A couple weeks ago I attended the Entertainment Software and Cognitive Neurotherapeutics Conference, ESCoNS, at the University of California San Francisco. The speakers’ talks were insightful, surprising, and inspiring in many regards. The purpose of this meeting was to bring together great minds in a variety of fields from neuroscience to game design and to come up with some ideas how to make game based cognitive training a reality as an effective therapy for many of today’s most challenging disorders and deficits. Many of the scientists also thought that game based therapies for cognitive deficits could be used as enhancement tools for healthy individuals as well. [Read more…] about Gaming and Neuroscience: Opportunities and Challenges
Very interesting new study on computerized cognitive training (or brain training), well summarized in LA Times article Memory training improves intelligence in some children, report says. Quote:
The training program used by Jaeggi and co-workers focused on ramping up working memory: the ability to hold in mind a handful of information bits briefly, and to update them as needed. Cognitive scientists consider working memory a key component of intelligence. But they have [Read more…] about Study: Working memory training can improve fluid intelligence
We are excited to invite you to the first virtual, global SharpBrains Summit (January 18–20th, 2010). The SharpBrains Summit will feature a dream team of over 25 speakers who are leaders in industry and research from 7 countries, to discuss emerging research, tools and best practices for cognitive health and performance. This inaugural event will expose health and insurance providers, developers, innovators at Fortune 500 companies, investors and researchers, to the opportunities, partnerships, trends, and standards of the rapidly evolving cognitive fitness field.
Learn more and register Here today, at discounted early-bird rates, to receive these benefits:
- Learn: Full access to all Conference live sessions, and Downloadable Recordings and Handouts
- See: latest technologies and products during Expo Day
- Connect and Discuss: become a member of the SharpBrains Network for Brain Fitness Innovation (members-only LinkedIn Group) through the end of 2010, access online chats during the summit, meet other registrants in your city
- Understand the Big Picture: access 10 Research Executive Briefs prepared by leading scientists
On top of those early-bird discounts, we offer an additional 15% discount for SharpBrains readers who want Regular Admission. Discount code: sharp2010. You can register Here.
Monday, January 18th, 2010:
(Preliminary schedule, US Pacific Time)
8–9.15am. Cognition & Neuroplasticity: The New Healthcare Frontier
- Alvaro Fernandez, SharpBrains
- David Whitehouse, OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions
- William Reichman, Baycrest
- P Murali Doraiswamy, Duke University
9.30–11am. Tools for Safer Driving: The Opportunity with Teenagers and Adults
- Steven Aldrich, Posit Science
- Shlomo Breznitz, CogniFit
- Jerri Edwards, University of South Florida
- Peter Christianson, Young Drivers of Canada
Noon‑1.30pm. Baby Boomers and Beyond: Maintaining Cognitive Vitality
- Kunal Sarkar, Lumos Labs
- Elizabeth Zelinski, USC Davis School of Gerontology [Read more…] about Invitation to SharpBrains Summit — Technology for Cognitive Health and Performance
You can see speakers and agenda by clicking on SharpBrains Summit. Please register if you are interested in participating: January 18–20th 2010 (Pacific Time).
- Conference: January 18–19th. 9–10 panels to discuss Market and Research Insights, together with online discussions.
- Expo Day: January 20th. Product demos by Sponsors.
Confirmed speakers and themes:
Monday, January 18th, 2010:
Cognition and Neuroplasticity: The New Healthcare Frontier
- Alvaro Fernandez, CEO, SharpBrains
- David Whitehouse, Chief Medical Officer, OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions
- William Reichman, President, Baycrest
- P Murali Doraiswamy, Biological Psychiatry Division Head, Duke University
Tools for Safer Driving: Teenagers and Older Adults
- Steven Aldrich, CEO, Posit Science
- Peter Christianson, President of Young Drivers of Canada
- Jerri Edwards, Assoc. Professor University of South Florida
Clinical Applications: Researching, Identifying, Treating Cognitive Deficits
- Keith Wesnes, Practice Leader, United BioSource Corporation
- Jonas Jendi, CEO, Cogmed
- Michel Noir, President, Scientific Brain Training
- Elkhonon Goldberg, Chief Scientific Advisor, SharpBrains
(Editor’s note: this article belongs to the excellent May 2009 special issue on Augmenting Cognition at scientific journal Frontiers in Neuroscience. The article, an industry overview, is reproduced here with authorization by the Frontiers Research Foundation)
Preparing Society for the Cognitive Age
By Alvaro Fernandez
Groundbreaking cognitive neuroscience research has occurred over the last 20 years — without parallel growth of consumer awareness and appropriate professional dissemination. “Cognition” remains an elusive concept with unclear implications outside the research community.
Earlier this year, I presented a talk to health care professionals at the New York Academy of Medicine, titled “Brain Fitness Software: Helping Consumers Separate Hope from Hype”. I explained what computerized cognitive assessment and training tools can do (assess/enhance specific cognitive functions), what they cannot do (reduce one’s “brain age”) and the current uncertainties about what they can do (i.e., delay Alzheimer’s symptoms). At the same symposium, Dr. Gary Kennedy, Director of Geriatric Psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center, provided guidance on why and how to screen for executive function deficits in the context of dementia.
I could perceive two emerging trends at the event: 1) “Augmenting Cognition” research is most commonly framed as a healthcare, often pharmacological topic, with the traditional cognitive bias in medicine of focusing on detection and treatment of disease, 2) In addition, there is a growing interest in non-invasive enhancement options and overall lifestyle issues. Research findings in Augmenting Cognition are only just beginning to reach the mainstream marketplace, mostly through healthcare channels. The opportunity is immense, but we will need to ensure the marketplace matures in a rational and sustainable manner, both through healthcare and non-healthcare channels.
In January 2009, we polled the 21,000 subscribers of SharpBrains’ market research eNewsletter to identify attitudes and behaviors towards the “brain fitness” field (a term we chose in 2006 based on a number of consumer surveys and focus groups to connect with a wider audience). Over 2,000 decision-makers and early adopters responded to the survey.
One of the key questions we asked was, “What is the most important problem you see in the brain fitness field and how do you think it can be solved?”. Some examples of the survey free text answers are quoted here, together with my suggestions.
Most important problems in the brain fitness field
Public awareness (39%): “To get people to understand that heredity alone does not decide brain functioning”. We need to ramp up efforts to build public awareness and enthusiasm about brain research, including establishing clear links to daily living. We can collaborate with initiatives such as the Dana Foundation’s Brain Awareness Week and use the recent “Neuroscience Core Concepts” materials developed by the Society for Neuroscience to give talks at schools, libraries and workplaces.
Claims (21%): “The lack of standards and clear definitions is very confusing, and [Read more…] about Preparing Society for the Cognitive Age (Frontiers in Neuroscience article)
Today we continue the conversation with Maggie Jackson, author of Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age.
You can read part 1 here.
Q — In your Harvard Management Update interview, you said that “When what we pay attention to is driven by the last email we received, the trivial and the crucial occupy the same plane.” As well, it seems to be that a problem is our culture’s over-idealization of “always on” and “road warrior” habits, which distract from the importance of executive functions such as paying attention to one’s environment, setting up goals and plans, executing on them, measuring results, and internalizing learning. How can companies better equip their employees for future success? Can you offer some examples of companies who have positive cultures that encourage and reward employees fully put their frontal lobes into good use?
A. As I mentioned above, we are working and living in ways that undermine our ability to strategize, focus, reflect, innovate. Skimming, multitasking and speed all have a place in 21st-century life. But we can’t let go of deeper skills of focus and thinking and relating, or we’ll create a society of misunderstanding and shallow thinking.
To create workplaces that foster strategic thinking, deep social connection and innovation, we need to take three steps:
First, question the values that venerate McThinking and undermine attention. Recently, my morning paper carried a front-page story about efforts in an age of impatience to create a quick-boot computer. It’s ridiculous to ask people to wait a couple of minutes to start up their computer, explained one tech executive. The first hand up in the classroom, the hyper business-man or woman who can’t sit still, much less listen these are icons of success in American society. Still, many of us are beginning to question our adoration of instant gratification and hyper-mobility.
Second, we need to set the stage for focus individually and collectively by rewriting our climate of distraction and inattention. To help, some companies and business leaders are experimenting with white space the creation of physical spaces or times on the calendar for uninterrupted, unwired thinking and [Read more…] about Distracted in the Workplace? Meet Maggie Jackson’s Book (Part 2 of 2)