Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Report: The State of the Brain Fitness/ Training Software Market 2008

After many months of work (and we hope many new neu­rons and stronger synaps­es in our brains), we have just released our inau­gur­al report on the emerg­ing Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket, Brain Fitness Software the first to define the brain fit­ness and train­ing soft­ware mar­ket and ana­lyze the size and trends of its four cus­tomer seg­ments. We esti­mate the size of the US brain fit­ness soft­ware mar­ket at $225M in2007, up from $100m in 2005 (50% CAGR). The two seg­ments that fueled the mar­ket growth: con­sumers (grew from $5m to $80m, 300% CAGR) and health­care & insur­ance providers (grew from $36m to $65m, 35% CAGR).

High­lights from The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2008 report include:

1) 2007 was a sem­i­nal year for the US Brain Fit­ness soft­ware mar­ket, which reached $225 mil­lion in rev­enues – up from an esti­mat­ed $100 mil­lion in 2005.

2) Over 20 com­pa­nies are offer­ing tools to assess and train cog­ni­tive skills to four cus­tomer seg­ments: con­sumers; health­care and insur­ance providers; K12 school sys­tems; and For­tune 1000 com­pa­nies, the mil­i­tary, and sports teams.

3) The Nin­ten­do Brain Age/ Brain Train­ing phe­nom­e­non has dri­ven much of the growth. The con­sumer seg­ment grew from a few mil­lion in 2005 to an esti­mat­ed $80 mil­lion in 2007.

4) There is major con­fu­sion in the mar­ket, so edu­ca­tion will be key. Users and buy­ers need help to nav­i­gate the maze of prod­ucts and claims.

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Alzheimer’s Disease: too serious to play with headlines

Featured Website, Scientific American Mind, June/July 2007

We just came across an arti­cle titled Best Com­put­er Brain Games for Senior Cit­i­zens to Delay Alzheimer’s Dis­ease. The head­line makes lit­tle sci­en­tif­ic sense-and we observe this con­fu­sion often. The arti­cle men­tions a few pro­grams we have dis­cussed often in this blog, such as Posit Sci­ence and Mind­Fit, and oth­ers we haven’t because we haven’t found any pub­lished sci­ence behind, such as Dakim and MyBrain­Train­er. And there are more pro­grams: what about Hap­py Neu­ron, Lumos­i­ty, Spry Learn­ing and Captain’s Log. Not to talk about Nin­ten­do Brain Age, of course.

Some of those pro­grams have real sci­ence that, at best, shows how some spe­cif­ic cog­ni­tive skills (like mem­o­ry, or atten­tion, or pro­cess­ing) can be trained and improved-no mat­ter the age. This is a very impor­tant mes­sage that hasn’t yet per­co­lat­ed through many brains out there: we know today that com­put­er-based soft­ware pro­grams can be very use­ful to train some cog­ni­tive skills, bet­ter than alter­na­tive meth­ods (paper and pen­cil, class­room-based, just “dai­ly liv­ing”).

Now, no sin­gle pro­gram can make ANY claim that it specif­i­cal­ly delays/ pre­vents Alzheimer’s Dis­ease beyond gen­er­al state­ments such as that Learn­ing Slows Phys­i­cal Pro­gres­sion of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease (hence the imper­a­tive for life­long learn­ing) and that men­tal stim­u­la­tion-togeth­er with oth­er lifestyle fac­tors such as nutri­tion, phys­i­cal exer­cise and stress man­age­ment, as out­lined in these Steps to Improve Your Brain Health- may con­tribute to build a Cog­ni­tive Reserve that may reduce the prob­a­bil­i­ty of prob­lems. Pro­grams may be able to Read the rest of this entry »

Healthy Brain Initiative by CDC and Alzheimer’s Association

The CDC has report­ed a joint ini­tia­tive with the Alzheimer’s Asso­ci­a­tion to cre­ate the Healthy Brain Ini­tia­tive: A Nation­al Pub­lic Health Roadmap for Cog­ni­tive Health. Some quotes from their announce­ment:

  • In order to main­tain and improve the cog­ni­tive per­for­mance of all adults, the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (CDC) and the Alzheimer’s Asso­ci­a­tion today released the first-ever Nation­al Pub­lic Health Road Map to Main­tain­ing Cog­ni­tive Health (Road Map) at the 2nd Alzheimer’s Asso­ci­a­tion Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence on Pre­ven­tion of Demen­tia in Wash­ing­ton, DC.”
  • The Road Map high­lights the impor­tance of main­tain­ing and improv­ing cog­ni­tive health to the over­all health of the nation. The Road Map is both a call to action and a guide for imple­ment­ing a coor­di­nat­ed approach to rais­ing the public’s aware­ness about cog­ni­tive health and increas­ing the nation’s com­mit­ment to under­stand­ing both the risks for cog­ni­tive decline and ways of main­tain­ing brain health.”
  • Efforts to main­tain and improve pub­lic health have focused most­ly
    ‘below the neck,’ address­ing dis­eases and con­di­tions affect­ing the heart
    and oth­er bod­i­ly organs,” said Har­ry Johns, Alzheimer’s Asso­ci­a­tion
    Pres­i­dent and CEO. “The Nation­al Pub­lic Health Road Map to Main­tain­ing
    Cog­ni­tive Health shifts the focus ‘above the neck’ to draw atten­tion to
    main­tain­ing the health of our brains, which arguably is the most impor­tant
    organ in our bod­ies.”

We hope the mes­sage gets well-heard!

Relat­ed posts:

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