Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Gaming and Neuroscience: Opportunities and Challenges

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 the rest of this entry »

Study: Working memory training can improve fluid intelligence

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 the rest of this entry »

Invitation to SharpBrains Summit — Technology for Cognitive Health and Performance

We are excit­ed to invite you to the first vir­tu­al, glob­al Sharp­Brains Sum­mit (Jan­u­ary 18–20th, 2010). The Sharp­Brains Sum­mit will fea­ture a sharpbrains_summit_logo_webdream 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.

Reg­is­ter Today

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.

Agenda/ Speak­ers

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

Save the Date: SharpBrains Summit, Technology for Cognitive Health and Performance

We are very excit­ed to announce the first Sharp­Brains Sum­mit, a vir­tu­al con­fer­ence to take place Jan­u­ary 18–20th, 2010.  Over 30 lead­ing speak­ers and a pro­fes­sion­al audi­ence will dis­cuss emerg­ing inno­va­tion and tech­nol­o­gy for life­long cog­ni­tive health and per­for­mance. The Sum­mit will high­light the con­ver­gence of neu­rocog­ni­tive research, non-inva­sive tech­nol­o­gy and health­care, dis­cuss emerg­ing best prac­tices, and help pre­dict how a grow­ing range of tools may pro­vide solu­tions to cog­ni­tive health and per­for­mance-relat­ed issues.

sharpbrains_summit_logo_webYou 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

Read the rest of this entry »

Preparing Society for the Cognitive Age (Frontiers in Neuroscience article)

Frontiers in Neuroscience Augmenting Cognition(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 the rest of this entry »

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