Compared to physical fitness, the fitness of the brain is often overlooked by both individuals and health systems, but it is easy to see positive and broad changes on how brain health is defined, monitored, maintained, and enhanced across the lifespan, and digital platforms are going to play a key role.
Here are 10 predictions, many of which will likely be realized before the end of 2013, based on “The Digital Brain Health Market 2012-2020: Web-based, mobile and biometrics-based technology to assess, monitor and enhance cognition and brain functioning”, the new market report tracking how emerging brain science and technologies are being applied to improve consumer and patient health.
1- More than one million adults in North America alone will take a self-administered annual brain health check-up via their iPad or Android tablet.
2- More than one million amateur athletes will better manage possible concussions by taking cognitive baseline tests via a mobile device.
3- More than 150,000 teenage and adult drivers will access web-based brain training to become safer drivers.
4- Biometrics-aided meditation will become the next big thing in corporate and consumer wellness.
5- iPad-based cognitive screenings will inform more diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease and MCI than neuroimaging.
6- Patients with Multiple Sclerosis in at least 10 countries will be offered online cognitive training together with drug-based therapy to help address their condition.
7- Insomnia and depression will be first-line treated with computerized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in at least two national health services.
8- The industry’s first brain-based biomarker to predict depression treatment responses will be cleared by the FDA.
9- Brain training firm Lumos Labs and/or biometrics-based developer NeuroSky will file for an IPO.
10- At least one major insurer will launch an educational campaign to help adults proactively take charge of their own “brain fitness” navigating emerging research and digital brain health tools.
As a growing number of consumers, innovators, and decision-makers invest in digital technologies to better monitor and enhance cognition across the lifespan, we are witnessing the rapid growth and development of a new digital brain health marketplace. We can expect several drivers to fuel continued growth and innovation. Equipment that used to be expensive and cumbersome is becoming user-friendly and inexpensive, and tablets and mobile phones are becoming a major delivery vehicle for digital brain health solutions.