Master the digital toolkit to harness lifelong neuroplasticity


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Four leading pioneers of applied neuroplasticity helped us navigate best practices to harness most promising non-invasive neurotechnologies, such as cognitive training, mindfulness apps, EEG and virtual/ augmented reality.
--Chair: Linda Raines, CEO of the Mental Health Association of Maryland
--Dr. Michael Merzenich, winner of the 2016 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience
--Dr. Judson Brewer, Founder & Research Lead of Claritas Mindsciences
--Tan Le, CEO of Emotiv
--Dr. Andrea Serino, Head of Neuroscience at MindMaze

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Master the digital toolkit to harness lifelong neuroplasticity

  1. 1. Master the digital toolkit to harness lifelong neuroplasticity
  2. 2. Sponsors Welcome to Day 2!
  3. 3. Master the digital toolkit to harness lifelong neuroplasticity Chaired by: Linda Raines, Chief Executive Officer, Mental Health Association of Maryland Dr. Michael Merzenich, 2016 Recipient of Kavli Prize in Neuroscience Dr. Judson Brewer, Founder & Research Lead, Claritas Mindsciences Tan Le, Chief Executive Office, Emotiv Dr. Andrea Serino, Head of Neuroscience, MindMaze
  4. 4. Dr. Michael M. Merzenich Professor Emeritus, UCSF Co-Founder, Scientific Learning Corporation Director, Brain Plasticity Institute CSO, Posit Science Corporation
  5. 5. EVERY physical and functional index of health was DEGRADED in old vs young. vs We compared 17 (later 8 other) aspects of brain function and health in very old VS prime-of-life rats and humans de Villers-Sidani et al., PNAS 2010 Mishra, de Villers-Sidani et al., J Neurosci 2014 vs
  6. 6. REVERSED (rejuvenated) by training 1. Local and long-range myelination 2. Response powers (discharge magnitudes) 3. Response coordination in local networks is 4. Parvalbumin and somatostatin neuron numbers, morphologies 5. Pyramidal cell dendrites; thalamocortical axonal input arbors 6. Neuromodulatory expression of DA, ACh, NE, SE. 7. High-speed successive-signal processing 8. Topographical order is restored. 9. Cortical mini-column and column sizes, boundaries 10.Excitatory and inhibitory receptor subunits 11.Response selectivity (RF sizes); feature extraction 12.BDNF expression 13.Cortical ‘noise’ 14.Distractor suppression 15.Successive-signal adaptation 16.Blood-brain barrier integrity 17.reactive hyperemia are rejuvenated. de Villers-Sidani et al, 2010, PNAS 107:13900; Zhou et al, 2011, J Neurosci 31:5625;de Villers-Sidani & Merzenich,Prog Brain Res 191:119; Mishra, Merzenich et al, 2014, ms in review; Lin, Zhou et al, 2016, PNAS
  7. 7. Degraded in aging. Rejuvenated by training. YOUNG OLD OLD, TRAINED parvalbumin Inhibitory neurons YOUNG B D response correlation neurovascular unit integrity (“blood-brain barrier”) E myelin basic proteinA OLD TRAINEDOLDYOUNG Cpost-excitatory inhibition OLD OLD, TRAINED
  8. 8. Note that: 1) These rejuvenating physical and functional neurological changes are coordinated, in what we interpret to be a new ‘blastic’ (growth) phase induced by this training. 2) This broad-scale ‘reversal’ (‘rejuvenation’) is achieved by applying relatively simple form of intensive behavioral training that engage both ’bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ brain-system processes. 3) There is substantial generalization beyond directly trained sensory-perceptual systems, for at least some aspects of these physical and functional changes. 4) Although studies are less complete, we record at least many of these changes after training animals that had a grossly degraded and delayed ‘childhood development’.
  9. 9. You train it. Nota bene: Of course neurological rejuvenation will only be achieved with particular forms of training. How do you turn an old (or developmentally impaired) brain into a (physically and functionally) more capable one?
  10. 10. How do you turn a brain in the prime of life into an old one? Just add noise. Zhou et al, 2011, J Neurosci 31:5625
  11. 11. Before training After training TRAINING on’s ”Double Decision” exercise. Speeded multi-tasking (UFOV) N=3854 performance age It’s ALL Plastic.
  12. 12. Major ’transferred’ benefits of a limited ‘dose’ of UFOV training (a speeded divided attention task) in ACTIVE (initial age circa 74) 1) Quicker reaction times and safer on-road driving (Roenker et al., 2004). 2) Sustained safer and more confident driving; sustained mobility (Edwards et al., 2009). 3) Sustained reduction in at-fault crashes (Ball et al., 2010). 4) Retained driving mobility up to ten years (Edwards, Myers et al., 2009; Edwards, Delahunt et al., 2009; Ross et al., 2014, 2016). 5) Long-sustained improvements in everyday functional abilities (Edwards et al., 2002; 2005; Ball et al., 2002; Lin et al., 2016).
  13. 13. Generalized benefits of a limited ’dose’ of training on a divided-attention SOP task… 6) Prevention of MDD onset (Wolinsky et al., 2009; 2010). 7) Greater “internal locus of control”, better self-rated health, improved quality of life over 5 years (Wolinsky et al., 2008; 2009; 2010). 8) Lower medical costs (Wolinsky et al., 2010). 9) More modest decline in everyday functional abilities across 10 years (Rebok et al., 2014). 10)Training-‘dose’-dependent protection against dementia onset (Edwards, Unverzagt et al., 2016).
  14. 14. What changes, then, when the brain struggles in its old age? Everything. What can be reversed, by training? Everything? How difficult IS it, to reverse the course of change? It’s easy. CAN such training in humans delay/block the progression to dementia/AD? Apparently (and to us, unsurprisingly), yes. This science provides a clear basis for MANAGING brain health.
  15. 15. For further information, references And that’s exactly what we’re up to, at ..and
  16. 16. Judson Brewer MD PhD Director of Research Center for Mindfulness Associate Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry Founder, Claritas Mindsciences Your addicted brain (and how to change it)
  17. 17. (2016)
  18. 18. Why Diets Make Us Fat: The Unintended Consequences of Our Obsession with Weight Loss Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D.
  19. 19. “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food” (2013) NYTimes
  20. 20. Paying attention in the present moment, on purpose, non- judgmentally “ “ Jon Kabat-Zinn Full Catastrophe Living
  21. 21. The paradox of Mindfulness: less is more Pay attention, and everything else will take care of itself (really). Brewer Davis and Goldstein Mindfulness (2013)
  22. 22. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 End of Treatment 17 week follow-up PointPrevalenceAbstinence(%) MT FFS Greater smoking abstinence with MT vs. Freedom from Smoking *p = .063 **p = .012 * ** Brewer et al Drug and Alcohol Dependence (2011)
  23. 23. Working hypothesis • Hypothesis: MT works by decoupling craving and behavior (e.g. smoking) • Prediction: should see dissociation between craving and smoking BEFORE they both subside –i.e. should still have some craving, but it is not coupled to smoking
  24. 24. Craving and cigarette use become dissociated during treatment Elwafi et al Drug and Alcohol Dependence (2013)
  25. 25. Thorndike 1898, Skinner, 1938, Zinser 1992, Piasecki 1997, Carter 1999, Lazev 1999, Cox 2001, Robinson 2003, Bevins 2004, Baker 2004, Cook 2004, Olausson 2004, Shiffman 2004, Carter 2008, Perkins 2010
  26. 26. Eat Right Now® • 28 days of training to break the stress/emotional eating habit loop • “Stress test” – Differentiate hunger from stress, boredom etc. • In-the-moment exercises • Online community – Peer and expert support
  27. 27. What's most interesting to me, is how we define the rewards. In the past, the reward of eating right has been weight loss. But it was more often than not short lived because I hadn't made real process changes in my daily life. Here it feels like the reward is defined differently, and weight loss is a side effect. The reward here is, for lack of a better expression, a more balanced life or inner peace. “ “ Eat Right Now member
  28. 28. DAYDREAMING STRESS ADDICTION The Underperformance Continuum
  29. 29. Default Mode Network (DMN) Andrews-Hanna Neuron (2010)
  30. 30. Overlap between DMN and Self-referential processing Whitfield-Gabrieli Neuroimage (2011)
  31. 31. Decreased DMN activity during meditation in experienced meditators (all meditations, Experienced > Novice) Posterior Cingulate Cortex Brewer et al PNAS (2011)
  32. 32. Task of mindfulness training? Don’t get caught up in yourself! (learn not to take things personally)
  33. 33. Real-time Neurofeeback from the PCC
  34. 34. Novice Getting in our own way Meditation
  35. 35. Run 1Expert Run 4
  36. 36. Novice Run 1 Run 2
  37. 37. Novice Run 3 Thinking about the breath
  38. 38. Novice Run 3 Run 4 Thinking about the breath Feeling the breath
  39. 39. “I worried that I wasn’t using the graph as an object of meditation, so I tried, like, to look at it harder or somehow pay attention more to it” PCC Activation
  40. 40. “I noticed …that the more I relaxed and stopped trying to do anything, the bluer it went” “Toward the middle I had some thoughts which I don’t see on the graph maybe because I let them kind of flow by” PCC Deactivation
  41. 41. Flow a mental state when a person is fully immersed in the present in a feeling of energized focus.
  42. 42. There was a sense of flow, being with the breath…flow deepened in the middle. “ “ Experienced Meditator Expert
  43. 43. + =CRAVING/ADDICTION NEUROSCIENCE WELLNESS PLATFORM NEW ERA IN CRAVING & ADDITION TREATMENT smokin g eating Scalable digital wellness technology ideally suited for behavior change Research on efficacy & mechanism of mindfulness for craving and addition Powerful solutions for conditions driving almost half of US healthcare costs and others A New Era in Craving & Habit Change Treatment
  44. 44. EMOTIV Chief Executive Office
  45. 45. ELECTROENCEPHAL OGRAPHY (EEG) ➤ What is EEG? ➤ Ability to gather real-time, contextual information on the brain ➤ Importance of spatial resolution: Detecting activity across the main cortices of the brain is crucial to obtaining high-quality data ➤ EMOTIV offers 2 mobile EEG systems which offers whole brain sensing
  46. 46. EMOTIV PLATFORM➤ The accuracy of our technology has been validated by independent studies many times over. The graphs show a direct comparison with a clinical grade system (titled ‘Research’) costing $60000 along side the EMOTIV EPOC at $799 (titled ‘Gaming’) ➤ Over 1,600 research papers referencing the technology. More than 70,000 users across 120 countries ➤ Analyzing over 6.1B data points to derive insights across a range of performance metrics
  47. 47. YOUR BRAIN ON NATURE ➤ National Geographic study to investigate how imagery of different natural biomes, urban environments, natural & pollution threats and computer-simulated nature impacts the brain as measured by EEG. ➤ Nature promotes neural activity present during relaxation but is different from relaxation states achieved during mindfulness, suggesting a neural marker for a relaxed attentive state. Exposure to nature can improve executive function & attention while also lowering physiological and cognitive stress. ➤ National Geographic Emerging Explorer Dan Raven-Ellison walks across all of the UK’s 69 cities and 15 national parks to show why sustainable cities need wild spaces as well as smart technology. With EPOC sensors recording his brain activity while walking across 1500km over several months, collecting data to help illustrate how landscape influences our mood, health, and happiness. Results at: ml
  48. 48. MENTAL PERFORMANCE DURING DRIVING ➤ EMOTIV is collaborating with INFINITI Middle East in an innovative study to identify and measure the brain activity of individuals driving the recently launched INFINITI Q50 Red Sport 400. ➤ In this study, customers around the region will have the opportunity to drive the Q50 Red Sport 400 wearing the EMOTIV Insight headsets that will measure their mental performance indicators to characterize their driving experience. The study aims to demonstrate how the changes in brain activity when driving the powerful sports sedan can affect their enjoyment, excitement, engagement and focus.
  49. 49. Multisensory integration of bodily signals underlying embodiment: virtual reality applications for research and neurorehabilitation Andrea Serino
  50. 50. The Rubber Hand Illusion, Botvinick & Cohen, Nature, 1998; Ehrsson et al., Science, 2004
  51. 51. The Full Body Illusion The Full Body Illusion, Lenggenhager, et al., Science, 2007; Ehrsson et al., Science, 2007 Blanke, Nat Neuroscie Rev, 2012, Blanke, Slater, Serino, Neuron, 2015
  52. 52. A Multisensoryfacilitation B DC The experience of our self in space depends on the integration of multisensory bodily signals in the Peripersonal Space (PPS) Rizzolatti et al., 1981; Graziano et al., 1994; Duhamel et al., 1998 Serino et al., Sci Rep, 2015; TICS, 2016; Givraz et al., under revision
  53. 53. PPS is plastic Maravita & Iriki, Curr Bio, 2004 Canzoneri et al., Exp Br Res, 2013 Canzoneri et al., Sci Rep, 2013Serino et al., Psych Sci, 2007
  54. 54. PPS and bodily illusions The Full Body Illusion, Lenggenhager, et al., Science, 2007; Ehrsson et al., Science, 2007 Blanke, Nat Neuroscie Rev, 2012, Blanke, Slater, Serino, Neuron, 2015
  55. 55. *" *" *" 30 cm! 60 cm! 90 cm! 120 cm! 150 cm! 180 cm! *" *" 15 cm! 30 cm! 45 cm! 60 cm! 75 cm! 90 cm! Multisensoryfacilitation(ms) Measuring the PPS boundaries in humans Canzoneri et al., PLoS One, 2012, Teneggi et al., Curr Biol, 2013, Serino et al., Sci Rep, 2015; Ferri et al., JN, 2016
  56. 56. PPS & self experience Synchronous Condition Asynchronous Condition Physical Body Virtual Body
  57. 57. Subjective reports of the Full body illusion
  58. 58. Front space Looming Sound Direc on Enlargement of PPS boundary Synchronous Asynchronous Baseline Noel et. al, Cognition, 2015
  59. 59. Synchronous Condition Asynchronous Condition Physical Body Virtual BodySelf Location PPS & self experience
  60. 60. Back space Looming Sound Direc on Shrinkage of PPS boundary Synchronous Asynchronous Baseline Noel et. al, Cognition, 2015
  61. 61. Noel et. al, Cognition, 2015
  62. 62. Natural BSC 1. The Proprioceptive / Vestibular Constraint 2. The Visual Constraint 3. The PPS Constraint 4. The Embodiment Constraint
  63. 63. HMD Keypad Stimulator Chinrest Neurotactile stimulation Illumination and virtual stimuli as shown on HMD Residual Limb Patient’s prosthetic hand 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Subjectiveratings(0-100) Proprioceptive DriftQuestionnaire data Synchronous Asynchronous -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 %phantommislocation Synchronous Asynchronous Hand Object ** ** Rognini et. al, Lancet Neurology, under review Clinical applications: 1. prostheses embodiment
  64. 64. Synchronous Asynchronous Real limb 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 1 PerceivedPhantom length[cm] * 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 1 During Stimulation (patient 2) PerceivedPhantom length[cm] * A B C Moving cursor After Stimulation (patient 2) Rognini et. al, Lancet Neurology, under review
  65. 65. Solca et. al, Sci Trans Med, under review Clinical applications: 2. pain Complex regional pain syndrome
  66. 66. Solca et. al, Sci Trans Med, under review
  68. 68. Andrea Serino google: Serino TEDx Thanks for you attention
  69. 69. Q&A
  70. 70. Thank you to all Participants!
  71. 71. Sponsors Thank you to all Speakers & Sponsors!
  72. 72. To learn more, visit