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News: DriveSharp, Cognitive Health, Posit Science and CogniFit

Posted Aug 21 2009 12:00am

Round-up of recent news on cognitive health and brain fitness:

1) Impressive coup by Posit Science: Walter Mossberg reviews DriveSharp:

A Review of DriveSharp (Wall Street Journal)

- “My verdict is that it was easy to use, and it did indeed work on my ability to rapidly recall the color and position of multiple moving objects and of objects on the periphery of my vision. It intelligently adjusted to my performance, and gradually presented me with tougher tasks.”

- “However, two major caveats are in order. First, I am neither a scientist nor a doctor, so I can’t vouch for the company’s claims about DriveSharp’s benefits or even the underlying problem it aims to alleviate. Secondly, I wasn’t able to test DriveSharp long enough to know if it actually made me a better driver.”

2) Now, is the potential limited to older drivers? not really, as noted in this Seattle Times article:

Brain-fitness companies applying neuroscience to make safer drivers (Seattle Times)

- “CogniFit President Shlomo Breznitz says previous versions of this software have been in use by the largest driving schools in the U.K. and Canada.”

- “The brains of new drivers have to acquire new skills that take time to develop,” he said. “Typically, they take about two years of driving, as witnessed by accident records all over the world. By actively training these skills the time needed for the brain to achieve the same level of expertise is shortened. This shortens the extremely high risk period of new drivers.”

3) Challenge – do people understand what we are talking about? not always, as reported in this great special issue of The Gerontologist:

- “All demographic groups studied believed that cognitive health is influenced by physical, mental, and social activity; however, they differed in opinions of the benefits of specific activities, nutrition, and genetics. The respondents also indicated that that media messages about cognitive health are limited and confusing. Furthermore, many agreed that health messages that incorporate specific community values and are delivered within pre-existing social groups by community leaders may be particularly effective.”
- “Funding for the special issue, titled “Promoting Cognitive Health in Diverse Populations of Older Adults: Attitudes, Perceptions, Behaviors, and their Implications for Community-Based Interventions,” was provided by the CDC’s Healthy Aging Program.”

All in all, very relevant data points that suggest the field is quickly approaching mainstream.

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