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Senate Told Brain Technology Can Impact Public Policy
Date:9/15/2008

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Recent breakthroughs in brain research and technology may have a great impact on a broad range of public policy issues, according to scientists visiting the US Senate today. At the invitation of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) researchers from Posit Science, a leading provider of cognitive training products, made a presentation that was part science lecture and part hands-on science fair.

"Many believe that we have already entered the 'Cognitive Age,' where the greatest value we create comes from what we know," observed Posit Science Chairman and CEO Jeff Zimman. "In the next few years, newly developed technologies that actually enhance cognitive abilities will not only create our greatest gains in personal productivity, but will also be critical in addressing a host of public policy challenges."

At the event, scientists summarized more than 30 peer-reviewed papers that underscore the power of cognitive training technologies developed over the past decade, and also offered hands-on demonstrations of new products developed with those technologies.

"It's barely been a decade since scientists discovered neurogenesis -- that the brain continues to produce new brain cells throughout life -- and what a decade it's been," said Henry Mahncke, PhD, VP Research of Posit Science.

"Recent studies show that the right cognitive training exercises can improve processing speed, accuracy, attention and memory in older adults," Dr. Mahncke continued. "Most recently, we have learned that this can be done in ways that generalize to everyday life and persist after the training ends. These gains are large -- roughly equivalent to a reversal in the normal decline we see over a decade in an average person over age 50."

Dr. Mahncke also said that independent studies of these technologies, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and others, show that the improvements translate into improved health outcomes and better performance in measures related to maintaining independence and self-esteem. A series of studies sponsored by the NIH also show that certain cognitive training exercise significantly improves driving performance, reduces dangerous driving maneuvers and reduces crash risk by 50%.

"These results in healthy aging adults have broad policy implications," Dr. Mahncke said. "They affect how we think about preventive healthcare, healthcare delivery and costs, long term care, adult education, workplace productivity, the aging workforce, senior housing, senior services, veterans' programs and transportation policy -- to name just some areas where this new technology will affect programs and shift paradigms."

Dr. Mahncke also reviewed recent studies and programs in which these cognitive training technologies have been applied to neurological diseases and disorders, including types of mental illness (such as schizophrenia and geriatric depression), types of brain injury (such as traumatic brain injury and chemotherapy induced brain impairment), and types of advanced cognitive decline associated with aging (such as early dementia and mild cognitive impairment).

"All of these studies and programs show great promise for using these cognitive training technologies as a new type of therapeutic for addressing neurological issues," said Dr. Mahncke. "We need that, because we know that the incidence of cognitive issues can be expected to rise dramatically as our population ages. While these studies to date show great promise, much work needs to be done."

"Within ten years, having a program of cognitive training exercise will be as integral to our lives as physical exercise is today," Zimman predicted. "We were honored to be invited to provide this briefing about this coming technology wave and also to represent the global team of scientists that has developed these validated technologies, which offer real solutions to many public policy challenges."

About Posit Science Corporation:

Posit Science Corporation develops science-based brain health programs. The company works with more than 50 brain scientists from leading universities around the world to create training programs that enhance cognitive performance. Its exercises are based on neuroplasticity -- the brain's ability to "rewire" through intensive, repetitive and progressively challenging activity. Posit Science has received several grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Posit Science was named "Best Small Company" by the American Society on Aging, was named "Best Fitness Initiative" by the Consumer Health World Conference and was selected as one of the "medical breakthroughs of the year" by CNBC. Posit Science offers its products through partnerships with national insurers, at leading retirement communities, clinics, hospitals and adult education programs, through public television stations and through the company's website. For more information, visit http://www.PositScience.com or call 1-800-514-3961.


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SOURCE Posit Science Corporation
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