Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Brain Fitness Software Trends

Some very inter­est­ing brain fit­ness soft­ware mar­ket news:

1) Sci­en­tif­ic Learn­ing To Buy Out Solil­o­quy

- “Sci­en­tif­ic Learn­ing Corp. has announced that it will acquire Solil­o­quy Learn­ing from JTT Hold­ings. Both Sci­en­tif­ic Learn­ing and Solil­o­quy pro­vide tech­nol­o­gy solu­tions for edu­ca­tion. The acqui­si­tion will cost SLC about $11 mil­lion and is expect­ed to be com­plet­ed this month.”

- “Sci­en­tif­ic Learn­ing is the devel­op­er of Fast For­Word, a fam­i­ly of read­ing inter­ven­tion tools tar­get­ed toward stu­dents who are char­ac­ter­ized as strug­gling learn­ers and designed to devel­op the required “neu­rocog­ni­tive skills” for read­ing and learn­ing in gen­er­al. Solil­o­quy is also a read­ing inter­ven­tion devel­op­er.”

Com­ment: this acqui­si­tion con­sol­i­dates Sci­en­tif­ic Learn­ing (NSDQ: SCIL) as the lead­ing com­pa­ny in the edu­ca­tion seg­ment of the brain fit­ness mar­ket. It will be inter­est­ing to track what research gets done on the neur­al and cog­ni­tive effects of Solil­o­quy, since Sci­en­tif­ic Learning’s Fast For­word is backed by exten­sive lit­er­a­ture.

2) Tech­no­me­dia Part­ners With SBT to Accel­er­ate Its Inter­na­tion­al Expan­sion

- “Tech­no­me­dia, a Cana­di­an provider of tal­ent man­age­ment and human cap­i­tal devel­op­ment solu­tions, announced its part­ner­ship with the SBT (Sci­en­tif­ic Brain Train­ing) group, a Euro­pean provider of train­ing and eval­u­a­tion of cog­ni­tive func­tions.” Read the rest of this entry »

Brain gyms’ tone minds and reduce stress

Fun arti­cle in the San Fran­cis­co Exam­in­er today on how High-tech ‘brain gyms’ tone minds, reduce stress. Quotes:

  • Sharp­Brains and Posit Sci­ence are just two of a grow­ing num­ber of start-up com­pa­nies lead­ing the way in the area of pack­ag­ing and devel­op­ing suites of soft­ware they call “brain gyms.”
  • Sharp­Brains offers a suite of prod­ucts that eval­u­ate buy­ers’ needs and tar­get their weak­ness, gen­tly push­ing for improve­ment, Fer­nan­dez said. One pro­gram helps improve mem­o­ry using a num­ber game (here); anoth­er pro­vides instant biofeed­back to users so they can prac­tice breath­ing and pos­i­tive think­ing to reduce stress (here), Fer­nan­dez said.”
  • I can start see­ing the changes in my stress lev­el take place right in front of my eyes,” said Baba Shiv (pro­file here), a neu­ro­sci­en­tist and pro­fes­sor at Stanford’s Grad­u­ate School of Busi­ness, who uses Freeze-Framer 2.0 (here), one of the pro­grams licensed by Sharp­Brains. By mon­i­tor­ing his stress lev­el through heart mon­i­tors hooked to his per­son­al com­put­er at work, he dis­cov­ered that con­stant­ly mon­i­tor­ing his e-mail inbox raised his stress lev­el, Shiv said. Now he lim­its him­self to check­ing e-mail every two hours, Shiv said.

The reporter did a great job in under­stand­ing and com­mu­ni­cat­ing a new and some­times com­plex top­ic. Read the arti­cle: High-tech ‘brain gyms’ tone minds, reduce stress.

You can learn more about the research on self-con­trol of our advi­sor Baba Shiv in The Frontal Cor­tex blog’s arti­cle Self-Con­trol is a Mus­cle and in Mind Hacks: (un)emotional invest­ment.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and other stress management techniques

We have explained before how men­tal stim­u­la­tion is impor­tant if done in the right sup­port­ive and engag­ing envi­ron­ment. Stanford’s Robert Sapol­sky and oth­ers’ have shown that chron­ic stress and cor­ti­cal inhi­bi­tion, which may be aggra­vat­ed due to imposed men­tal stim­u­la­tion, may prove coun­ter­pro­duc­tive. Hav­ing the right moti­va­tion is essen­tial.

A promis­ing area of sci­en­tif­ic inquiry for stress man­age­ment’ is Mind­ful­ness-Based Stress Reduc­tion (MBSR).’ You may have read about it in Sharon Begley’s’ Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain’ book. An increas­ing num­ber of neu­ro­sci­en­tists (such as UMass Med­ical School’s Jon Kabat-Zinn and Uni­ver­si­ty of Wisconsin-Madison’s Richard David­son) have been inves­ti­gat­ing the abil­i­ty of trained med­i­ta­tors to devel­op and sus­tain atten­tion and visu­al­iza­tions and to work pos­i­tive­ly with pow­er­ful emo­tion­al states and stress through the direct­ed men­tal process­es of med­i­ta­tion prac­tices. And have put their research into prac­tice for the ben­e­fit of many hos­pi­tal patients through their MSBR pro­grams.

A Stan­ford psy­chol­o­gist and friend recent­ly alert­ed me to a sim­i­lar pro­gram orga­nized Read the rest of this entry »

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