Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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BrainCheck raises $8 million to digitize cognitive/ neuropsychological assessments and better serve the aging population

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This start­up just raised $8 mil­lion to help busy doc­tors assess the cog­ni­tive health of 50 mil­lion seniors (TechCrunch):

…star­tups increas­ing­ly rec­og­nize oppor­tu­ni­ties to cater to this aging pop­u­la­tion. Some are devel­op­ing prod­ucts to sell to indi­vid­u­als and their fam­i­ly mem­bers direct­ly; oth­ers are com­ing up with ways to empow­er those who work direct­ly with old­er Amer­i­cans.

BrainCheck, a 20-per­son, Hous­ton-based start­up whose cog­ni­tive health­care prod­uct aims to help physi­cians assess and track the men­tal health of their patients, is among the lat­ter. Investors like what it has put togeth­er, too. Today, the start­up is announc­ing $8 mil­lion in Series A fund­ing co-led by S3 Ven­tures and Ten­sil­i­ty Ven­ture Part­ners. Read the rest of this entry »

Study suggests the real deficit underlying Attention Deficit Disorders is not Attention, but Working Memory

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Many par­ents have observed that their child with ADHD stays atten­tive and engaged dur­ing ‘high inter­est’ activ­i­ties, e.g., while play­ing video games, but has con­sid­er­able prob­lems stay­ing focused on less inher­ent­ly engag­ing tasks, e.g., doing school­work. This dis­crep­an­cy in atten­tion dur­ing pre­ferred and non-pre­ferred activ­i­ties has led some to Read the rest of this entry »

Learning with Video Games: A Revolution in Education and Training?

In recent years, we have wit­nessed the begin­nings of a rev­o­lu­tion in edu­ca­tion.  Tech­nol­o­gy has fun­da­men­tal­ly altered the way we do many things in dai­ly life, but it is just start­ing to make head­way in chang­ing the way we teach.  Just as tele­vi­sion shows like Sesame Street enhanced the pas­sive learn­ing of infor­ma­tion for kids by teach­ing in a fun for­mat, elec­tron­ic games offer to great­ly enhance the way kids and adults are taught by active­ly engag­ing them in the process. Read the rest of this entry »

Improving Driving Skills and Brain Functioning- Interview with ACTIVE’s Jerri Edwards

Jerri Edwards- Active trialToday we are for­tu­nate to inter­view Dr. Jer­ri Edwards, an Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor at Uni­ver­si­ty of South Flori­da’s School of Aging Stud­ies and Co-Inves­ti­ga­tor of the influ­en­cial ACTIVE study. Dr. Edwards was trained by Dr. Kar­lene K. Ball, and her research is aimed toward dis­cov­er­ing how cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties can be main­tained and even enhanced with advanc­ing age.

Main focus of research

Alvaro Fer­nan­dez: Please explain to our read­ers your main research areas

Jer­ri Edwards: I am par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in how cog­ni­tive inter­ven­tions may help old­er adults to avoid or at least delay func­tion­al dif­fi­cul­ties and there­by main­tain their inde­pen­dence longer. Much of my work has focused on the func­tion­al abil­i­ty of dri­ving includ­ing assess­ing dri­ving fit­ness among old­er adults and reme­di­a­tion of cog­ni­tive decline that results in dri­ving dif­fi­cul­ties.

Some research ques­tions that inter­est me include, how can we main­tain health­i­er lives longer? How can train­ing improve cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties, both to improve those abil­i­ties and also to slow-down, or delay, cog­ni­tive decline? The spe­cif­ic cog­ni­tive abil­i­ty that I have stud­ied the most is pro­cess­ing speed, which is one of the cog­ni­tive skills that decline ear­ly on as we age.

ACTIVE results

Can you explain what cog­ni­tive pro­cess­ing speed is, and why it is rel­e­vant to our dai­ly lives?

Pro­cess­ing speed is men­tal quick­ness. Just like a com­put­er with a 486 proces­sor can do a lot of the same things as a com­put­er with a Pen­tium 4 proces­sor, but it takes much longer, our minds tend to slow down with age as com­pared to when we were younger. We can do the same tasks, but it takes more time. Quick speed of pro­cess­ing is impor­tant for Read the rest of this entry »

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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