Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring timely brain & mental health news and a fun brain teaser to test the limits of multi-tasking.
#1. Collaborative neuroimaging initiative BrainChart helps chart how brains change across the lifespan. Among the many fascinating findings:
“The volume of grey matter (brain cells) increases rapidly from mid-gestation onwards, peaking just before we are six years old. It then begins to decrease slowly.”
“The volume of white matter (brain connections) also increased rapidly from mid-gestation through early childhood and peaks just before we are 29 years old.”
“The decline in white matter volume begins to accelerate after 50 years.”
#2. Five ways to clear foggy brains and improve cognitive well-being
“Become more intentional about consuming news … newspapers, TV news programs, and many social media sites make their money by grabbing your attention—and nothing grabs attention better than negative news. But repeated exposure to crises wreaks havoc with our well-being and can lead to bad decision making.”
#3. As announced in our previous e‑newsletter, the Center for BrainHealth at UT-Dallas hosted a talk titled Navigating the Brain Health Market with Álvaro Fernández Ibáñez on April 21st. We had over a thousand participants, hundreds of comments and a superb Q&A at the end — you can enjoy the full session recording HERE, over at YouTube.
#4. Mapping ‘psychedelic trips’ in the brain to better direct their therapeutic effects
“Our study shows that it’s possible to map the diverse and wildly subjective psychedelic experiences to specific regions in the brain. These insights may lead to new ways to combine existing or yet to be discovered compounds to produce desired treatment effects for a range of psychiatric conditions.”
#5. Altoida raises further $14 million to “democratize digital cognitive assessment at scale” via augmented reality (AR) and AI
“Through an app downloaded to a patient’s own smartphone or tablet, Altoida’s tech first offers up a 10-minute test. A variety of Augmented Reality (AR)-powered exercises measure 11 areas of the brain that have been linked to Alzheimer’s. The video-game-like activities ask users to hide and relocate virtual objects around the room, simulate a fire evacuation and search for virtual items while a sound continuously plays .. The resulting report highlights symptoms of cognitive decline—such as hand and gait errors, eye tracking, pupil dilation and more—and provides a score of the likelihood that they’ll develop Alzheimer’s within the next year.”
#6. Geisinger and Eisai to test real-world validity of AI-powered Passive Digital Marker (PDM) in detecting early cognitive impairment and dementia
“As an implementation scientist, it is always exciting to have other scientists evaluate the reproducibility of the performance of our passive digital marker in very different populations,” said Malaz Boustani, M.D., Richard M. Fairbanks Professor of Aging Research at Indiana University. “Reproducibility is the cornerstone of scientific progress.”
#7. Debate: Will digital therapeutics gain the required levels of awareness, adoption, reimbursement and fulfillment to become sustainable?
“There’s still a lot of foundational work that needs to be done,” said Maya Desai, director of life sciences for Guidehouse. “There’s a lot of behavioral change that needs to happen across the stakeholders and their mindsets to think about digital therapeutics as a category of its own.”
#8. And, yes, here’s the quick brain teaser to test the limits of multitasking
Wishing you and yours a healthy and stimulating May … Summer is Coming.