Industry Pioneers Gather at the University of Southern California for the Second Annual Conference of the Entertainment Software

  Industry Pioneers Gather at the University of Southern California for the
  Second Annual Conference of the Entertainment Software and Cognitive
  Neurotherapeutics Society (ESCoNS)

ESCoNS 2 Annual Meeting Fosters Collaboration and Proposes Series of Specific
 Efforts to Advance Development of Video Game Therapy To Diagnose and Combat
 Mental Disorders and Improve Cognitive Learning, Brain Capacity and Function

                           Registration is now open


Business Wire

LOS ANGELES -- February 5, 2013

Following on the extraordinary success of its inaugural symposium in San
Francisco, The Entertainment Software and Cognitive Neurotherapeutics Society
(ESCoNS: is proud to announce that ESCoNS 2, its next
conference and meeting, will be held on March 15-17, 2013 at the University of
Southern California. ESCoNS 2 is hosted in partnership with USC’s
world–renowned School of Cinematic Arts Interactive Media Division and its
Game Innovation Lab, an experimental game design and research lab headed by
Tracy FullertonAssociate Professor and Chair of the Interactive Media

ESCoNS was created by a dedicated group of pioneering scientists and business
leaders. The event was conceived by:

1. George Rose, Founder, The Rose Family Foundation; and

2. Sophia Vinogradov, MD, Associate Chief of Staff for Mental Health, San
Francisco VA Medical Center; Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of
Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco

The following individuals joined them to form the organizing committee and the
scientific advisory board for ESCoNS:

1. Adam Gazzaley, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology, Physiology and
Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco;

2. Daphne Bavelier, MD, Professor, Brain & Cognitive Sciences, Center for
Visual Science. Center for Language Studies and Director, Mind-Space
Laboratory at the University of Rochester Medical Center;

3. Laird Malamed, Adjunct Professor, USC School of Cinematic Arts, Interactive
Media Division;

4. Mor Nahum, Ph.D, Senior Brain Plasticity Research Fellow, Brain Plasticity
Inc.; and

5. Takeo Watanabe, MD: Professor of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological
Sciences at Brown University.

ESCoNS is fostering a new and exciting field of cognitive neurotherapeutics,
an innovative approach to mapping and training the brain to improve cognitive
function and capacity through interactive gameplay. By gathering the
collective strengths of visionary scientists, researchers and video game
pioneers, ESCoNS and its partners are making scientific and medical
breakthroughs in interactive games and media.

The 2011 ESCoNS Meeting was a unique symposium that brought together
academicians and scientists from around the world who study or are interested
in learning how computerized training and engaging and compelling video games
can assist in the diagnosis and treatment of serious disorders in various
cognitive brain functions. It allowed participants to share their research
findings and to interact directly with members of the entertainment software
industry and government officials. ESCoNS 1 already spawned several exciting
collaborations and follow-up meetings, including a summit meeting at the White
House in August of 2012, and has further strengthened the potential of
applying entertainment software methods as clinical interventions. The
National Institute of Mental Health recently adopted Clinical Neuroscience and
Entertainment Software Pilot Partnership Program to Develop Neuropsychiatric
Interventions to provide funding for ventures that bring together
entertainment software and mental health research and treatment.

“Our first ESCoNS meeting in 2011 was an unmitigated and well-deserved success
that has put our efforts on the scientific map. We had over 220 attendees –
scientists, clinicians, officials from the National Institute of Health and
the Department of Defense, leaders of the video game industry and the
scientific media. We all had one purpose – to learn from each other and create
a whole new and exciting field of ‘cognitive neurotherapeutics’- and we
certainly succeeded”, said Dr. Sophia Vinogradov of UCSF Medical Center. “It
was an unbelievable shot in the arm for the whole field of study, nothing
could compare”, added Dr. Adam Gazzaley.

ESCoNS 2 will further build on these goals and create an extraordinary
learning environment and opportunity to unite influencers in a variety of
fields, with the common goal of advancing medicine and education through the
use of games. This year’s event will bring together startups, video game and
technology companies, academia, clinicians and government agencies to get
these pioneering ideas developed and into the hands and view of those that
need it most.  The stated purpose of ESCoNS 2 is to push the edge of
collaboration between neuroscience and game industry by commencing a series of
coordinated efforts designed to make cognitive neurotherapeutics a reality,
enhancing the arsenal of tools in combating debilitating brain disorders
affecting millions of people around the world.

“The ESCoNS conference was born to address complex issues by bridging the
chasm between video game developers and neuroscientists. We are making
tremendous strides as the key stakeholders work toward the advancement of
video game technology for science, education and medicine,” said George Rose,
formerly an executive at Activision-Blizzard, Inc., and the, founder of the
Rose Family Foundation. “We are creating a new industry by mixing the latest
research on the brain, supported by hard-science with technological
advancements in interactive gaming.”

In addition to the USC School of Cinematic Arts, ESCoNS has also benefited
from the support of many other parties who selflessly devoted their time and
energy to making this symposium a reality. The ESCoNS organizing committee is
particularly grateful for the support of the National Institute of Health and
the National Institute of Mental Health, Lumos Labs, E-Line Media, The Brain
Plasticity Institute, inova, The Staglin Family and One Mind for Research
Foundation, Games for Health, Autism Speaks ®, and the law firms of Greenberg
Traurig LLP and SoCal IP Law Group LLP. ESCoNS also recognizes tireless
efforts of Tara Miller of The Miller Events and her staff, who organized both
events, from top to bottom.

Advancements in research of a concept called neuroplasticity, pioneered by The
Brain Plasticity Institute in San Francisco founded by Dr. Michael Merzenich, 
have proven that the brain is a complex muscle and with rigorous and medically
supervised training, can be improved when it is introduced to various direct
exercises. Moving forward on this research and using cutting-edge forms of
technology, scientists are beginning to learn how illnesses, such as autism,
schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress or attention deficit disorder, result
from dysfunction in key brain systems. It is the joint belief of scientists,
medical professionals and entertainment software creators, proven by many
years of hard research, that interactive games, including games specifically
designed for such purpose, can offer brain-training exercises that will bring
unimaginable relief to millions of people managing complex mental illnesses or
suffering pain, and can progressively improve cognitive function within the
realm of brain plasticity.

“I believe that technology provides the answers to many of the world’s most
pressing problems. As we continue to pour billions of dollars into a failing
education system, for example, that seeks to advance teaching methodologies,
it is time we flipped the model on its head,” said Naveen Jain, CEO, inome and
keynote speaker at this year’s ESCoNS event. “Instead, let’s focus on our
‘learners.’ The brain constantly evolves to its surroundings and rewires
itself at any age. By triggering the brain using videogames and other
interactive software solutions, we can improve its processing speed, as well
as decision-making and spatial skills.”

“We have a major scientific issue that involves one of the greatest frontiers
in medicine benefited by products that have already become a household staple
- videogames,” George Rose added. “Interactive products have become the new
language of younger generations, a way of expression. But games also provide
us with a window into interactive cognitive therapies that can address pain,
brain dysfunction and other illnesses with dramatic results.”

ESCoNS 2 will feature four half-day sessions addressing a range of topics as
vast as the brain itself, including computerized brain training, brain
plasticity measurement, game design, motivated targeted behaviors, funding
opportunities for academic-industry partnerships, and business development in
the field of cognitive therapeutics, or brain therapy. Attendees will also be
invited to numerous workshops on the principles of successful game design for
therapeutic applications and a presentation of works dedicated to showcasing
new computerized therapeutic tools. For more information on the program,
speakers, or to register for the event, please go to:


Over the past 10 years, we have learned a great deal about the structure and
function of the brain. We have also learned about how the brain can change
when given various “training” opportunities (brain plasticity). At the same
time, we have made great strides in understanding how human neuropsychiatric
illnesses – such as autism, schizophrenia, ADD, and PTSD – result from
dysfunction in key brain systems. At the first ESCoNS meeting in September
19-20, 2011, over 220 attendees – scientists, clinicians, officials from the
National Institute of Health and the Department of Defense, leaders of the
videogame industry and the scientific media – got together to discuss what we
know about brain plasticity. In 21 talks given by world-leading scientists, 2
panel discussions and over 50 posters, the consensus was that we can now push
the edge of the envelope and combine the neuroscience of brain training with
video game technology to target brain dysfunction in any number of human
illnesses, creating a whole new and exciting field of “cognitive
neurotherapeutics.”The purpose of ESCoNS 2 is to push the edge of this
envelope even further by bringing together researchers and interested members
of the entertainment software industry to begin a series of coordinated
efforts and make cognitive neurotherapeutics a reality.


The Rose Family Foundation is committed to the belief that video game
technology will help us understand and solve some of society’s most pressing
problems in areas such as medicine and education. Interactive software has
potential to improve treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, child
autism, neurological disorders associated with memory and aging, vision
problems, and fitness training to fight obesity. The Foundation works to
promote the progress of such efforts by connecting individuals and
organizations from various academic, business and governmental entities to
help them exchange ideas and resources necessary for socially-beneficial

About USC School of Cinematic Arts

In 1929, USC became the first university in the country to offer a Bachelor of
Arts degree in film. The School's founding faculty included William C.
DeMille, Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith, Ernst Lubitsch, Mary Pickford,
Irving Thalberg and Darryl Zanuck, among others. Since its founding, the
School of Cinematic Arts has had a profound impact on the global entertainment
industry and the academic study of film, television, animation, games and
emerging media.


Michael Lindenberger, 415-531-1449
Kristin Borella, 213-740-9514
Cari Sanders, 818-506-7887
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