March 14, 2008
NBC11 News
Staff Reporter

Many people are already familiar with fitness for the body, but a Bay Area company is working on what they call the next step — brain fitness.

“We’re just at the beginning of the beginning of this whole revolution,” said Dr. Henry Mahncke of Post Science, a San Francisco start-up with your brain on its mind.

Posit Science makes software that improves your cognitive fitness. The company makes exercises you can do no matter how old or young you are.

When you look at cognitive, we see changes in people as early as 30s and 40s,” said Mahncke. “People in their 30s and 40s have brain function that is measurably less sharp than people in their 20s.”

The company is also working with veterans who come home from Iraq with brain injuries.

Time spent playing on the computer, traditionally thought to be time wasted, can actually help people think better, Mahncke said.

“People are going to look back to this age and ten years ago and think, ‘Oh my God, I just sat around and let my brain wear out? I didn’t do anything on purpose to stay sharp?’ It’s going to seem bizarre and criminal,” he said.

Mahncke advises people to keep their bodies fit in the meantime, so that when the technology advances, they will be able to teach their brains to catch up.

Between video games that exercise the brain, books on memory and brain fitness as well as a “brain gym” that recently opened in San Francisco, the brain industry pulled about $250 million last year, NBC11’s Scott Budman reported.

As insurance companies start to get on board with products like brain software, the industry could grow even more, Budman said.