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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Itamar Lesuisse at Peak: Let’s integrate brain training with the quantified self

Itamar_Lesuisse

Ita­mar Lesu­isse

What is your cur­rent job title and orga­ni­za­tion, and what excites you the most about work­ing there?
I am the CEO at Peak, a mobile brain-train­ing app that helps users to enjoy becom­ing bet­ter every day. My cofounders and I want­ed to start a com­pa­ny where tech­nol­o­gy, sci­ence, edu­ca­tion and gam­ing blend togeth­er to cre­ate a prod­uct that can real­ly help users and that they could have fun using. I love Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Training Games for Seniors: Looking for the best brain training app

This arti­cle reports on a series of focus group stud­ies car­ried out at the Son­ic Arts Research Cen­tre, Queen’s Uni­ver­si­ty Belfast, North­ern Ire­land. The aim was to iden­ti­fy the key moti­va­tion­al fac­tors influ­enc­ing seniors’ engage­ment with mobile brain train­ing tech­nol­o­gy in order to inform the design of a brain train­ing tool which is accept­able / enjoy­able to tar­get users.

The result is an iPhone appli­ca­tion named ‘Brain Jog’ which can be down­loaded from here for free. The appli­ca­tion is being used for a fur­ther study to bet­ter under­stand what con­sti­tutes an enjoy­able brain train­ing game expe­ri­ence for seniors and is the first step in a larg­er study which will inves­ti­gate how effec­tive ‘brain train­ing’ apps can be in pre­vent­ing cog­ni­tive decline / demen­tia. Users over the age of 50 are encour­aged to down­load the free app and take part.

Now more about the present study. Thir­ty-four par­tic­i­pants aged 50+ took part in four focus groups last­ing approx­i­mate­ly 2 hours each. Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness Newsletter: Premium Research Sponsors

Here you have the twice-a-month newslet­ter with our most pop­u­lar blog posts. Please remem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this Newslet­ter by email, sim­ply by brain fitness and health newslettersub­mit­ting your email at the top of this page.

Have you ever won­dered how we can main­tain Sharp­Brains’ web­site, blog and newslet­ter with­out sell­ing any prod­ucts and with only lim­it­ed adver­tis­ing? The answer is, we offer mar­ket research to orga­ni­za­tions such as health­care providers, research cen­ters, tech­nol­o­gy devel­op­ers, ven­ture cap­i­tal firms, con­sult­ing and train­ing com­pa­nies, and more.

Our new Pre­mi­um Research Spon­sors pro­gram will allow pio­neer­ing orga­ni­za­tions to col­lab­o­rate with us to shape the future of the brain fit­ness and cog­ni­tive health field, by spon­sor­ing and access­ing the most up-to-date infor­ma­tion on the sci­ence and best prac­tices to assess and improve cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing across the lifes­pan. You can learn more about the Pre­mi­um Research Spon­sors pro­gram Here.

Mar­ket News

All­state: Can we Improve Dri­ver Safe­ty using Com­put­er­ized Cog­ni­tive Train­ing?: Insur­ance com­pa­ny All­state and brain fit­ness soft­ware devel­op­er Posit Sci­ence just announced a very intel­li­gent ini­tia­tive, and Tom War­den, Assis­tant Vice Pres­i­dent and Leader of Allstate’s Research and Plan­ning Cen­ter, explains to us why cog­ni­tive train­ing may be the new safe­ty fea­ture fol­low­ing seat belts and airbags.

The Cog­ni­tive Health and Fit­ness Mar­ket On The Move: As you have prob­a­bly seen, the Cog­ni­tive Health and Brain Fit­ness field is rapid­ly evolv­ing. Here we high­light some of the main devel­op­ments affect­ing the field over the last 6-months: pub­lic pol­i­cy ini­tia­tives in Cana­da and the US, the grow­ing role of com­put­er­ized assess­ments, sev­er­al ven­ture cap­i­tal rounds, major ini­tia­tives by insur­ance com­pa­nies, and sig­nif­i­cant research find­ings.

The Big Pic­ture

Exec­u­tive Sum­ma­ry of the Brain Fit­ness Mar­ket: Let’s step back and ask our­selves, “Why is the field evolv­ing in such a fast way? What is hope, what is hype, what is real­i­ty?” A spate of recent glob­al news cov­er­age on brain fit­ness and brain train­ing reflects a grow­ing inter­est in nat­ur­al, non drug-based inter­ven­tions to keep our brains sharp as we age. This inter­est is very time­ly, giv­en an aging pop­u­la­tion, the increased preva­lence of Alzheimer’s rates, and soar­ing health care costs in the US that place more empha­sis than ever on pre­ven­tion and lifestyle changes. This arti­cle sum­ma­rizes the main mar­ket dynam­ics, open ques­tions, and top trends to watch for.

Nour­ish­ing Our Brains and Minds

Teach­ing is the Art of Chang­ing the Brain: Lau­rie Bar­tels promis­es, “I have read a num­ber of books that trans­late cur­rent brain research into prac­tice while pro­vid­ing prac­ti­cal sug­ges­tions for teach­ers to imple­ment. This is the first book I have read that pro­vides a bio­log­i­cal, and clear­ly ratio­nal, overview of learn­ing and the brain.” Go and enjoy her review of a very inter­est­ing book by James Zull, Direc­tor Emer­i­tus of the Uni­ver­si­ty Cen­ter for Inno­va­tion in Teach­ing and Edu­ca­tion at Case West­ern Reserve.

Phi­los­o­phy as the Miss­ing Link in School Cur­ric­u­la: Kim­ber­ly Wick­ham answers pro­vides some good answers to the ques­tion, “Why would any­one want to teach phi­los­o­phy to pre-ado­les­cent chil­dren? that will engage your crit­i­cal think­ing skills.

A User’s Guide to Life­long Brain Health: Drs Simon Evans and Paul Burghardt hope (as we do) that the emerg­ing empha­sis on cog­ni­tive exer­cise and fit­ness helps com­ple­ment -not sub­sti­tute- oth­er lifestyle fac­tors impor­tant for the “phys­i­cal health of the brain and all the sys­tems it com­mu­ni­cates with”. Think: nutri­tion, exer­cise, sleep.

Exer­cis­ing Our Brains

Excel­lent Read­er Com­ments: Our last newslet­ter gen­er­at­ed a round of excel­lent  com­ments by read­ers on cog­ni­tive train­ing, Posit Sci­ence and Alzheimer’s Aus­tralia, geron­tol­ogy and the brain, and the val­ue of videogames. Come enjoy this col­lec­tive wis­dom and par­tic­i­pate as you wish.

Brainy Haikus:
riv­er with haikus
flow­ing in since the sum­mer
keep­ing  us afloat

The Chal­lenges of Geron­tol­ogy?: The World Eco­nom­ic Forum has asked me, as one of the 16 mem­bers of the Glob­al Agen­da Coun­cil on the Chal­lenges of Geron­tol­ogy, for “an 800 word sum­ma­ry of your most com­pelling action­able idea on the chal­lenges of geron­tol­ogy.” Feel free to help me out by offer­ing your own action­able ideas, either relat­ed to the dis­ci­pline of geron­tol­ogy itself or on ways to best engage the grow­ing num­ber of brains over the age of 60 in our plan­et.

Enjoy!

Mind Games @ Venture Capital Journal

The August issue of Ven­ture Cap­i­tal Jour­nal brings a very good piece on the emerg­ing brain fit­ness soft­ware  (also called “neu­rosoft­ware”) cat­e­go­ry:

Mind Games (sub­scrip­tion required)

– Dakim, Lumos Labs, Posit Sci­ence and oth­er brain fit­ness star­tups are start­ing to gain mind share and cap­i­tal from ven­ture firms.

The reporter and I spoke as Lumos Labs received its $3m round, and we dis­cussed oth­er fund­able start-ups, fea­tur­ing Cog­niFit. Which, as men­tioned over the week­end, just raised $5m.

If case you are a new Sharp­Brains read­er, per­haps vis­it­ing us after read­ing this VCJ arti­cle, let me pro­vide a quick overview of the cat­e­go­ry and our Mar­ket Report (which is annu­al, not quar­ter­ly as the arti­cle states):

A) Report High­lights

We esti­mate the size of the US brain fit­ness soft­ware mar­ket at $225M in 2007, up from $100m in 2005 (50% CAGR), ana­lyz­ing the size and brain fitness/ training markettrends of four cus­tomer seg­ments: con­sumers, health­care & insur­ance providers, K12 school sys­tems, and for­tune 1000 com­pa­nies, mil­i­tary, and sports teams. Two seg­ments fueled the mar­ket growth from 2005 to 2007: con­sumers (grew from $5m to $80m, 300% CAGR) and health­care & insur­ance providers (grew from $36m to $65m, 35% CAGR).

Ten Spe­cif­ic High­lights from The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2008 report include:

1) 2007 was a sem­i­nal year for the US Brain Fit­ness soft­ware mar­ket, which reached $225 mil­lion in rev­enues up from an esti­mat­ed $100 mil­lion in 2005.

2) Over 20 com­pa­nies are offer­ing tools to assess and train cog­ni­tive skills to four cus­tomer seg­ments: con­sumers; health­care and insur­ance providers; K12 school sys­tems; and For­tune 1000 com­pa­nies, the mil­i­tary, and sports teams.

Read the rest of this entry »

Update: Brain Health Promotion Event and Predictions

Here you have the twice-a-month newslet­ter with our most pop­u­lar blog posts. Please brainremem­ber that you can sub­scribe to receive this Newslet­ter by email, sim­ply by sub­mit­ting your email at the top of this page.

News and Events

Brain Health Pro­mo­tion by the Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging: You may be inter­est­ed in the excel­lent agen­da the Amer­i­can Soci­ety on Aging has put togeth­er for health pro­fes­sion­als, from Sep­tem­ber 2–5th in San Fran­cis­co, devot­ing a full day to Brain Health. Alvaro will par­tic­i­pate in 3 of the ses­sions, includ­ing giv­ing a keynote on the Future of Brain Health.

Can Google Kill Neu­rons and Rewire Your Whole Brain?: The Atlantic Month­ly pub­lished an arti­cle titled Is Google Mak­ing Us Stu­pid, which basi­cal­ly blamed Google for lit­er­al­ly rewiring our brains into more stu­pid brains (not being able to pay atten­tion, read deep books…). We are not very impressed by the super­fi­cial treat­ment giv­en to this very impor­tant top­ic.

Mobile Brain Train­ing, Sci­en­tif­ic Learn­ing, and More News: Overview of cog­ni­tive health and fit­ness news, includ­ing recent research on how phys­i­cal exer­cise can help diag­nosed Alzheimer’s patients, the new Mac ver­sion of Posit Science’s audi­to­ry pro­cess­ing train­ing pro­gram, and more.

Mar­ket Analy­sis

Top 10 Brain Health Pre­dic­tions: In an emerg­ing mar­ket, like brain health and train­ing, it is dif­fi­cult to make pre­cise pro­jec­tions. Here we point out a num­ber of trends that exec­u­tives, con­sumers, pub­lic pol­i­cy mak­ers, and the media should watch close­ly in the com­ing years. Your feed­back is very wel­come…we will give a com­pli­men­ta­ry copy of our mar­ket report to the per­son who pro­vides the most insight­ful addi­tion­al pre­dic­tion by August 10th.

Cog­ni­tive Health Pio­neers: Thank You! The qual­i­ty and vari­ety of our client list brings up the cross-sec­tor demand for qual­i­ty infor­ma­tion in the emerg­ing brain fitness/ cog­ni­tive health cat­e­go­ry. And it helps us pri­or­i­tize efforts and cov­er­age of mar­ket and research news and trends.

Research Analy­sis

Encephalon blog car­ni­val: Brain & Mind Research: We host­ed Encephalon´s 50th edi­tion, where you will find a selec­tion of superb blog posts on all things Brain and Mind. Exam­ples? you may enjoy Face­book Ate My Psy­chi­a­trist or per­haps the Com­pul­sive Col­lect­ing of Toy Bul­lets and Tele­vi­sions.

Atten­tion Deficits At Work: Dr. Pas­cale Mich­e­lon pro­vides an in-depth overview of a recent study by Ron de Graaf and col­leagues, in which they found that an aver­age of 3.5% of work­ers (in ten coun­tries) meet the cri­te­ria for adult ADHD, In the US, the per­cent­age increased to 4.5%. This has clear effects on pro­duc­tiv­i­ty.

Edu­ca­tion and Learn­ing

Learn­ing & the Brain: Resources for Edu­ca­tors: Edu­ca­tor Lau­rie Bar­tels reviews her favorite brain resources for teach­ing and learn­ing: books, con­fer­ences, and web­sites.

Brain Teasers

Top 25 Brain and Mind Haikus. Yours?: Read­ers have con­tributed a good num­ber of haikus on brain-relat­ed top­ics. You can fol­low the link to check out our Favorite 7, and many oth­er fun ones…which ones do you like the most?

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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