Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News



Top 10 Highlights: State of the Brain Fitness Software Market 2009

1) Growth market: Consumers, seniors’ communities and insurance providers drove year on year sustained growth, from $225m in 2007 to $265m in 2008. Revenues may reach between $1 billion to $5 billion by 2015, depending on how important problems (Public Awareness, Navigating Claims, Research, Health Culture, Lack of Assessment) are addressed.

2) Increased interest and confusion: 61% of respondents Strongly Agree with the statement “Addressing cognitive and brain health should be a healthcare priority.” But, 65% Agree/Strongly Agree “I don’t really know what to expect from products making brain claims.”

3) Investment in R&D seeds future growth: Landmark investments by insurance providers and government-funded research institutes testing new brain fitness applications planted new seeds for future growth.

4) Becoming standard in residential facilities: Over 700 residential facilities – mostly Independent and Assisted Living facilities and CCRCs – have installed computerized cognitive training programs.

5) Customer satisfaction: Consumers seem more satisfied with computer-based products than paper-based options. But, satisfaction differs by product. When asked “I got real value for my money”, results were as follows: (65% Agree), Puzzle Books (60%), Posit Science (52%), Nintendo (51%) agreed. Posit Science (53% Agree) and (51%) do better than Puzzle Books (39%) and Nintendo (38%) at “I have seen the results I wanted.”

6) Assessments: Increasing adoption of computer-based cognitive assessments to baseline and track cognitive functions over time in military, sports, and clinical contexts. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America now advocates for widespread cognitive screenings after 65-75.

7) Specific computerized cognitive training and videogames have been shown to improve brain functions, but the key questions are, “Which ones”, and “Who needs what when?”

8) Aggressive marketing claims are creating confusion and skepticism, resulting in a distracting controversy between two misleading extremes: (a) “buying product XYZ can rejuvenate your brain Y years” or (b) “those products don’t work; just do one more crossword puzzle.” The upcoming book The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness aims to help consumers navigate these claims.

9) Developers can be classified into four groups, based on our Market and Research Momentum analysis: we find 4 Leaders, 8 High Potentials, 3 Crosswords 2.0, and 6 Wait & See companies.

10) Increased differentiation: Leading companies are better defining their value proposition and distribution channels to reach specific segments such as retirement communities, schools, or healthcare providers.

Table of Contents


Executive Summary

Chapter 1. A Bird’s-Eye View of the Growing Field
– Market size, segments and trends
– Highlights of 2008
– Demand: insurance companies join consumers and seniors’ communities
– Science: how to separate reality vs. hope vs. hype
– Supply: significant venture and policy-driven investments
– Policy: cognitive health on the government’s radar screen
– Navigating the landscape
– Interview with Tom Warden – Cognitive training for driver safety
– Interview with Dr. William Reichman – Update from Baycrest’s Centre for Brain Fitness
– Essay by Dr. Torkel Klingberg – Dealing with our overflowing brains

Chapter 2. Market Survey on Beliefs, Attitudes, Purchase Habits
– January 2009: survey of 2,000+ decision-makers and early adopters
– Key take-aways
– Beliefs and attitudes
– Likelihood of ten 2015 predictions
– Purchase history and evaluation criteria
– Overall customer satisfaction
– Leading products by awareness, and demographic comparison
– Customer satisfaction for four top products
– Most important bottlenecks for growth
– Survey details and demographic information

Chapter 3. The Emerging Competitive Landscape
– Navigating the landscape
– The Research-Market Momentum Matrix
– Summary table: SharpBrains’ Take, Research-Market Momentum
– Leaders: High Market & Research Momentum
– High Potentials: High Research Momentum
– Crosswords 2.0: High Market Momentum
– Wait & See: Neither High Market or Research Momentum
– Innovative Service Models

Chapter 4. The Science for Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health
– Recent Findings in Context
– Debunking 10 typical myths
– Research Executive Briefs: Summary Table
– Dr. Joshua Steinerman (Einstein-Montefiore): Neuroprotection via cognitive activities
– Dr. Jerri Edwards (South Florida): Cognitive aging and driving
– Dr. Susanne Jaeggi and Dr. Martin Buschkuehl (Bern, Michigan): Working memory training and fl uid intelligence
– Dr. Torkel Klingberg (Karolinska): Working memory training, dopamine, and math
– Dr. Liz Zelinski (UC Davis): Auditory processing training
– Dr. David Vance (UAB): Speed-of-processing training
– Dr. Jerri Edwards (South Florida): Cognitive training for healthy aging and driving
– Dr. Daphne Bavelier & Dr. Shawn Green (Rochester): Action videogames and attentional skills
– Dr. Arthur Kramer (Illinois): Strategy videogames and executive functions
– Dr. Yaakov Stern (Columbia): The cognitive reserve and neuroimaging
– Dr. David Rabiner (Duke): Objective assessments for ADHD
– Interview with Dr. Martin Buschkuehl: Crossword puzzles vs. cognitive training

Chapter 5. Consumers – Adopting Crosswords 2.0?
– Key trends and players
– Nintendo Brain Age case study: creating a consumer category
– PBS/ NPR drove public awareness –including surprising claims
– Emerging platforms: online, iPhone
– Converging trends: exercise, gaming, lifelong learning
– Checklist for consumers evaluating products
– A new resource: The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness
– Interview with Dr. Arthur Kramer – The need for walking book clubs

Chapter 6: Healthcare and Insurance Providers – A Culture of Cognitive Health
– Key trends and players
– Becoming mainstream in seniors housing
– Case studies: Erickson, Senior Star, Belmont
– Insurance providers lead major cognitive health initiatives
– Checklist for providers selecting brain fi tness programs
– Emerging clinical applications of cognitive training
– Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s advocates for cognitive screening
– Effect of drugs (including over the counter ones) on cognitive decline
– Innovative process to define standard outcomes: schizophrenia MATRICS project
– Interview with Dr. Gary Kennedy: Asking the right questions to encourage compliance
– Interview with Dr. McCleary: A multi-pronged approach to brain health

Chapter 7: K12 School Systems- Ready for Change?
– Key trends and players
– What Works Clearinghouse’s take on Fast ForWord and Houghton Mifflin´ Earobics
– The potential for training executive functions
– The potential for math performance
– The Nintendo “controversy” in the UK
– Interview with Dr. Michael Posner – What Is Attention and How It can be Trained

Chapter 8: Military, Sports Teams, Companies – Brain-Performance Link
– Key trends and players
– New military policy to detect Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
– Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics (ANAM)
– Cognitive baselines widely used by sports teams
– Landmark initiative by the USA Hockey League
– Cognitive fitness at work, by the Dana Foundation and the Conference Board
– Interview with Lee Woodruff: Helping veterans recover from TBI

Chapter 9: Future Directions – Projections and Bottlenecks
– Trends to watch: 2009-2015
– 2015 growth projections
– Bottlenecks and priorities

List of Figures

Executive Summary
1: Market report at a glance

Chapter 1: A Bird’s-Eye View of the Growing Field
1.1: Brain fitness market by segment
1.2: Snapshot of customer segments
1.3: Brain fitness growth drivers
1.4: Augmenting Cognition
1.5: Main funding events in 2008
1.6: Level of clinical validation: product and domain
1.7: Type of customer and delivery vehicle

Chapter 2: Market Survey on Beliefs, Attitudes, Purchase Habits
2.1: Beliefs and attitudes
2.2: Likelihood of ten 2015 predictions
2.3: Purchase history
2.4: Evaluation criteria
2.5: Overall Customer Satisfaction
2.6: Top-of-mind products
2.7: Demographic comparison
2.8: Customer Satisfaction for four top products
2.9: Most Important Problem
2.10: Demographics: source of interest
2.11: Demographics: age
2.12: Demographics: gender
2.13: Demographics: household income
2.14: Demographics: education level

Chapter 3: The Emerging Competitive Landscape
3.1: The Research-Market Momentum Matrix
3.2: Summary Table: SharpBrains’ Take
Chapter 4: The Science for Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health
4.1: Debunking 10 myths
4.2: Research Executive Briefs: Summary Table

Chapter 5: Consumers – Adopting Crosswords 2.0?
5.1: Revenue growth in consumer segment
5.2: Projected US population growth over 55 years old (2000-2030)

Chapter 6: Healthcare and Insurance Providers – A Culture of Cognitive Health
6.1: Revenue growth in healthcare & insurance segment
6.2: Incidence and Annual Costs of Brain and Nervous System Disorders
6.3: Comparison of intervention options
6.4: Expected prevalence of Alzheimer’s in US (2000-2050)

Chapter 7: K12 School Systems- Ready for Change?
7.1: Revenue growth in K12 schools segments

Chapter 8: Military, Sports Teams, Companies – Brain-Performance Link
8.1: Revenue growth in military & sports segment

Chapter 9: Future Directions – Projections and Bottlenecks
9.1: Range of Projections for 2015


Advanced Brain Technologies
Applied Cognitive Engineering
Brain Center America
Brain Resource Company
CNS Vital Signs
Cognitive Drug Research
Houghton Mifflin
Learning Enhancement Corporation
Lexia Learning
Lumos Labs
Marbles: The Brain Store
Posit Science
Scientific Brain Training
Scientific Learning
Vigorous Mind
Vivity Labs