Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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One more reason to improve education and cardiovascular health in developing countries: to delay (underestimated) Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer_Word_cloud_conceptAlzheimer’s Cases Severely Underestimated in Developing Nations (Bloomberg):

“Alzheimer’s cases are greatly underestimated in East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Colombia, researchers said, which may lead to poor policy making and inadequate health-care services. Read the rest of this entry »

Good interview (in Spanish) about lifelong brain health and mental fitness

AlvaroFernandezIbanez_picÁlvaro Fernández Ibáñez: “Corriendo creamos más neuronas que andando” (La Vanguardia):

– ¿Por qué invertir en nuestro cerebro es un buen negocio?
Porque lo ignoramos hasta que es demasiado tarde, hasta que uno tiene alzheimer o una depresión crónica. Pero cualquier persona puede mejorar cosas de su cerebro. Y esto tiene dos grandes ventajas: mejorar nuestro rendimiento nos sirve para aprender cosas más rápido o para manejar el estrés Read the rest of this entry »

Kirtan Kriya Meditation: A “new” tool to fight Alzheimer’s Disease

Enjoy this slide deck presented by Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa President of the Alzheimer’s Research & Pre­ven­tion Foun­da­tion (ARPF),  at the 2013 SharpBrains Virtual Summit.

To learn more:

To Harness Neuroplasticity, Start with Enthusiasm

We are the architects and builders of our own brains.

For millennia, however, we were oblivious to our enormous creative capabilities. We had no idea that our brains were changing in response to our actions and attitudes, every day of our lives. So we unconsciously and randomly shaped our brains and our latter years because we believed we had an immutable brain that was at the mercy of our genes.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Read the rest of this entry »

Alzheimer’s Disease and Music: A Door to Past and New Memories

Music can soothe and trigger memories. It is as such that music is most often used with Alzheimer’s patients. A new study suggests that music may also be used as a booster for learning new things, an ability very impaired in those with Alzheimer’s.

Individuals with Alzheimer’s and matched controls were presented with unfamiliar songs lyrics: half of the lyrics were sung and half were merely spoken. Participants were then presented with the lyrics they had heard as well as with new ones, and asked whether they recognized any lyrics.

Alzheimer’s patients’ memory was much better for sung lyrics than for spoken ones. There was no difference between the two types of lyrics for the healthy older adults.

Why do people with Alzheimer’s seem to benefit from musical stimuli? Read the rest of this entry »

Alzheimer’s Disease: is our Healthcare System Ready?

In the midst of much healthcare reform talk, not Alzheimer's Disease reportenough attention seems focused on ensuring healthcare systems’ preparedness to deal with cognitive health issues -with Alzheimer’s Disease as the most dramatic example- which are predicted to grow given aging population trends.

Today is World Alzheimer’s Day, and the USA Today comments on a new report that makes stark predictions:
Global Alzheimer’s cases expected to rise sharply (USA Today)

– “The 2009 World Alzheimer’s Report, released today, estimates 35 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The figure is a 10% increase over 2005 numbers.”

– “The number of people affected by Alzheimer’s is growing at a rapid rate, and the increasing personal costs will have significant impact on the world’s economies and health care systems,” said Harry Johns, President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association. “We must make the fight against Alzheimer’s a priority here in the United States and worldwide,” he said.

– “The report by London-based nonprofit Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), an international federation of 71 national Alzheimer organizations (including the Alzheimer’s Association), indicates that the number of people with dementia is expected to grow sharply to 65.7 million in 2030 and 115.4 million in 2050.”

Link to report: Here

The Alzheimer’s Association is organizing multiple Memory Walks to raise awareness and funds. You can learn more and join Here. (Perhaps a good opportunity to organize a “walking book group” as Arthur Kramer suggested in the SharpBrains Guide?)

The City of San Francisco, led by its Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS), convened since san francisco2008 an Alzheimer’s/ Dementia Expert Panel to identify gaps and issue recommendations to address the growing crisis in dementia care at the city level, and is about to release a pioneering plan that may well influence public health initiatives in other cities and states. An interim document can be found here: 2020 Foresight-Strategy For Excellence in Dementia Care (pdf)

One of the major areas of focus for that strategy was Education & Prevention, and below we can share a summary of the preliminary findings and recommendations. We will highlight the final report when ready.

ALZHEIMER’S/DEMENTIA EXPERT PANEL

EDUCATION AND PREVENTION SUBCOMMITTEE

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The subcommittee’s charge was to consider how best to educate the San Francisco community about Alzheimer’s and related dementias to change attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, standards of practice, and outcomes associated with the disease.

Specific topics addressed include:
· Protective factors relating to dementia, including risk factors and brain health
· Early identification of dementia
· Early access to services
· Community education
· Education of professionals and nonprofessionals, including physicians, psychiatrists and psychologists, social workers, nurses, and other caregivers, both paid caregivers and informal caregivers such as family and friends
· Ethical issues
· Policy issues

The dissemination of accurate information about Alzheimer’s and related dementias can play an important role in Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Fitness Update: Best of 2008

Dear reader and member of SharpBrains’ community,
We want to thank you for your attention and support in 2008, and wish you a Happy, brain fitness and health newsletterProsperous, Healthy and Positive 2009!

Below you have the December edition of our monthly newsletter. Enjoy:

Best of 2008

Announcing the SharpBrains Most Important Book of 2008: Neuroscientist Torkel Klingberg has written a very stimulating and accessible book on a crucial topic for our Information Age: The Overflowing Brain: Information Overload and the Limits of Working Memory. We have named it The SharpBrains Most Important Book of 2008, and asked Dr. Klingberg to write a brief article to introduce his research and book to you. Enjoy it here.

Top 30 Brain Fitness Articles of 2008: We have compiled SharpBrains’ 30 most popular articles, written by thirteen Expert Contributors and staff members for you. Have you read them all?

November-December News: No month goes by without significant news in the field of cognitive fitness. Summarized here are 10 recent developments worthy of attention, including an upcoming brain training product for ice hockey players, my lecture at New York Public Library, and more.

Interviews: Videogames, Meditation

Are videogames good for your brain?: A landmark study by Dr. Arthur Kramer and colleagues has shown that playing a strategy videogame can bring a variety of significant mental benefits to older brains. Another recent study, also by Kramer and colleagues, does not show similar benefits to younger brains (despite playing the same game). How can this be? Dr. Kramer, who has kindly agreed to serve on SharpBrains’ Scientific Advisory Board, elaborates.

Meditation on the Brain: Dr. Andrew Newberg provides an excellent overview of the brain benefits of practices such as meditation. He recommends, “look for something simple, easy to try first, ensuring the practice is compatible with one’s beliefs and goals. You need to match practice with need: understand the specific goals you have in mind, your schedule and lifestyle, and find something practical.”

The Need for Objective Assessments

Cognitive screenings and Alzheimer’s Disease: The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America just released a thoughtful report advocating for widespread cognitive screenings after the age of 65 (55 given the right conditions). SharpBrains readers, probed by Dr. Joshua Steinerman, seem to agree.

Quantitative EEG for ADHD diagnosis: Dr. David Rabiner reports on the findings from a recent study that documents the utility of Quantitative EEG as an objective test to assist in the diagnosis of ADHD. If this procedure were to become more widely used, he suggests, the number of children and adolescents who are inappropriately diagnosed and treated for the disorder would diminish substantially.

Shall we question the brand new book of human troubles?: The fights over the new version of the psychiatric diagnostic manual, the DSM-V, are starting to come to light. Dr. Vaughan Bell wonders why the public debate avoids the key question of whether diagnosis itself is useful for mental health and why psychometrics are simply ignored.

Resources for Lifelong Learning

Education builds Cognitive Reserve for Alzheimers Disease Protection: Dr. Pascale Michelon reviews a recent study that supports the Cognitive Reserve hypothesis – mentally stimulating experiences throughout life, such as formal education, help build a reserve in our brains that contributes to a lower probability of developing Alzheimer’s symptoms.

5 Tips on Lifelong Learning & the Adult Brain: Laurie Bartels asks us to please please 1) challenge ourselves with new learning, 2) remember that neuroplasticity and neurogenesis are hallmarks of our brains, 3) check for mis-learning on an ongoing basis, 4) more visuals, less text, 5) move it, move it – start today!

Neuroscience Core Concepts: We all have heard “Use It or Lose It”. Now, what is “It”? The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) has just released a user-friendly publication titled Neuroscience Core Concepts, aimed at helping educators and the general public learn more about the brain.

Register at special low fees before July 31st

2016 SharpBrains Virtual Summit: Reinventing Brain Health

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking applied brain science. Explore our most popular resources HERE.

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