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Brain Fitness Software

Over at SharpBrains, they report about the State of the Brain Fitness Software Market.

I never paid much attention to brain fitness software but the conclusions of this report are quite fascinating.  The size of this market surely will cause more companies to become involved.  While there is a potential that some of these products may indeed improve cognitive fitness and have a place in brain injury rehabilitation, I am fearful that many of these products will never live up to their potential and will just be a ripoff for those who can least afford it.

Highlights from The State of the Brain Fitness Software Market 2008 report include:

1) 2007 was a seminal year for the US Brain Fitness software market, which reached $225 million in revenues – up from an estimated $100 million in 2005.

2) Over 20 companies are offering tools to assess and train cognitive skills to four customer segments: consumers; healthcare and insurance providers; K12 school systems; and Fortune 1000 companies, the military, and sports teams.

3) The Nintendo Brain Age phenomenon has driven much of the growth. The consumer segment grew from a few million in 2005 to an estimated $80 million in 2007.

4) There is major confusion in the market, so education will be key. Users and buyers need help to navigate the maze of products and claims.

5) Over 400 residential facilities for older adults have launched computerized “brain fitness centers.” Sales to the healthcare and insurance provider segment grew from $35 million in 2005 to an estimated $65 million in 2007.

6) More than five programs have shown results in randomized controlled trials. Cognitive functions that can be trained include: visual and auditory processing, working memory, attention, and decision-making.

7) A product has obtained 510(k) FDA clearance for rehabilitation of stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury patients. Another product is being used by a growing network of ADHD specialists.

8) Large-scale, fully-automated cognitive assessments are being used in a growing number of clinical trials. This opens the way for the development of inexpensive consumer-facing, baseline cognitive assessments.

9) The potential for K12 Education remains largely untapped due to limited research linking cognitive training to academic performance.

10) Companies, sports teams and the military are finding opportunities to improve productivity. The aging workforce will make this a must.

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