9.09.2004

Technological Tools
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There is increasing use of computer (and in our case, internet and computer) based tools to detect, monitor, and track human cognition.

If you have tried our service, and now we are to the point where almost a million of you have, of one variety or another, you know that we offer easy to use testing and tracking which provides a snapshot of your cognitive speed. To get the full benefit, you need to get MemCheck. Now, many scientists are starting to believe that decline in brain speed over time is a critical observation - it is a flag like increasing blood pressure is a flag for circulatory problems. There have been at least 100 stories on alcoholism and cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's in the past few days. We were among the first to report it directly from the scientists.

A few days ago in the Age (Australia) there was a lengthy treatment of the computerized assessment phenomenon, in fact, that's where the photo above was initially published. One of our first thoughts on this subject occurred in 1999 with a decision to move to a Java architecture in the early prototype of our current architecture, though not yet an n-tier application (jargon alert: definition) as has become predominant in the supply chain field. We now are at an n-tier application but it is surprising how revolutionary and easy this is. The main benefit in what we are doing, so you can get an understanding as general readers is to create an analytical repository of ranges of performance; the more data we collect, the more insight we have into understanding memory and cognitive changes over time, the better we understand cognition and interaction with pharmaceuticals (or any substance, for that matter). In the clinical trials field companies such as PHT are conducting clinical evaluations on substances, sometimes globally using handheld computers and PDAa such as Psion and networks such sa AT&T wireless; further, specific occupations can be tested such as the work of Jerome Yesavage at Stanford on former military pilots; or perhaps in the future on astronauts in training.

I liken it to the early stages of supply chain visibility "alerts" or tracking. One of the firsts in that field was Red Pepper software and their response agents, which came out of NASA Ames. Simultaneously, the technology emerged to 'track' shipments using bar codes and electronic scanners, first internally (call to track your shipment) than externally (on the Internet). Many people thought that was a bad idea. I know, I remember arguing for hours about it. Luckily I got to work with a very smart guy who came out of the US Naval Academy, had worked for IBM for many years, and was the first to use OCR technology in the freight industry (hint: not FedEX or UPS) before coming to UPS. Here we are roughly ten years later with a field that is just as wide open. The big idea in the supply chain area was to integrate real time detail status info a responsive system. That's why our concept had a rather poor fit with i2 Technologies which was derived from predictive modeling, a better fit conceptually with Red Pepper Software, which was in the process of being acquired by PeopleSoft. We ran our idea by Charles Phillips at Morgan Stanley at an analyst meeting in NY, and PeopleSoft, which picked it up and ran with it. The lesson is that a responsive tracking system for the cognitive processes is what is called for, accessible from anywhere.









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