2017 Conference Resources

General Sessions

The Central Importance of Diet, Exercise and Lifestyle Choices in Brain Health
John Ratey, MD


Harvard psychiatrist and author of Go Wild and Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Dr. John Ratey presents the scientific evidence demonstrating the profound impact of exercise, diet and lifestyle choices on our health, brain performance and emotional wellbeing; and share what we can do to keep our brains healthy throughout our lives.

The Future of Brain Health and Enhancement
Alvaro Fernandez


Hundreds of science labs and companies around the globe are researching and developing new ways to help brain owners be smarter, sharper and healthier. What explains this flurry of activity, and where may it be headed? Which companies, technologies and solutions are gaining the most traction so far, and what are some of the best practices for appropriate use?

Scaling Science to Practice Innovation
Charlie Hartwell, Henry Harbin, MD, Seth Feuerstein, MD, Ofer Leidner, John Sullivan, PsyD


Angel investor Charlie Hartwell teams up with Magellan's Dr. Seth Feuerstein, NFL/NCAA sport psychologist John Sullivan and Happify President Ofer Leidner for a lively discussion of what it takes to successfully move innovation to scale.

Finding Resilience: Lessons from the Brain
Sheilah Kast, Jeff Nichols, CSCS*D, TSAC*D, John Sullivan, PsyD


Former Navy SEAL Jeff Nichols survived double digit deployments, 22 concussions and countless injuries during his 11 years of military service. Battling sleep deprivation, excruciating pain and a very stressed central nervous system, he credits Dr. John Sullivan’s science-based brain management program for providing him with a path to recovery and is today the strongest, healthiest and happiest he’s ever been.

Transforming Health Care Through Virtual Reality
Walter Greenleaf, PhD


Virtual reality legend Dr. Walter Greenleaf believes VR technology will transform health care. An internationally recognized research neuroscientist and medical product developer working at Stanford University, he addresses the use of VR to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, traumatic brain injury, addictions, autism, cognitive decline and other difficult problems in behavioral and physical medicine.

Military Mental Health
General Peter W. Chiarelli, Former US Representative Patrick Kennedy, Marsden McGuire, MD, MBA, Robert L. Koffman, MD, MPH


Led by retired US Army General Pete Chiarelli, this panel explores the ongoing crisis in care for returning veterans, profiles promising initiatives of the US Department of Veterans Affairs and Walter Reed’s Brain Fitness Center, and advances a call to action to reform brain health services provided to our men and women in uniform.

The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains In a High Tech World
Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD


Learn the truth about multitasking and practical strategies, backed by science, to fight the distraction caused by our technology-obsessed lives. Physician and UCSF professor Adam Gazzaley is the co-author of The Distracted Mind, and Co-Founder and Chief Science Advisor of Akili Interactive Labs.

Brain Fitness, Youth, and Learning

Enhancing School Performance with Computer Brain Training and Physical Exercise
Amy Kennedy, Bruce Wexler, MD, Kisya L. Johnson, Martha Burns, PhD, Jody Woodrum, EdD


C8 Sciences’ ACTIVATE™ is an evidence-based program of computer and physical brain training exercises that improve Executive Function skills of focused attention, self-control and memory in elementary school children and show “near and far transfer effects” on formal tests of cognition and school-administered math and reading achievement tests. Use of ACTIVATE in low-performing Title 1 elementary schools is described. Using the principles of neuroplasticity, Fast ForWord’s evidence-based computerized reading program, combined with trained educational consulting, targets the root causes of reading struggles for K-12 learners. The program remediates underlying difficulties that keep struggling readers and English language learners from making progress. Download PDF

Neurofeedback: An Effective Intervention for ADHD and Other Youth Disorders
Shanti Fry, Laurence M. Hirshberg, PhD, Naomi Steiner, MD


A licensed psychologist specializing in neurodevelopmental disorders, Dr. Laurence Hirshberg explains neurofeedback and its use in treating ADHD and other disorders, sharing his experience as a licensed psychologist with 25 years of experience in the field. A pediatrician specializing in the treatment of children with ADHD, Dr. Naomi Steiner presents her research outcomes using attention training and neurofeedback in Boston schools.

Advancing Strategies to Improve School Outcomes
John H. Cammack, Joe Burton, Peter Entwistle, PhD, Kisya L. Johnson, Richard Lemons, EdD, Bruce E. Wexler, MD


The track will close with a discussion on scaling-evidence-based innovation in schools, led by angel investor John Cammack. Richard Lemons will share his perspective on challenges and effective strategies in translating scientific advances to learning environments, accompanied by innovators representing a variety of perspectives.

Novel Programs Making Change in the Classroom
Nancy S. Grasmick, PhD Ali Smith Vance M. Benton Jacquelyn F. Gamino, PhD Jonathan Smith


Through a comprehensive and evidence-based approach, which helps children develop their inner lives through yoga, mindfulness and self-care, the Holistic Life Foundation demonstrates deep commitment to learning, community and stewardship of the environment. We’ll learn from program founder Ali Smith and high school principal Vance Benton how the program is transforming student lives in Baltimore. Dr. Jacque Gamino and Dallas middle school principal Jonathan Smith will present the science and outcomes of SMART, a research-based classroom intervention for teenagers which has equipped 50,000 youth with advanced reasoning skills and significantly increased academic performance among students living in poverty.

Brain Fitness and Healthy Aging

Preventing Cognitive Decline: Two Novel Approaches
David K. Nace, MD, Michelle C. Carlson, PhD, Nicholas Bott, PsyD


Dr. Michelle Carlson’s lab integrates functional neuroimaging, mobile technologies and lifestyle approaches to delay and prevent the onset of dementia. She studied the impact of AARP Foundation’s Experience Corps, a Baltimore City older adult school volunteer program, and found benefits for both youth and older adult volunteers, who experienced mitigation or reversal of age-related brain atrophy. Nick Bott is the Chief Science Officer for Neurotrack, a company on a mission to transform the diagnosis and prevention of memory loss and related disorders like Alzheimer’s through an eye tracking assessment that identifies cognitive decline before symptoms appear.

The Practical Application of Neuroscience Findings To Maintain Healthy Brains As We Age
Thomas R. Insel, MD Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD Michael M. Merzenich, PhD


Led by former NIMH Director Tom Insel, this panel, collectively representing more than 125 years of neuroscience leadership, will offer a glimpse of Dr. Insel’s bold plans at Mindstrong Health; present the impressive evidence supporting the work of 2016 Kavil Prize recipient Dr. Michael Merzenich in developing tools to reduce depression risk, improve cognition and memory, and delay the onset of dementia; and share Dr. Sandra Chapman’s groundbreaking work at the Center for BrainHealth and her audacious challenge to translate relevant applications as quickly as possible to measurably improve brain health across the lifespan and globe.

Treatment Technologies for Mental Health & Substance Use Problems

Magnetic and Electrical Stimulation in Behavioral Health Treatment
Mark Trullinger, MSc, BCN, Ana Maiques, Nicholas J. Dogris, PhD, BCN, QEEG-D


Neuroelectrics’ pioneering work in advancing the science and application of tDCS (transcranial direct current stimulation) to address a wide range of health conditions, including ADHD, autism and depression, will be shared. This will be followed by an in-depth presentation on the use of Neurofield’s integrated neurofeedback, electrical and magnetic stimulation devices for the treatment of a variety of behavioral health conditions, drawing on the founder and inventor’s 20 years of clinical experience.

From Pharmacogenetics to Psychedelics: Promising Medication Advances
Stephen N. Xenakis, MD, George Carpenter IV, Jay Lombard, DO, William A. Richards, PhD


This session will examine two diverse innovations in the use of pharmaceutical agents. We will explore the promise of personalized medicine in reducing trial and error prescribing for the treatment of mental health conditions, through the innovative work of two companies using neuroimaging and genetics to improve the selection of medications for the treatment of mental health conditions. And we’ll hear from a researcher whose investigation of clinical uses for psychedelic drugs spans more than half a century. Dr. Bill Richards will share recent results of trials at the Johns Hopkins Psilocybin Research Project, which found that a single dose of medical grade psilocybin eased anxiety and depression among cancer patients for up to six months.

Digital Technologies for Treatment, Assessment and Health
Pamela Greenberg, MPP, Dror Ben-Zeev, PhD, Scott Cousino, Sherry Dubester, MD, MS, Corinna Lathan, PhD


This panel will explore a range of digital technologies, including:

• the FOCUS smartphone app for psychosis, which helps individuals living with schizophrenia to manage symptoms of psychosis and has achieved an 86% usage rate in recent trials;
• the Dana Brain Vital, originally developed to monitor the brain heath of soldiers, which offers potential to fill a glaring gap in routine visits to the doctor, dramatically reducing health costs and improving outcomes; and
• myStrength, a digital resource that complements medication, therapy and other forms of care, which gives users support that is affordable, accessible and devoid of the negative image that mental health care sometimes carries.

Quality, Efficacy, Regulation and Reimbursement
Henry Harbin, MD Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD Walter Greenleaf, PhD Carlos Peña, PhD, MS


This session will explore the role of the FDA, other quality regulatory processes and payers in the evolution of digital treatments, featuring Akili, a company developing a consumer video game interface for treatment of ADHD, autism, depression and traumatic brain injury; and Pear Therapeutics, a company developing prescription digital therapeutics and drug/software combinations for treatment of substance use disorders, schizophrenia, PTSD and generalized anxiety disorder.

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