Electroencephalography is a decades-old technique for capturing brain activity, data that are used to evaluate brain disorders. Beacon Biosignals is applying artificial intelligence to these tests, and the neurotechnology startup has found a ready market in pharmaceutical companies interested in assessing how their experimental brain therapies are working. Now Beacon Biosignals has something else: $27 million in financing. [Read more…] about Beacon Biosignals raises $27M to scale EEG, AI-based neurobiomarker discovery platform
Rice University Charges Into the Future with Magnetics and Bioimplants (All About Circuits):
Advances in self-generating drug delivery systems, brain-to-brain communication, and injury mitigation technologies are just some of the newest research coming down the pipeline from Rice University.
Several research projects funded by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) N3 program might herald a future of highly advanced human-machine interfacing that expands the capabilities of soldiers and first responders. [Read more…] about DARPA-funded nonsurgical neurotechnologies push the frontier of brain-machine interfaces
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…
Time for a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring this month 13 research findings, resources and brain teasers for lifelong brain and mental health.
#1. “We found that people who exhibited higher repetitive negative thinking patterns experienced more cognitive decline over a four-year period. They also had specific declines in memory (which is an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease), and had more amyloid and tau deposits in their brain … There’s increasing evidence that chronic stress is both harmful to your body – and your brain. But more research is needed to understand this link.” Repetitive negative thinking may increase (or perhaps be caused by) cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s pathology
#2. “…even simple cognitive processes like making a shopping list now require more brainpower. “Now, rather than thinking, ‘I’ll just run to the store’, you’re thinking about what you need, what stores are open and whether it’ll be safe to go there. Let’s say your brain can do four tasks at once. Now all of a sudden there are 10, and you can’t do any of them” … rebooting your working memory may also mean cutting down on your news consumption and considering a break from social media. But the most effective thing to do might simply be to convince yourself it’s OK to be struggling.” Why stress regulation and working memory are core building blocks of lifelong resilience
#3. Ten years from now, will we see DSM‑6 or Something Much Better (SMB)-1? The way we approach Mental Health today is broken beyond repair. The question is, what comes next, and how fast can we get there?
#4. Now, please draw the letter J in your mind. Then, draw the letter D. Turn it 90 degrees to the left and put it in top of the J. What does this shape resemble? Enjoy these three quick brain teasers to exercise your working memory
#5. “Reading science fiction and fantasy can help readers make sense of the world. Rather than limiting readers’ capacity to deal with reality, exposure to outside-the-box creative stories may expand their ability to engage reality based on science … With increasing rates of anxiety, depression, and mental health issues for youth in the past two decades, it may be the case that young people, no different from American society generally, are suffering from reality overload.” — Esther L. Jones, Ph.D Reading science fiction can help children build critical thinking and resilience
#6. “For decades, use of biofeedback to help sufferers of anxiety, among other psychological conditions, has largely been limited to clinical settings with expensive—and somewhat tedious—medical equipment. Now, with an assist from developers of virtual-reality games, effective therapeutic biofeedback is becoming more affordable, accessible and engaging.” Virtual-reality gaming + affordable biofeedback = Anxiety therapy for all?
#7. Now comes the real challenge: getting doctors to prescribe it, insurers to pay for it, kids to use it and hopefully see significant improvements in daily life. FDA clears first videogame to be prescribed to kids with ADHD: EndeavorRx by Akili Interactive Labs
#8. Hope you enjoy this overview by Dr. Ricardo Gil-da-Costa at Neuroverse and our very own Alvaro Fernandez: Explore The State of Noninvasive Neurotechnology in 37 minutes and 1 image
#9. Here with neuroscientist Mara Dierssen, in Spanish: Cómo minimizar el impacto del Covid-19 en nuestro cerebro
#10. Ignoring problems doesn’t typically solve them — good to see serious attempts to understand, detect and address chemo brain. Growing research shows how two of the major cancer treatments, radiation and chemotherapy, can lead to long-term cognitive impairment
#11. “… COVID-19 may lead to anywhere from 27,644 to 154,037 additional U.S. deaths of despair, as mass unemployment, social isolation, depression and anxiety drive increases in suicides and drug overdoses.” Time to reimagine brain & mind care: Four immediate priorities to flatten the mental distress curve
#12. Moving beyond Either/ Or Thinking: Antidepressant vortioxetine combined with cognitive training may help delay cognitive decline
#13. Not the worst week to leave Earth, but still plenty of mental health challenges in space. Request for proposals to help astronauts combat behavioral health challenges such as stress and isolation
Have a good and safe summer,
The SharpBrains Team
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
DARPA Funds Ambitious Brain-Machine Interface Program (IEEE Spectrum):
“DARPA’s Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N3) program has awarded funding to six groups attempting to build brain-machine interfaces that match the performance of implanted electrodes but with no surgery whatsoever. [Read more…] about Six DARPA-funded research teams aim at revolutionizing noninvasive brain-machine interfaces