March 25, 2010
The Economist's Innovation & Ideas Economy Event at BerkeleyI attended The Economist's Innovation event at Berkeley's Haas School of Business this week, a new format and style for them.
The discussion that was both compelling and controversial was on day one between Nathan Wolfe of Global Viral Forecasting Initiative, Juan Enriquez of Excel Venture ManagementLife and death in a techno-utopia and Ray Kurzweil who came in via live video stream. Topic? Can technology save you—and the planet? In other words, how much can we count on technology to fix issues and how much do we need to rely on ourselves? Humanity?
A discussion I missed but wanted to not only watch but participate in, was the one entitled: Is America turning into a third-world country? The Economist's New York Bureau Chief Matthew Bishop has a conversation with Arianna Huffington. Every time I leave America's borders and return, I am reminded how much it is. Where you sit on this issue depends on where you sit economically and geographically. Silicon Valley should be its own country, since so many of its views and daily realities are so far removed from the rest of the country.
Social entrepreneurship was a big theme. Can free-market thinking solve the world’s most serious problems? What is the future of social entrepreneurship? What are the costs and benefits of micro-capitalism? Acumen Fund's Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder, Acumen Fund, LeapFrog Investment's Andrew Kuper, VisionSpring's Jordan Kassalow and Dan Reicher, Director of Climate Change and Energy Initatives at Google, discussed.
On day two, they had breakout sessions in several important categories including financial markets, new business models, green technology & sustainability, and healthcare.
Given that the overall programme was business school focused, Mashable's Ben Parr and I, who are so entrenched in start-up culture, were a rarity in discussions with larger entity heads of marketing and innovation at companies like Cisco, Intel and other corporates in the Valley.
We were both on the same team for the new business model team break-out, which involved building a new prototype to attract engineers for a company that looked and felt like Facebook. Creating a 'home environment' at the workplace is so automatic for Silicon Valley start-ups that the exercise, designed to keep gen-y workers, was a much more natural exercise for us.
How to influence change within the minds of more traditional older school executives is a much harder challenge, something which Charlene Li addresses in her upcoming book Open Leadership, due out in mid-April.
Innovation Court ended on day two with on-stage presentations by the break-out teams in each of their respective categories. The winner would be awarded a cover placement on the Economist, which happily went to Healthcare - "Out of Hospitals and Into Health.". In my opinion, the right choice. The recent 'win' is a step in the right direction, although clearly it's only the beginning.
I shot a series of videos towards the end of the event, of the teams presenting on stage which will follow in subsequent blog posts, all of them moderated by The Economist's Vijay Vaitheeswaran.
November 20, 2009
Dining by Design Chefs & Designers Speak Up
Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS is one of the country's largest supporters of direct care for people living with HIV/AIDS and preventive education for those at risk. Merging care and commerce, supporters of DIFFA come from all fields of fine design and the visual arts, including: architecture, fashion design, interior design, photography and consumer product design.
They held their annual Dining by Design event in San Francisco this week.
October 07, 2009
Caring.com Acquires Gilbert Guide
The undisclosed stock transaction was closed on September 23rd. Effective immediately, the Gilbert Guide team will become a part of Caring.com and focus on the further development and expansion of the guide. Gilbert Guide CEO Jill Gilbert and COO Jason Gilbert will join the Caring.com team as vice presidents, reporting to CEO Andy Cohen.
August 18, 2009
Personalized Eldercare for Consumers
The goal? To take the stress out of senior care and planning, an issue all of us need to think about at some stage in our lives, whether it's for ourselves or our aging parents.
People can now sign up for a program that includes unlimited telephone access to experienced eldercare specialists for assistance with immediate needs and long-term planning and an extensive list of useful services and support designed to take the stress out of eldercare planning.
Other program benefits include a step-by-step guide to VA Benefits for Aid & Attendance, copies of Aging with Grace Caregiver Tool Kit and Tips & Tools for Managing Caregiver Stress, access to a caregiver support library, online tools for writing and scheduling, and direct access to the CareConnection online caregiver community to connect with people facing similar day-to-day caregiver challenges. Check out the full list of services and benefits.
Gilbert Guide is also providing direct access to its renowned National Senior Care Provider Directory, its library of expert articles on a wide range of senior related topics, and its Weekly Insider aging product feature newsletter to Aging with Grace’s eldercare specialists and clientele.
The program is available immediately at for an annual price of $34.95. People can call a toll free number to access the service: (866) 369-8072 or online.
August 14, 2009
Learn New Skills to Delay Cognitive Decline
Says Alzheimer expert Dennis Fortier, "late diagnosis is the biggest problem with Alzheimer's treatment." In other words, new learning is beneficial in delaying obvious cognitive decline.
We were always told as kids to push crosswords on your grandparents so their minds stayed active and would decrease the likelihood of them getting Alzheimers. He notes that continuing to do the daily crossword once you have mastered the rules of crosswords is unlikely to help much.
A recent Examiner.com piece says that there is some evidence that computer-based brain games help users get better at the games but do not clearly translate into a generalized benefit. Learning new skills such as a new instrument or language is much more likely to help.
Fortier asserts that, although we cannot yet cure Alsheimer's Disease, physicians can intervene and manage the symptoms with more success than most headlines indicate. Refer to three related articles that also includes a great list of resources: Parenting Your Parents, Drug-free Help for Alzheimer's Patients, and Where to Get Help.
August 05, 2009
Improve Your Inductive Reasoning Through Mind360
I recently learned about this cool Israel-based company Mind360, which develops mind games and it's not just for older folks with aging brains.
As you get older that it's harder to find where you left your car keys, your brush, even your cup of coffee while you're running around the house trying to get out in the morning?
The brain is a muscle - I learned a lot about how the brain tools and retrains itself after my grandfather had a stroke.
Advanced brain training games help improve your memory, increase your ability to stay focused, and help you make faster and better decisions.
Brain Training Benefits:
* Sharpen your memory * Stay focused longer * Increased alertness and awareness * Make quicker and wiser decisions * Boost your productivity * Function better overall * Feel better about yourself and your life
Not only do these guys develop the games and training programs for you to meet your own personal goals, but they have the data (and returning players) to prove they work. Aging boomers can certainly gain, not just their parents.
Using the game as a medium, you follow whatever personal brain fitness program that’s right for you, advancing you from one level to the next.
You can not only track your progress, but a Personal Trainer will also guide you with instant feedback indicating in which cognitive areas you are strong and where you can improve.
The Jaipur Knee
Joel Sadler talks to me about the Jaipur Knee, which he co-developed at Stanford University. You can find out more information at RemotionDesigns.org. Click play to hear how it started and get a quick video clip of it in action in India.
July 29, 2009
A Kiwi's Mission to get Millions of Women Pregnant
Below is Shamus Husheer, the genius behind DuoFertility, which is being launched in the UK this month. Shamus' Mission? To get millions of women pregnant.
Below Shamus holds the monitor that consists of a discreet, hand-held reader and a small sensor, roughly the size of a £1 coin, which is worn underneath your arm. The sensor measures your temperature continuously and uses this information to pinpoint your ovulation and identify when you are most fertile, helping you to get pregnant more easily.
Below Shamus talks to me in a video interview during a dinner held at the oldest college at Cambridge University: 1284, hence the quality of the audio.
July 17, 2009
Alzheimer's and Dementia: What's the Truth? And What's a Myth?
By 2050, 16 million people will have Alzheimer's disease in America, according to a recent study by the Alzheimer's Association. Yet many questions linger unanswered about prevention and detection along with what is truth or myth about a condition that may affect one of our loved ones.
Client Gilbert Guide, the most comprehensive site on the web for aging and senior care, has just introduced Alzheimer's and Dementia expert Dennis Fortier to their ever-growing pool of Aging Guide experts on Gilbert Guide.
Fortier's column will bring to light the truths and myths behind mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia while also discussing the benefits of early identification and timely intervention against medical conditions that impair brain function.
The site is unbiased and not linked to or paid by any organization, product or service. Other Gilbert Guide Expert topics people can read about and learn from include:
- Senior Moving Solutions
- Financing Long-Term Care
- Adult Incontinence
- Senior Health
- Geriatric Pharmacology
- Naturopathic Medicine
- Senior Nutrition
- Real Estate for Seniors
- Financial Planning for Retirement
- Supportive Homecare
- Funeral Planning
- Articles on Life Coaching
- Geriatric Care Management
- Geriatric Care Solutions
- Legal Advice for Seniors
- Aging in Place Technology
- Mind-Body Medicine
- Family Law & Mediation
- Caregiving: Parenting Your Parents
June 26, 2009
My Stroke of Insight Makes NY Times Bestseller List
I first heard Jill Bolte Taylor's remarkable story about her stroke when she spoke at the TED Conference. Her talk blew the audience away, not surprising given her remarkable tale, one which has both inspired people and provided incredible insights for the world of medicine.
For more about what she went through, the Q&A below recounts her story and some of the feelings she went through while she was going through the stroke, as well as a deeper look into the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
Q: You describe the series of strange sensations your body was going through the morning of the stroke. At what point did you realize how serious the situation was?
A: From the moment I woke up with a pulsating headache, I was aware that something was not right. While in the shower, when the sound of the water surging into the tub knocked me over, I was aware that I was having a major neurological phenomenon. However, I did not realize that I was l was experiencing a stroke until my right arm went totally paralyzed by my side.
Q: What was your immediate reaction?
A: When I first realized that I was having a stroke my left hemisphere brain chatter said to me, “Oh my gosh, I’m having a stroke!” Immediately following that, it exclaimed, “Wow, this is so cool!” You have to understand that I had spent my entire life studying the brain from the outside in. On that morning, I had an opportunity few scientists will ever have – the ability to study their own brain from the inside out! It was a fascinating experience…through the eyes of a trained scientist.
Q: As a neuroanatomist, you're an expert on the brain. What was the most unexpected thing you learned from actually having a stroke?
A: I did not realize that I was capable of experiencing bliss and deep inner peace. When my left hemisphere and its ongoing brain chatter became completely non-functional, I shifted into an incredible state of euphoria. It was a really beautiful experience that I was not aware of ever experiencing before.
Q: What helped you the most during your decade of recovery?
A: I owe my entire ability to recover to my mother GG Taylor. She came to my side immediately, and recognized that I was now an infant in a woman’s body. Even in this completely debilitated condition, she treated me with respect and together we embarked upon trying to figure out what my brain cells needed in order to recover health and function.
One of the most important things we did was that we focused on my abilities rather than my disabilities and we gave my brain the sleep it desperately needed in order for the cells to recover. In addition, we did what we needed to do to take care of my brain, realizing that if my brain cells were happy and functional, then I could be happy and functional.
Q: Now that you've experienced living in your right brain, can you go back to that euphoric place at will?
A: Yes, the beauty of our brain is that both of the hemispheres are always active so the bliss of my right hemisphere is always a circuitry that I can tap into. I believe we all have this ability.
We have the ability to choose to pay attention to the circuitry of our chattering left hemispheres and attend to the details in our lives, or we have the cognitive ability to change what we are thinking about, choose to take a pause, take a breath, step back and look at the big picture of who we are and what are we doing here as a magnificent life force power in physical form.
We are always using both halves of our brains and we make choices thousands of times a day about how we want to perceive something. An easy example of this is listening to a piece of music. You can choose to listen to the piece as a whole creation or you can choose to focus on each of the instruments playing its line. You can choose to listen and think with language, or choose to think and interact with the ongoing kinesthetic stimulation your body is receiving.
Q: You're still a neuroanatomist, and you remain affiliated with the Indiana University School of Medicine. How has the stroke changed your approach to studying and teaching about the brain?
A: I have a very different perspective of myself in relationship to the external world and I am no longer worried about or focused on my own personal gain or value.
As a result, I have shifted my concern to the students and the quality of their education. I teach them about the value of compassion and about the choices they are consciously or unconsciously making day by day. I try to instill in them an awareness of their responsibility for how they present themselves to their patients with the hope that they will become more caring physicians.
My interests in research have also shifted away from choosing to work in a lab environment where I spend endless hours in isolation, to working with helping others find the resources they need to recover. I have become much more of a humanitarian.
Q: And what can your readers learn from your experience?
A: I believe that this book is of tremendous value to anyone who has a brain that they would like to create a better relationship with. Caregivers of anyone who is ill will walk away with a shifted perception of what the brain needs in order to recover and a toolbox of recommendations to help someone in need.
Anyone who has experienced a brain trauma of any sort will also be armed with real strategies to help them help themselves during the process of neurological recovery. Spiritual seekers will better understand the neurocircuitry underlying the ability of our brains to have a spiritual experience, and how they can work with themselves to shift their own perceptions.
People who are extremely right hemisphere dominant find validation as to why “they are the way they are” and that it is healthy to celebrate that. Also, anyone interested in learning more about how to “get their brain to do what they want it to do” will rejoice in the cacophony of practical information.