Brain-computer interface (BCI) technologies are no longer hypothetical, yet there are fundamental aspects of the technology that remain unaddressed by both ethicists and policy-makers. Two new papers address these issues by outlining the outstanding ethical issues, offering guidance for addressing those issues, and offering particular insight into the field of BCI tech for cognitive enhancement. [Read more…] about Studies identify key ethical concerns raised by invasive and non-invasive neurotechnologies
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring 14 research findings, resources and tips for brain health … and starting with this fascinating study:
- Five are “neck up:” Lower education level, Lower cognitive activity, Head trauma, Repeated episodes of depression, High-levels of long-term stress.
- Five are “neck down:” Hypertension in mid-life, Orthostatic hypotension, Diabetes, High BMI, High levels of homocysteine. Systematic review finds ten lifestyle factors that clearly impact the probability of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
#3. “The healthiest people are the ones who grow with age and experience; even in times of trouble like these.” — Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD, President of the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation. On Stress, Yoga Meditation, and The Evolution Revolution
#4. “Acceptance that Alzheimer’s disease is a lifestyle disease, little different from other age-related diseases, that is the sum of a lifetime is the most important breakthrough of the decade.” — George Perry, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Higher body mass index (BMI) linked to lower blood supply to the brain in large neuroimaging study
#5. “Attention is a scarce resource. Think about your attentional focus as the beam of a light. If the light is on an object it cannot be on other objects at the same time with the same intensity … Although we typically have the feeling that multitasking saves us time, it is often not the case.” Simple, quick brain teaser to test the limits of multitasking
#6. If it appears to rotate, RT Fun optical illusion to tease your mind
#7. Every cloud has a silver lining: How and when will the telemedicine surge reach mental healthcare?
#9. “In a time when emotions like stress, anxiety, boredom, and anger are hard to avoid, a new study suggests that a particular meditation practice can help us face them.” Study: Meditation practice, both formal and informal, helps develop equanimity over time
#10. Ever since discovering Barbara Arrowsmith-Young’s life trajectory via Normain Doidge’s fantastic book The Brain That Changes Itself, we have been impressed by her creativity, stamina and courage. Coming soon: Virtual World Tour at the frontier of applied neuroplasticity, education and learning difficulties
#11. “Neural signals will be used to develop algorithms that will help researchers determine the optimal brain state under which individuals can receive information. From there, the team will determine the most effective means of enhancing the subjects’ ability to intake and process information. This could range from non-invasive neuromodulation—or brain stimulation—techniques to the use of augmented reality to alter perceived environmental conditions.” Air Force announces research platform to harness closed-loop neurotechnology and accelerate learning “on the fly”
#12. Good to hear that “ensuring the privacy and security of study participants’ data is a high priority for both UCLA and Apple. UCLA will process and maintain study data in a secure environment … UCLA and Apple will analyze the data only after they are coded and stripped of names and other contact information.” UCLA launches major mental health study collecting & analyzing data from Apple wearables to better understand depression and anxiety
#13. Flexibility is good except when it isn’t: Study finds how scientists can reach different conclusions analyzing the same brain scans
#14. “I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one” — Gandhi, as quoted in Seven evidence-based reasons to start meditating yesterday
Wishing you a safe and healthy September,
Alvaro Fernandez on behalf of the SharpBrains Team
Air Force Neurotechnology Partnership Aims to Accelerate Learning (Military Spot):
The Individualized Neural Learning System, or iNeuraLS, is a new augmented learning platform that will enable rapid learning by closed-loop modulation of cognitive states during skill acquisition. Essentially, the AFRL team seeks to develop a capability that will give Airmen the ability to rapidly acquire knowledge and skills on the fly through direct brain interfaces with the help of neurotechnologies…
Heads-up: The recordings for the webinar on The State of Noninvasive Neurotechnology, held on May 19th, are already available on YouTube. Dr. Ricardo Gil-da-Costa (above) and Alvaro Fernandez (below) gave an excellent outlook on the brain tech industry, with a deep look into apps and wearables and the capabilities that human brain could achieve. We hope you enjoy the discussion.
For 19 years, Dr. Ricardo Gil-da-Costa’s pursuit of how the mind and brain work led him to behavioral field studies in Africa and Central America and neurophysiology laboratory research from Harvard University to the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Most recently, he co-founded and serves as C.E.O. of Neuroverse, Inc., a neurotechnology company that has created a new class of mobile brain interfaces for health and consumer electronics applications.
Alvaro Fernandez runs SharpBrains, an independent market research firm tracking applied neuroscience. He is the Editor-in-Chief of seminal market reports on Pervasive Neurotechnology and Digital Brain Health, and co-author of the book The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: How to Optimize Brain Health and Performance at Any Age. He enjoys serving in the World Economic Forum’s Council on the Future of Neurotechnology, and in the Global Teacher Prize Academy run by the Varkey Foundation.
The Event in Context:
- Neuroscience Webinar Series by the Fundación Innovación Bankinter
- Three ways to protect your mental health during –and after– COVID-19
- New report: Empowering 8 Billion Minds via Ethical Development and Adoption of Neurotechnologies
- Infographic on the Digital Brain Health Market 2012–2020
- Five reasons the future of brain enhancement is digital, pervasive and (hopefully) bright
- Ten neurotechnologies about to transform brain enhancement & health
- 10 highlights from the 2019 SharpBrains Virtual Summit
Time for a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter!
1. Food for (nonpartisan) Thought: Should heads of state and candidates to high office pass a cognitive/ mental fitness test?
2. A school psychologist shares good tips to support our kids and, yes, manage our own stress. Three Ss to reduce the stress of “homeschooling” our kids: Simplify, Structure, Support.
4. Great partnership! Kaiser Permanente offers Calm mental fitness app at no cost to millions of members.
5. “Just as you can’t self-introspect to determine your cholesterol, much of the highest-value information about ourselves and each other sits outside our conscious awareness.” — Bryan Johnson, Founder and CEO of Kernel, as Kernel launches Neuroscience as a Service (NaaS) built on non-invasive brain recording technology.
6. Fascinating conversation on how and why “Practice actually changes the physicality of your brain” — Q&A with Rick Hanson on Neurodharma, brain science, personal practice and well-being
7. May this trend continue (and for better reasons): Growing interest in digital mental health among insurers and medical care providers.
8. Particularly promising for multiple sclerosis, ocular hypertension, diabetes, and traumatic brain injury: Portable brain assessment device by Headsafe secures 510(k) FDA clearance.
10. If not a limerick, perhaps a few brain teasers. Say the months of the year in alphabetical order. Too easy? Well, try doing so backwards, in reverse alphabetical order. Five quick brain teasers to flex those Attention and Working Memory mental muscles
11. You have been invited to a fundraising gala at your old college (via Zoom of course) and decide that this black-tie event demands a super white Italian shirt, like the one you bought years ago for your wedding. Ready for some quick math? Try this Brain Teaser: What shirt size you need?
Have a great month of June,
The SharpBrains Team
Kaiser Permanente is trying to give its 12.4 million members a little bit of calm.
Starting Tuesday, the health-care provider is allowing patients to download the Calm meditation app for free as part of a way to help customers manage anxiety as they deal with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Calm is the most-popular health and fitness app on Google-powered devices and No. 2 on the iPhone, according to App Annie. Paid subscriptions normally cost $70 a year … Calm was seeing surging growth even before the coronavirus forced Americans to shelter in place and led to skyrocketing unemployment. The San Francisco-based start-up was valued by investors last year at $1 billion, two years after being named Apple’s app of the year back in 2017. The app has been downloaded over 80 million times.