(WASHINGTON, DC) “It’s actually consumers, not scientists or doctors, who are leading a revolution in brain health” according to Jeff Zimman, CEO of Posit Science. Zimman should know – the mission of his venture capital backed company is to move breakthroughs in brain science out of the labs and into the hands of consumers as quickly as possible.
Zimman is presenting Tuesday at the Consumer Health World in Washington DC, an international gathering of experts focused on consumer-enabled and consumer-directed health technologies and policies. His company has developed computer-based brain fitness programs that have been shown to significantly improve memory and cognition in studies released in recent months.
“In the last five years, largely due to the Internet, we’ve seen a tremendous leveling in who has information on the latest scientific and medical breakthroughs” Zimman explained. “We regularly hear from doctors in family practice, who first learned of our programs, not from the neuroscience articles we’ve published, but from their patients.”
He said that he and his company have been surprised by this development. Posit Science recently published results of its studies in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and in Progress in Brain Research and regularly presents at leading medical and science conferences. These randomized, controlled studies show that, after eight weeks, users of the Brain Fitness Program significantly improved in standard measures of memory and cognition – with gains of 10 or more years in performance, on average.
“As soon as we present at a conference or publish an article we post the abstract, poster, slides or article on our website,” Zimman said. “We’ve been surprised by the amount of traffic we get from consumers interested in brain health issues.”
With consumers leading the charge, Posit Science has been working hard to make sure doctors have at least an equal – if not the upper – hand in knowledge of breakthroughs in brain science. According to Zimman, one key partner in reaching doctors has been Humana, the national health insurer.
Starting in January, Humana will offer the Brain Fitness Program for free to its Medicare Advantage members and at a deep discount to its Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members.
“While most insurers are talking about benefits, co-pays and deductibles,” Zimman said “Humana is focused on wellness – on what you can do for your mind and body. They are doing a great public service in getting information out to doctors and consumers. It far exceeds what we could do on our own.”
Dr. Lloyd Van Winkle recently attended a Humana-sponsored talk by brain scientists from Posit Science. “The work Posit Science is doing for patients is great. It makes no sense to focus on having a healthy heart while ignoring a healthy mind! Here we have some of the first evidence-based tools that help patients maintain cognitive health. The concept of influencing brain “plasticity” is exciting. I’m watching their ongoing work with great anticipation.”
“I think everyone is excited to see consumers taking control over their own health needs and regimens,” Zimman said. “It will take millions of us to change the way that people age, but there is no question the change is coming.”
Zimman will present at the Consumer Health World at 11:30am on Tuesday, December 12, 2006 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. His talk is entitled “Creating a Revolution in Brain Health” and will review recent study results and consumer enabling technologies.