It seems that we are all on a quest to find ways to live longer these days. With increasingly stressful schedules, it seems there is never enough time for everything and as a result, our health sometimes suffers. There are literally thousands of suggestions on how to live longer from the commonly known things like “stop smoking” and “exercise and make sure you maintain good nutrition” to more unusual suggestions like “find religion” or “live on a mountain” or even “grow new body parts”. The information can be overwhelming and the discussion took on a new slant at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in China this September.
While hundreds of panels, workshops, meetings and social gatherings examined things like climate change, infrastructure and finances were happening, everyone in attendance brought one common thing to the table.. the human brain. One prominent focus of the meeting was how neurotechnologies will detect and record brain activity in detail never before thought possible; a focus of the White House BRAIN Initiative.
At the same time, government officials and health experts were brainstorming on how to “maximize healthy life years”. As usual, the conversation mainly revolved around physical health and lifestyle but not much attention was given to cognitive or emotional health. While the focus on the brain and its role in our overall health has made great strides in research in recent years, there is still much to do to bring it to the forefront. So the question was asked, “What if existing brain research and non-invasive neurotechnologies could be applied to improve public health and well being?”
This question and finding ways to build better bridges between existing science and technology and real world health issues is already being examined. In fact, it is estimated that in 2014, there will be spending of over $1.3 billion on web-based mobile and biometrics-based solutions to assess and enhance brain function. And growth will continue from there. To that end, they found that there are 10 priorities to consider when thinking about improving health and well-being based on non-invasive neurotechnology.
- Transforming the mental health framework
- Bring meditative practices to the mainstream
- Play video games, or other pervasive activities, but in ways that ensure a beneficial effect
- Offer web-based psychotherapies as first line interventions
- Monitor negative cognitive and emotional side effects from medical interventions
- Combine pharmacological interventions with cognitive training
- Update regulatory frameworks to facilitate safe adoption of consumer-facing neurotechnologies
- Invest more research dollars to fine tune brain stimulation methods
- Adopt big data research models
- Promote physical exercise and bilingual education in our schools and reduce drop-out rates
As we age and take on the increasing stresses of life, living a positive lifestyle and empowering ourselves with the best cognitive and emotional tools is imperative. We look forward to the increasing research and promotion of what is essential for our amazing, and healthy, brains.
To view the 10 ways to improve health and well being based on the latest non-invasive neurotechnologies in its’ entirety and to real all details for each of the 10 bullet points, please click here.