From baby boomers fearing memory loss to college students wanting a mental boost, interest in brain-training products is soaring. Yet among leading scientists, there is persistent scrutiny and skepticism. Last year 70 cognitive researchers signed a statement speaking out against computer-based games that promise better cognitive performance, citing a lack of scientific evidence to back such claims.
Within this morass of hype and hope, at least two companies have committed to rigorous testing of their digital products to treat specific health conditions before making them available on the market. Boston-based Akili Interactive Labs and Posit Science in San Francisco are preparing to conduct controlled clinical trials in order to have their therapeutic games approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration—a requirement for medical devices that doctors prescribe. The road to FDA approval is long and expensive but promising preliminary studies have encouraged both companies to move forward. The games under development at the two companies emerged from neuroscience and aging research at the University of California, San Francisco (U.C.S.F.).
“The at-risk group showed a different brain signal many decades before the onset of the disease, and they navigated differently in a virtual environment”, wrote the team. German researchers had people aged 18 to 30 to navigate through a virtual maze to test the function of certain brain cells and found those with a high …
Les futurs médecins s’entraînent sur des mannequins haute fidélité qui parlent, respirent, saignent, accouchent, avec lesquels ils peuvent pratiquer et apprendre de leurs erreurs... sans tuer le patient.
A lot of time, effort and money goes into the creation of new drugs. A new game Big Pharma, which came out Thursday, is giving users the opportunity to see for themselves by running a virtual pharmaceutical company.
Developers of a new video game for your brain say theirs is more than just another get-smarter-quick scheme.
Akili, a Northern California startup, insists on taking the game through a full battery of clinical trials so it can get approval from the Food and Drug Administration — a process that will take lots of money and several years.
So why would a game designer go to all that trouble when there's already a robust market of consumers ready to buy games that claim to make you smarter and improve your memory?
Think about all the ads you've heard for brain games. Maybe you've even passed a store selling them. There's one at the mall in downtown San Francisco — just past the cream puff stand and across from Jamba Juice — staffed on my visit by a guy named Dominic Firpo.
"I'm a brain coach here at Marbles: The Brain Store," he says.
"Sounds better than salesperson," Firpo explains. "We have to learn all 200 games in here and become great salespeople so we can help enrich peoples' minds."
He heads to the "Word and Memory" section of the store and points to one product that says it will improve your focus and reduce stress in just three minutes a day.
"We sold out of it within the first month of when we got it," Firpo says.
One of the great things about living near a “destination city” such as Washington DC is that friends and relatives often come to visit. This past Fourth of July week was a perfect example, as my sister-in-law and niece came to visit and to celebrate our country’s birthday in it's capital city.
My niece had also recently just turned 21, and was celebrating her birthday too. One thing that they both wanted to do was to go to a casino. Luckily about an hour or so north was Arundel Mills, an outlet shopping destination and (non-smoking) casino.
I’m much more a student of human behavior than a gambler, so I went to the casino with them mostly to observe the behavior of those that were gambling. I was amazed at the amount of engagement that the people had with their slot machines. They pressed and pressed buttons, watched wheels spin, lights flash, listened to buzzers and bells ring, all in the hopes of maybe winning it big.
Pierre Sabin, Dirigeant et Co-fondateur d’Abeilles Multimédia, explique : « Notre objectif en créant SALVUM, était de rendre plus accessible le secourisme afin de former davantage de personnes et ainsi, réduire le nombre de drames que certains vivent chaque année. Après un démarrage prometteur auprès des adultes, grand public et entreprises, nous souhaitons maintenant nous [...]
Virtual reality (VR) is the new [old] buzzword [again], capturing the imagination of a new generation of early adopters, technologists and gamers. With its early roots in the 1950s simulation community, there have been decades of research, dedicated journals and conferences that have built a substantial VR knowledge base.You can imagine how the current VR hype cycle must appear like a true déjà vu event for many VR veterans. But what’s different this time is that the technology is now within reach of the consumer…and almost out of reach of motion sickness.And, there is a new benefactor: the gaming and entertainment market. The majority of recently created VR content is, therefore, made solely for the user’s enjoyment. However, though the global entertainment and media market is substantial (~$2 trillion), VR applications in other sectors are poised to have a much larger impact on our daily lives.
Even though the prototype was panned by many critics and a new version isn't due out until next year, Google Glass is finding willing users in healthcare. One recent test found that it may have even saved the lives of several poison victims in a hospital ED.
The latest success story comes from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where researchers used the interactive eyewear on a test of toxicology consults at UMass Memorial Medical Center. As reported in the Journal of Medical Toxicology, emergency medicine residents at the hospital used Google Glass in 18 consults, evaluating patients while a secure video feed was established with a supervising consultant.
In each case, the supervising consultant guided the resident through the consult by means of text messages shown on the eyeglasses. In addition, residents had access to images of medicine bottles, EKGs and other information on Glass as they worked with the patients.
According to the researchers, 89 percent of the cases were deemed successful by the consulting toxicologist, meaning the encounter was better through the use of Google Glass. The residents reported being more confident in diagnosing cases, while the use of Google Glass changed management of patient care in more than half of the cases.
In fact, researchers reported that six patients received antidotes that they wouldn't have gotten had the residents not used Google Glass to support their diagnosis.
"Placing an expert at the virtual bedside of the patient has huge advantages," Peter R. Chai, MD, a Toxicology Fellow at UMass Medical School, told Medicalxpress.com. "It brings a specialist to patients that might not otherwise have access to that kind of expertise. Because Google Glass is relatively unobtrusive to patients, can be operated hands free and is extremely portable, it has a distinct advantage over traditional telemedicine platforms."
Although she was speaking about VR, de la Pena addresses the evolving documentary space too: "I think that it's like video, like print, like film, like television, but more closely interwoven; this is a new platform. We're just figuring out the language and the vernacular. Right now, it hasn't been written."
Evelyne Klinger is Head of Research at the École supérieure d’informatique électronique automatique (ESIEA), a private engineering college which focuses on science and technology as applied to computing. She tells l’Atelier about new applications for Virtual Reality (VR) in the medical field, an opportunity which is now beginning to attract industrial firms.
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