Use It or Lose It! Brain Training for a better quality of life with age.

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Use It or Lose It! Brain Training for a better quality of life with age.

United States
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Happy Neuron provides a variety of personalized, low-cost neurocognitive stimulation to maintain neuropsychological health.

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Plot your innovation within the mosaic of solutions
Which of these barriers is the primary focus of your work?

Insufficient Evidence that Games Improve Health

Which of the principles is the primary focus of your work?

Cognitive Fitness

If you believe some other barrier or principle should be included in the mosaic, please describe it and how it would affect the positioning of your initiative in the mosaic:

From a scientific point of view, barriers to the use of computer games to enhance neurocognitive health include insufficiently precise knowledge about how much of what kind of cognitive stimulation, starting at what age, is necessary to maintain cognitive acuity or to forestall neurocognitive decline with age. More studies will address the specific populations that might derive optimal benefit from these activities. Those with mild cognitive impairment and those with early signs of dementia.

Another question involves whether exercising a single, specific cognitive function is better than training multiple functions simultaneously.

Further, motivational factors may also constitute another barrier: Neurocognitive stimulation that is not inherently fun and rewarding may not be compelling enough to maintain consumers' interest and engagement.

What is your signature innovation in one sentence?

Happy Neuron provides a variety of personalized, low-cost neurocognitive stimulation to maintain neuropsychological health.

Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?

Happy Neuron offers a broad range of scientifically-proven and personalized cognitive stimulation workouts. Designed for people of any age, the programs maximize the brain’s capacity to learn, adapt to new information, enable mental sharpness and minimize the natural effects of aging. Program effectiveness is optimized through the availability of thousands of hours of fun and challenging brain games and guided by an online personal coach.

What makes us different is the depth and variety of our cognitive exercises, the scientific basis for their efficacy and the personalized, on-line counseling afforded our clients over five major domains of neurocognitive functioning. Happy Neuron offers a comprehensive, multifunctional approach to cognitive stimulation.

What barriers exist that are creating the problem your innovation is hoping to address/change?

In developed societies, as people age, cognitive stimulation may decrease significantly. People retire from lifelong employment, social networks deteriorate, families move away, physical activities become more circumscribed and the sphere of one's usual activities may gradually devolve. Conversely, in order to maintain intellectual acuity with age, one needs daily challenge with mental activities that keep the brain attuned, alert and engaged across several specific domains.

Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing.

Happy Neuron has a library of over 3000 hours of unique game playing time with a great variety of games and puzzles, all developed with scientific rationale, and with fun in mind. Activities are designed to stimulate five major domains of neurocognitive functioning: memory, attention, language, executive functioning and visual-spatial skills. Happy Neuron provides intelligent analysis based on demographics of Age, Gender & Education Level. Scores are compared to others in a similar demographic group within our online database of over 7.5M games completed to date. The electronic coach suggests specific exercises to ensure comprehensive brain cross-training. Tips for performance improvement and application to every day life are provided.

How do you plan to scale your innovation?

Happy Neuron has already reached a large audience through multiple channels and continues to grow. Thirty thousand book copies have been sold to date, published in four languages. More than 1.5 million CD/DVD's have been sold in nine different countries. Seven and a half million single-player games have been completed online to date in four languages. Happy Neuron has targeted both on-line and retail distribution, reaching people directly and through specialty channels. The solutions are suitable for the widest possible audience with computer access, reaching across the age range and across cultures in several languages.

Provide one sentence describing your impact.

Happy Neuron's products are designed to forestall the symptoms of age-related cognitive decline and to remediate early symptoms of dementia.

What impact has your innovation had to date? Exactly who are the beneficiaries of your innovation?

A pilot study of Happy Neuron games was conducted by a multi-disciplinary team of scientists and physicians in Des Moines, Iowa. Funded by the U.S. National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this study concluded that participants diagnosed with memory problems improved their cognitive skills significantly after consistent weekly workouts over a period of six months with Happy Neuron games. The study suggests the potential plasticity of the human brain and the potential afforded by Happy Neuron's unique approach to cognitive stimulation. Happy Neuron has the potential for preventing, reducing and delaying symptoms of cognitive decline. It has empowered individuals to be proactive in protecting their mental health. Beneficiaries cut across education, gender, age and socio-economic status, potentially assisting anyone who wants to maintain optimal mental health.

How many people have you served directly?

Happy Neuron has a global presence having served over 6.5 million people through books, CD's, DVD's and on-line playing in four languages.

How many people have you served indirectly?

Happy Neuron has indirectly served millions of people around the world through multiple published research papers, ongoing scientific research projects and a variety of promotional articles. Although a comprehensive analysis has not yet been conducted, Happy Neuron is one of a number of sources that have inspired increasing media attention to the concept of brain fitness over the last several years.

Please list any other measures reflective of the impact of your innovation

Increasing numbers of hospitals, clinics, retirement homes and private physician's offices are recommending or using Happy Neuron products in their daily practice. Many health professionals such as psychologists, speech therapists, ergo therapists, and graphotherapists have discovered the benefits of our products and services. Happy Neuron products have also been offered by insurance companies. Importantly, Happy Neuron is a thoroughly multi-national and cross-cultural enterprise.

What are the main barriers to creating your impact?

The main barriers to creating our impact are, first, the necessity to conduct a comprehensive program of neuropsychological outcomes research and, second, the task of disseminating accurate, understandable research results that increase public awareness of the benefits of brain fitness.

How is your initiative financed?

Happy Neuron Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Scientific Brain Training, France.
The company is privately funded.

Provide information on your finances and organization: annual budget, annual revenue, number of staff:

The team is a small group of people, both full-time and part-time. All are specialized and committed to the area of brain health and wellness.

What is the potential demand for your innovation?

The potential demand is enormous in view of the aging "baby boom" generation and the underlying science of brain fitness and its benefits. For example, according to an analysis of census data conducted by the Metlife Mature Market Institute (2000), "baby boomers" represent 26% of the American population with over 40 million "baby boomers" aged 50 and over. By the year 2030, it is estimated that "baby boomers" aged 66-84 will make up about 20% of the total US population.

What are the main barriers to financial sustainability?

The main goals and challenges of many small businesses - fueling continued growth in order to further the research in cognitive fitness and bring the benefits of cognitive science to the public through continued creative product innovation.

The Story
What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.

In 1998, the founders of Happy Neuron, Bernard Croisile, MD, Ph.D, Michel Noir, Ph.D, and Franck Tarpin-Bernard, Ph.D., a neurologist/neuroscientist, a doctor of education and a computer scientist respectively, began a collaboration to turn neuroscience knowledge into computer based cognitive exercises:

2000 Scientific Brain Training founded (SBT)
2001 Online solution launched; Happy-Neuron France
2002 First CD products
2002 First Cognitive Training products introduced
2003 Happy-Neuron Great Britain
2004 First CD products in US
2006 Happy-Neuron US
2007 Happy-Neuron Japan
2007 Happy-Neuron Germany

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material

Dr. Bernard Croisile, MD, Ph.D., is a respected neurologist and neuroscientist with an international reputation for his research on aging and cognition. Recipient of the Alzheimer's Disease Parke-David Award in 1998, he has written at least a hundred peer-reviewed articles on aging and cognition. Currently, he is Chief of the Neuropsychology Laboratory at the Neurological Hospital of Lyon, France and Vice-President of Scientific Affairs, and Director of the Memory Clinics of Lyon's hospitals.

How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate? (this is confidential)

Happy Neuron was approached by Robert Benedict of Changemakers. Our main incentive to participate is to promote our innovative ideas concerning cognitive health and to subsequently attract new funding to continue our cutting edge research in the area of neuroscience.