , I helped contribute to the advance of that work by supporting the efforts of an extraordinary group of individuals led by Irene Waskow who carried out the TDCRP. This study established the methodologies that made possible the effective scientific study of the efficacy of psychotherapies. The evidence base and of such treatments as CBT, DBT, Motivational Enhancement Treatment and other evidence-based psychotherapies derives directly from this study and its seminal influence. This was a contribution to the science of Clinical Treatment Development research.

I would say that my major interest, however, has been in the next step, the science of knowledge transfer. There has been and remains a long and costly (in terms particularly of unnecessary suffering) lag between the development of new knowledge and its common and effective use in practice.

In order the help the field moved forward, I have worked for the last 20 years in the development and implementation of methods to effectively transfer knowledge into practice. Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive Health News: August 2008

Here you have a roundup of interesting recent news on cognitive health topics and my commentary:

1) Playing Video Games Offers Learning Across Life Span, Say Studies

2) Mental Floss at Military Officer Magazine

3) Brain Training dominates ’08 Euro sales (CVG Online)

4) Dakim’s [m]Power Adopted by 150 Senior Living Communities … (Business Wire)

5) Clumsy kids more likely to become obese adults: study (CBC)

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1) There were a few interesting research papers presented at the last  American Psychological Association conventions around the theme:

Playing Video Games Offers Learning Across Life Span, Say Studies
–Skills Transfer to Classroom, Surgical Procedures, Scientific Thinking (press release).

Probably the most interesting study was that of 303 laparoscopic surgeons, which “showed that surgeons who played video games requiring spatial skills and hand dexterity and then performed a drill testing these skills were significantly faster at Read the rest of this entry »

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