One of 5000 Brains

From Anne Giles Clelland:

My brain will potentially join the 5,000 referred to by Read Montague in his TED Talk, What we’re learning from 5,000 brains.  (This post was inspired by the inaugural TEDxVirginiaTech event hosted on November 10, 2012 in Blacksburg, Virginia, home of Handshake Media and Handshake 2.0, whose videos were recently released.)

I replied to a request for brain research study recipients posted by the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.  Having helped coordinate a small pilot study for use of our behavioral health software platform Cognichoice(TM) in collaboration with an academic research hospital, I was fascinated to see the documents for what I believe was an example of the top level of research, a Randomized Control Trial (RCT)Dr. Read Montague and Dr. Warren Bickel were principal investigators on the study in which I participated for two days in mid-October, 2012.  One session involved various tests with software and interviewers, and the other making choices with hand controls while undergoing an MRI.

I volunteered for the study because I am interested in choices,  people will help us when they volunteer for our study, so I wanted to join them in helping the research efforts of others, and I have no children and felt a longing to join this opportunity to contribute to science that, in some way, might help future generations.  And many can’t, and I can, so I did:  I can tolerate extended time in an MRI tube.

Of the 13,000+ health apps in the App Store, an estimated 95% are untested.  Having just returned from the mHealth Summit where I learned of the paradox of the complexity, cost and the length of time (sometimes years) required for an RCT, and the complexity, cost and flexibility of time (the lean startup model can deploy changes in a matter of minutes) required for mobile software application development, I have only admiration for the research being done by Dr. Montague and Dr. Bickel. 

Researchers and entrepreneurs have to really believe in what they’re doing to put their ideas and theories to the test.  5000 brains.  That’s a lot of tests and a lot of belief.



Of potential further interest:

What to Do with Great Ideas for Mobile Health Apps

Challenges Facing a Mobile Health App

Putting a Heatlh App to the Test – Ideas on Health Startups

Crowdfunding Cognichoice with Health Tech Hatch
Who's in FRONT? Dan Notestein and Donna Mitchell

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