I had the fortune to join over 1,900 leaders from 90 nations at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Tianjin, China, to discuss how innovation can improve the state of the world. last month
Throughout hundreds of social gatherings, workshops, private meetings and panels, we examined the best way to cope with climate change, how to purchase public infrastructure, how to better regulate financial services, and tons of other pressing issues. In addressing these problems, everyone -- independent of nationality or discipline - brought to the table our most valuable asset: the astounding Human Brain.
During captivating and arousing sessions we explored the new frontiers in neuroscience. A prominent focus was around how emerging neurotechnologies, such as those empowered by the White House BRAIN Initiative, can help discover and record brain process in unprecedented detail and, consequently, revolutionize our knowledge of the brain and the mind.
In parallel, high ranking government officials and health experts convened to brainstorm about how to "optimize healthy life years." The conversation revolved around physical well-being and promoting positive lifestyles, but was largely quiet on the subjects of mental or cognitive well-being. The brain, that essential asset everyone must learn, problem solve and make good-decisions, as well as the associated cognitive neurosciences where much progress has happened during the last two decades, are still largely absent from the well-being plan.
What if present brain research and non-invasive neurotechnologies might be applied to improve public health and wellbeing? How can we begin building bridges that are better from present science and the technologies towards wards that are tackling real world health challenges we are facing?
Good news is that a transformation is already underway, albeit underneath the radar. As William Gibson eloquently said, "The future is already here -- it's simply not very evenly spread." Individuals and institutions globally are expected to spend over $1.3 billion in 2014 in web-based, mobile and biometrics-based alternatives to assess and improve brain function. Increase fueled by emerging cellular is poised to continue and non-invasive neurotechnologies, and by consumer and patient demands for self-powered, proactive brain care. For instance, 83% of surveyed early-adopters consent that "adults of all ages should take charge of the very own brain fitness, without waiting for his or her doctors to inform them to" and "would personally require a short assessment annually as an annual mental check up."
These are 10 priorities to consider, if we wish to boost health & wellness based about the most recent neuroscience and noninvasive neurotechnology:
1. This is what the Research Domain Criteria framework, put forth from the National Institute of Mental Health, is starting to do.
2. Bring meditative practices to the mainstream, via school-based and corporate programs, and leveraging relatively-cheap biometric systems
3. Coopt pervasive tasks, for example playing videogames...but in a way that ensures they have a favorable effect, such as with cognitive training games specifically made to prolong cognitive vitality as we age
4. Offer web-based psychotherapies as first-line interventions for depression and stress (and probably insomnia), as recommended by the united kingdom 's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
5. Surveil the negative cognitive and mental side-effects from a variety of health interventions, to ensure unintentional effects in the cure are not afflictive than the treated person's first state. Given that the US Food and Drug Administration just cleared an innovative mobile brain health assessment, what prevents wider use of baseline assessments, 90 дневна диета меню and active monitoring of cognition as an individual starts a certain treatment program or drug?
6. Join pharmacological interventions (bottom up) with cognitive training (top-down) such as the CogniFit - Bayer partnership for patients with Multiple Sclerosis
7. Update regulatory frameworks to facilitate safe adoption of consumer-facing neurotechnologies. Start-up Thync merely raised $13 million to market transcranial stimulation in 2015, helping users "alter their frame of mind." That is not a medical claim per se...but does the technology need to be regulated as a medical device?
8. Invest more research dollars to fine tune brain stimulation methods, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, to enable truly personalized medicine.
9. Adopt big data research models, such as the recently-declared UCSF Brain Health Registry, to leapfrog the present clinical trial model that was modest and move us closer towards providing personalized, incorporated brain care.
10. And, last but certainly not least, encourage physical exercise and bilingual instruction in our schools, and reduce drop-out rates. Enhancing and enriching our schools is perhaps the most powerful societal intervention (and the original noninvasive neurotechnology) to develop lifelong brain reserve and delay issues brought by cognitive aging and dementia.
Initiatives for example those above are an important start treat and to view the human brain as an asset to take a position in across the whole human lifespan, and to truly maximize years of healthy, practical and purposeful living.
Let's reinforce existing bridges -- and assemble new ones that are needed -- to improve our collective well-being and well-being.