William Krakow

9 posts

Brain Games



Every day, millions of people around the world sign on to apps like Lumosity, Elevate, and a fleet of other programs that promise to increase a user’s focus, memory, and mental performance. Though most previous studies have found these apps’ brain enhancing claims to be dubious (at best), that hasn’t prevented them from garnering enormous and passionate followings. Lumosity has been downloaded over 35 million times from the Apple app store alone. The brain-training industry - which also includes Cogmed, Neuronation, and other cranialnyms - is now valued


Read more...

World Records



We’re getting stronger, taller and faster, but are we getting smarter?

Running a four minute mile was supposed to be impossible. Until 1954, most coaches, runners, scientists, and the even world’s top physiologists all declared that humans were physically incapable of a sub 4:00 performance, even given ideal training and race conditions. It was simply too fast.

In 1954 a young medical student named Roger Bannister proved them all wrong. On a windy day in Oxford, England, Bannister ran 1 mile in three minutes and 59.4


Read more...

How do my Brain Gauge scores compare to everyone else's?



An introduction to the Brain Gauge scoring system
In the ProTools (or RxTools) app, your Brain Gauge metrics reflect how your brain performance compares to population averages. If you have a score of 100 for any metric, you performed as good as (or better than) healthy controls from our subject population. We calculated the mean scores for our tests through years of clinical trials.

On the other hand, if you have a low Brain Gauge score (between 0 and 70), you scored poorly on that metric's tests compared to our


Read more...

Problems with concussion testing in sports



Most currently available concussion tests rely on baseline scores. At the beginning of the season, athletes complete an assessment to establish their baseline cognitive health. When an athlete sustains a head injury or shows symptoms of a concussion, a trainer or coach administers the test again and compares the two sets of scores. If the post-injury scores are substantially lower than the baseline results, athletes are removed from play.

At first glance, this approach seems reasonable. Everyone's brain is different, so by comparing a potentially concussed individual to that individual's


Read more...

Measuring Neuroinflammation



The Timing Perception measure (or Duration Discrimination) comes from the test that asks you “which stimulus lasted longer?”. This score is useful on its own, but you can gain even more insight into your brain health by comparing it to your Duration Discrimination with confound score. The difference between these two scores is based on a brain illusion - a mistake that your brain makes when comparing two sensations. But don't worry - if your brain is making this mistake, it means that it's healthy!

How the illusion is created


Read more...

Case Study: Getting back on your feet



Disclaimer: This article was adapted from a paper orginally published in the Journal of Physiotherapy Research (King et al. 2018). For privacy concerns the name of the patient has been changed.

Sacha didn’t feel so good.

A few days earlier, she had fallen off her stationary bike and clipped the side of her head on an unfortunately placed ceramic planter, opening a neat cut above her right ear. But after a quick trip to the emergency room and a handful of stitches, her wound seemed to be taken care


Read more...

The Need for Speed



People like to go fast. We like fast cars and fast lanes. We want to “Earn money fast!” and “Lose weight fast!” It’s why we blow our paychecks on the latest phones and the hottest laptops. As every third grader in a playground footrace will tell you, it’s fun to be the fastest.

That’s why we’re never surprised when Brain Gauge users seem most interested in their Speed metric. When we test college students, the football players always want to record their scores so they can


Read more...

The Brain Gauge: an Effective Tool for Biohackers



Hacking your brain but don't know if it is having an effect? The Brain Gauge can help.
The biohacking community is growing faster than ever. This group of health enthusiasts, collectively known as biohackers, try to hack or modulate their body's abilities by using a variety of supplements, lifestyle changes, and radical diets. Over the past 12 months, brain hacking in particular has become very popular. This division of biohacking tends to prioritize improvements to IQ, focus, memory, and mental stamina. The methods used for brain hacking range from dietary


Read more...

Why the Brain Gauge works for people of all ages



Cortical metrics stay within normative range for a large age spectrum – as long as people stay healthy.
We often get asked whether age-related declines in skin sensitivity can affect your Brain Gauge scores. This is a legitimate concern, as confounding factors in the peripheral nervous system can invalidate many neurological tests. If peripheral sensory receptors are transmitting weak or noisey signals in response to a certain stimulus, the test will fail to effectively activate the central nervous system. Fortunately, we kept this issue in mind during our research and development,


Read more...