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Cognitive Health Roadmap by the CDC and Alzheimer’s Association

Hello, this is Andreas again, the MD/ PhD student in cognitive neuroscience and new summer intern here.

Cognitive/ brain health is finally getting more attention by Public officials. On June 10th the National Public Health Road Map to Maintaining Cognitive Health was released by the CDC and the Alzheimer’s Association. The authors propose a set of 44 actions to reach a lofty goal: To maintain or improve the cognitive performance of all adults. This is great timing, given all the research and media attention that this field is getting.

I want to share with you the 10 top actions proposed by this report:

1) To determine how diverse audiences think about cognitive health and its associations with lifestyle factors. This work has all-ready yielded in a phenomenal report on Baby boomers’ current opinion of Brain Health and Fitness.

2) To disseminate the latest science to increase public understanding of cognitive health and to dispel common misconceptions. The discovery of lifelong neuroplasticity and neurogenesis has given us a new positive view
upon the human brain – This is still a concept not many know of. “Use it or lose it” and “Use It and Get More of It” needs to reach all people. See this good overview on the topic.

3) Help people understand the connection between risk and protective factors and cognitive health. Protective factors are well summarized in this blog post on the results from the Macarthur study of successful aging.

4) Assessing the literature on risk factors (vascular risk and physical inactivity) and related interventions for relationships with cognitive health, harms, gaps and effectiveness. As Dr. Marilyn S. Albert at John Hopkins points it out: – All the things that we know are bad for your heart turn out to be bad for your brain.

5) More clinical trials will be conducted to determine the effect of reducing vascular risk factors on lowering the risk of cognitive decline and improving cognitive function. Recent findings presented at International Conference on Prevention of Dementia are one big step in the right direction.

6) Further, more research will be conducted on other areas potentially affecting cognitive health such as nutrition, mental activity, and social engagement.

7) The last research focus is on determining the effect of physical activity on reducing the risk of cognitive decline
and improving cognitive function. Caroline at SharpBrains wrote this interesting post: Is physical fitness important to your brain fitness?

8) The government will develop a population-based surveillance system to measure the public health burden of cognitive impairment in the United States.

9) Initiate policy changes at the federal, state, and local levels to promote cognitive health by engaging public officials.

10) Brain Fitness will be included in Healthy People 2020, a set of health objectives for the nation that will serve as the foundation for state and community public health plans. Check Here for the 2010 report.

If you want to learn more about cognitive health, you will enjoy these resources:

Glossary: key scientific concepts on Cognition and Brain Fitness.

Neuroscience Interview Series: During the last 18 months our co-founder Alvaro Fernandez has had the fortune to interview over 15 cutting-edge neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists on their research and thoughts.

Directory of Web Sites: some excellent resources aimed at people of all ages.

Encephalon Blog Carnival: a selection of the best neuroscience and psychology blog posts, every other week.

Brain Fitness Newsletter: our twice-a-month newsletter, written by SharpBrains staff and over a dozen guest neuroscientists, health professionals and educators, provides an informed, engaging and comprehensive window into Cognitive Fitness and Brain Health news.

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2 Responses

  1. Balder O says:

    Interesting information, though I think action 8 should be more prioritized in this report.

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