Free Articles  >>  Fitness >>  Page 1625  >> 

Technology For Brain Health an Upcoming Revolution in Cognitive Assessments and Training

In April 2008, Baycrest, a leading research institute focused on aging and brain function, received $10-million from the Ontario Government to create a groundbreaking Centre for Brain Fitness. Its stated goal was to "develop and commercialize a range of products designed to improve the brain health of aging Ontarians and others around the world".

"Our government is proud to support Baycrest and its invaluable work, which is already leading to the discovery of important new tools and approaches to treating brain diseases associated with aging," said Minister of Research and Innovation, John Wilkinson.

We have Baycrest's CEO with us today, to explore why Ontario and Baycrest chose to become pioneers in this area, and discuss some of the main opportunities, and challenges. Dr. William E. Reichman is President and CEO of Baycrest. Dr. Reichman, an internationally-known expert in geriatric mental health and dementia, is also Professor of Psychiatry on the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Alvaro Fernandez (AF): Bill, thank you for your time. Let me start by asking, given that you just spoke at the recent Consumer Electronic Show, what do you make of the growing brain fitness field?

Bill Reichman (BR): it looks like a classic example of a very promising but still early stage field - a lot of opportunity and enthusiasm, but also a lot of product claims that are not backed by solid research. Think about the physical fitness analogy: even today, after decades of progress, you still see people buying research-based products such as treadmills but also all types of random machines they see on TV and have not been subject to any validation. Similarly, consumers today do not know what to make of growing brain fitness claims. As another speaker pointed out, for the industry to fulfill its promise, it will need to be careful with research and claims, not to end up like the nutraceuticals category.

AF: Let's step back for a moment. Taking a, say, 10 years view, what is the main opportunity that technology-based brain fitness can offer to society?

BR: First of all, let me say that I think we have a similar opportunity to make major progress in Brain Health in the XXI century, similar to what happened with Cardiovascular Health in the XX, and technology will play a crucial role.

Given the rapid advances we are witnessing today in the research and technology arenas, I feel confident in saying that in less than 10 years we will have both valid and reliable assessments of cognitive functions, that will be used both by consumers at home and in a variety of health settings, and a better knowledge of what specific cognitive rehabilitative interventions may help specific groups of patients.

Quality and widely available assessments are a critical part of the puzzle. Consumers and professionals need easy-to-use, low cost, assessments to measure both their needs and the impact of different interventions. Baycrest is going to take a leadership role in this areawe believe that the development of a tool equivalent to the blood pressure cuff will have great impact on brain health in the areas of prevention and treatment.

AF: Tell us both about the Centre for Brain Fitness launched last year, and the Women's Brain Health Initiative you have just announced.

BR: As you know, the government of Ontario and local donors invested $20m in a new center here, housed in the Rotman Research Institute, to develop and commercialize brain fitness technologies. Baycrest has traditionally been more focused on the research than the development side, so this is new and exciting step for us. We are now looking to hire the inaugural Director for the Centre of Brain Fitness, so let us know if you have any suggestions. We are looking for a globally recognized leader in neuroplasticity research and cognitive neurorehabilitation. As an adjunct to the Centre, we are in the process of creating a spin-off that will help identify and prioritize commercial applications of our research. You have discussed this with Veronika Litinski from MaRS Venture group who is partnering with us.

Our traditional research strengths have been cognitive assessments and cognitive rehabilitation, so it is a natural extension for us to expand our focus to include healthy aging and the needs of an aging workforce , and to investigate new platforms such as PDAs to enable people to function at the highest possible level.

The Women's brain health initiative was spearhead by friends of Baycrest, active women of the baby boomer generation. They are interested in research to identify strategies and methods to prevent Alzheimer's Disease, which affects women disproportionally given their longer life expectancy and frequent status as caregivers, and also in specific gender related topics such as the impact of female hormones on brain development and function. They are raising funds to support new initiatives in women's brain health and aging at Baycrest and supporting women neuroscientists and enabling their research to be relevant and sensitive to women's brain health concerns.

AF: Finally, what is the main obstacle you see today for the development of a sustainable brain fitness market that can fulfill its promise?

I'd say the lack of widely accepted standards for outcome measures. There are myriad ways to measure the impact of cognitive exercise and other lifestyle options - we can talk psychometrics, assessments of daily living, neuroimaging findings. But, there is not a consensus yet on what to measure and how. Dr. Gary Small and I were talking recently about the need to step up in this area, figuring out how to engage a variety of serious stakeholders in solving this important issue.

AF: I agree with that sentiment. We have already run over the time for this interview, but we need to follow-up on that. Thank you for your time!

BR: My pleasure.

About Author Alvaro Fernandez :

Alvaro Fernandez is the CEO and Co-Founder of, a website that reviews resources for brain fitness and offers brain teasers. SharpBrains has been recognized by Scientific American Mind, Newsweek, The New York Times, and more. Alvaro holds MA in Education and MBA from Stanford University, and teaches The Science of Brain Health at UC-Berkeley Lifelong Learning Institute. You can learn more at <a href="" target="_blank"></a>

Article Source:
Article Url:

Article Added on Friday, May 15, 2009
Other Articles by Alvaro Fernandez

Healthy Aging for the Brain Understanding the Facts not the Myths
Copyright (c) 2009 SharpBrains Have you noticed that every week some article seems to say exactly the opposite to what another article said the week before? Do supplements improve memory? Are physical and brain activity important and complementary or is either enough? Which brain training approach, if any, is worth one's time and money? First of all, we need to debunk several popular myths on mental fitness and cognitive health. Once you understand the facts, not the myths, you will be able...

Brain Improvement and Cognitive Fitness Fact or Fiction
? You may already have a Nintendo Brain Age game, or at least have heard of it. You may also have read recently that start-up Lumos Labs raised $3m to develop brain training games. From the press release: - Lumos Labs is at the center of a booming interest in cognitive exercise and the emerging science about the remarkable plasticity of the brain, said Amish Jani of Pequot Ventures. This and other developments (such as the success of Nintendo Brain Age, and the PBS special devoted to brain...

Top 10 Brain Training Future Trends New Mind Body Focus Brain Trainers and More
In an emerging, dynamic, high growth market, like brain training, it is difficult to make precise projections. But, we can observe a number of trends that executives, consumers, public policy makers, and the media should watch closely in the coming years, as brain fitness and training becomes mainstream, new brain trainers appear, and an ecosystem grows around it. 1. We predict an increased emphasis on brain maintenance in locations ranging from retirement communities to gyms. As a...

Top Ten Cognitive Health Events in 2007 Brain Fitness Program Explained and More
By now, you surely are aware that our brains retain the ability to generate neurons and change over our lifetimes, breaking the scientific paradigm prevalent during the 20th century. And you have read about the growing number of brain games and brain fitness programs offered. Now, you may wonder, why is all this happenning now? To understand that, let's review 10 important events that took place in 2007, a seminal year for the field. 1.In January, many mainstream media publications, such as...

Why We Need Personal Brain Trainers Dr Michael Merzenich and Neuroplasticity
Copyright (c) 2009 SharpBrains I recently had the fortune to interview Dr. Michael Merzenich, a leading pioneer in brain plasticity research, in his office at UCSF. You may have learned about his work in one of PBS TV specials, multiple media appearances, or neuroplasticity-related books. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1999 and to the Institute of Medicine this year. AF (Alvaro Fernandez): Dear Michael, thank you very much for your time today. What are, in your mind,...

We Need a Global Consortium for Brain Fitness and Training Innovation
The World Economic Forum asked me to write an 800 words summary of your most compelling actionable idea on the challenges of aging and gerontology, in preparation for the Inaugural Summit of the Global Agenda taking place November 7 to 9th in Dubai. Here you have my proposal to create a Global Consortium for Brain Fitness and Training Innovation and help ensure that No Brain is Left Behind: I. The Context - Growing Demands on Our Brains: Picture 6.7 billion Primitive Brains inhabiting a...

Brain Training It Works to Improve Mental Skills and It Doesn t to reduce Brain Age
Brain Training: It Works (to Improve Mental Skills) and It Doesn't (to reduce Brain Age) Researchers from the Mayo Clinic and USC Davis have just announced publication of their IMPACT study at the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The press release announces: - Of the 487 healthy adults over the age of 65 who participated in a randomized controlled trial, half used the Brain Fitness Program for 40 hours over the course of eight weeks. The Brain Fitness Program consists of six...

Ready to Measure Your Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health
? You know your weight. And your physical fitness. And a variety of health-related metrics. What about your brain fitness? In years to come, we can expect a growing number of assessments to help each of us address that precise question, using tools that today are only available to researchers and clinicians, raising both opportunities and concerns. Two recent announcements bring out important events in that direction: 1) Last week, OptumHealth announced an exclusive 3-year agreement...

Top 7 FAQs on Brain Plasticity and Cognitive Fitness for Life
Copyright (c) 2009 SharpBrains What does brain fitness mean? and what about brain plasticity? These two concepts seem to be everywhere in the media these days, and were nowhere to be seen a few years ago. What do they mean? How can they help me? We just polled over a thousand people about their main questions on neuroplasticity and brain fitness. I have selected and answered the 7 most common ones below. I hope you enjoy the FAQ session. Q: What exactly does neuroplasticity mean, and why...

Exercise Body and Brain to Maintain Lifelong Cognitive Health
The American Medical News, a weekly newspaper for physicians published by the American Medical Association, just published an excellent article on the importance of Exercise - Physical and Mental: A few quotes from the article titled Steps to a nimble mind: Physical and mental exercise help keep the brain fit: Until recently, conventional wisdom held that our brains were intractable, hard-wired computers. What we were born with was all we got. Age wore down memory and the ability to...

Click here to see More Articles by Alvaro Fernandez
Publishers / Webmasters
Article ID: 135809
DELINK URL from Authors Bio
REMOVE Article
Tell A Friend
Leave A Comment!
Download this article in PDF
Report Article!
Search through all the articles:

270 Users Online!!
Related Articles:
Latest Articles:
fitness >> Top 50 Articles on fitness
Category - >
Advertising Advice Affiliate Programs Automobiles
Be Your Own Mentor Careers Communication Consumers
CopyWriting Crime Domain Names DoT com Entrepreneur Corner
Ebooks Ecommerce Education Email
Entertainment Environment Family Finance And Business
Food & Drink Gardening Health & Fitness Hobbies
Home Business Home Improvement Humour House Holds
Internet And Computers Kiddos and Teens Legal Matters Mail Order
Management Marketing Marriage MetaPhysical
Motivational MultiMedia Multi Level Marketing NewsLetters
Pets Psychology Religion Parenting
Politics Sales Science Search Engine Optimization
Site Promotion Sports Technology Travel
Web Development Web Hosting WeightLoss Women's Corner
Writing Miscellaneous Articles Real Estate Arts And Crafts

Disclaimer: The information presented and opinions expressed in the articles are those of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the views of and/or its owners.

Copyright AwareINDIA. All rights reserved || Privacy Policy || Terms Of Use || Author Guidelines || Free Articles
FAQs Link To Us || Submit An Article || Free Downloads|| Contact Us || Site Map  || Advertise with Us ||
Click here for Special webhosting packages for visitors of this website only!
Vastu Shastra

Small Business eMail Hosting Provided By AwareIndia

Company IDS