|Industry||Computer software, Health care industry|
Cognifit (stylized as CogniFit) is a healthcare company that develops online cognitive assessments and brain training computer programs.
Cognifit was founded in 1999 by Professor Shlomo Breznitz. He had been interested since the 1980s in developing computer programs to improve mental acuity, and the popularizing of the Internet provided an outlet for developing and distributing his idea. The CEO of the company is Nathanael Eisenberg, who had previously worked for Procter & Gamble, Capgemini, and Union Bancaire Privée. Eisenberg took the position after the company he had co-founded, Milk Capital, made a significant investment in Cognifit. The CTO of the company is Carlos Rodríguez. In 2007 Cognifit was awarded the American Society on Aging's Business and Aging Award.
Cognifit programs are designed to customize to each user. The first Cognifit programs the company developed were largely driving programs, such as the online application Drivefit (stylized as "DriveFit"), which was used by organizations including the British School of Motoring and the Young Drivers of Canada, using "visual and memory tests to measure 12 driving-related cognitive abilities" according to the New York Times. The Times wrote further that the DriveFit 30-minute evaluation, "assesses reaction times, as well as a person’s propensity to take risks, ability to judge relative speed and process information when attention is divided (for example, driving while talking on a cellphone)." In addition to these programs, the company decided to expand into additional cognitive testing areas, to create what they termed a "brain gym".
In 2004 Cognifit began producing CD programs for general mental acuity. The main Cognifit program that provides this is Mindfit (stylized as "MindFit"), originally called "Mindfit55" for institutional versions and "NIS 250" for private, at home versions. It was installed in retirement and assisted living facilities, but could also be accessed on home computers. Cognifit programs are designed to improve memory, attention span, and other mental acuities. They have been used by mental health professionals to help treat those with psychological deficiencies or that have lived through significant trauma, such as war. However doctors have stated that there are benefits they can have for normal, healthy adults as well, especially those looking to ward off some of the effects that ageing has on the brain. Cognifit programs are described by the company as not games, but brain training programs. First they measure 14 different skill areas, and then provide targeted training for each area that continually adjusts to an individual's changing acuity. The new programs were able to increase the number of cognitive skills trained and improve cognitive abilities of their users by up to 40%.
Cognifit Personal Coach
The Cognifit Personal Coach (again stylized as "CogniFit") was a program that was developed for both those looking to increase their mental acuity and those looking to fend off diminishing mental sharpness and was Cognifit first online product. It begins by asking the user what kinds of activities they are concerned about preserving their skills at, and then a series of exercises ranks the mind in a number of different categories. A program was assigned to the user, which is generally followed for twenty minutes a day, three days a week. The results are then graphed to show the user's progress over time. The Cognifit Personal Coach program has today been replaced with a new website and mobile offering.
Website and mobile applications
In 2011 Cognifit launched a new website to offer its latest brain training software and cognitive assessment for free to the public and provides a set of brain fitness applications to help train a variety of cognitive domains such as memory, concentration or planning. The site also sells more complex tasks for a small fee and offers a larger variety of different features. In 2012 Cognifit released new Apple store apps for the iPhone and iPad called Cognifit Brain Fitness, which are synchronized with the website and contained various mobile brain games designed to determine the level of one's mental acuity and overall fitness, and help increase those levels. In 2012 Cognifit also partnered with the pharmaceutical company Bayer and released a specific cognitive training application for patients with multiple sclerosis. In December 2012 Cognifit also released the Moodcraft (stylized as "MoodCraft") application which incorporated emotions and moods to their brain training offering. Cognifit's programs have been made available in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Dutch, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, and German.
In 2008 Cognifit was tested by researchers at the Department of Behavioral Science at the Max Stern Academic College of Emek Yezreel to see if its applications could be used to determine chronic insomnia or cognitive impairment. The study showed that the company's test could show how these conditions were linked to lower cognitive capacities in five different brain areas. It also showed that lack of sleep has detrimental effects on the cognitive capacity of otherwise healthy adults.
In 2009 a study conducted at the Edmond J. Safra Brain Research Center for the Study of Learning Disabilities at the University of Haifa, determined that the Cognifit could be used to help the memories of adults suffering from dyslexia. In 2010 Cognifit Ltd co-sponsored a study with the Department of Psychology and the Center for Psychobiological Research at the Max Stern, published in the journal NeuroRehabilitation, which concluded "personalized cognitive training is a practical and valuable tool to improve cognitive skills and encourage neuronal plasticity in patients with [Multiple Sclerosis]".
In 2003 a patent was assigned to Cognifit, invented by Shlomo Breznitz, that was described as, "A method for testing and/or training cognitive ability, including the steps of testing a preliminary cognitive level of a user and receiving results representative therefrom. According to the results, the cognitive level may then be broken up into separate discrete cognitive skills, and one or more tasks may be created, each task related to each of the separate discrete cognitive skills. The one or more tasks may then be presented to the user and so that a current cognitive level of the user is re-tested, and results representative therefrom are received. This process may be repeated at least one time."
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