Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Brain Injury Care: Treatment and Reimbursement Challenges

Gif­fords May Get Bet­ter Brain-Injury Care Than Most of Her Con­stituents (ProPublica):

Despite the need for more research, Gif­fords’ story shows the poten­tial of the treat­ments now avail­able. But accord­ing to Susan Con­nors, the pres­i­dent of the Brain Injury Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica, what treat­ment you receive depends heav­ily on your state, insur­ance plan (or lack of one), hos­pi­tal and the peo­ple advo­cat­ing for you.” Read the rest of this entry »

Transcript: Paul Nussbaum on Meditation, Neuropsychology and Thanksgiving

Below you can find the full tran­script of our engag­ing Q&A ses­sion yes­ter­day on holis­tic brain health with clin­i­cal neu­ropsy­chol­o­gist Dr. Paul Nuss­baum, author of Save Your Brain. You can learn more about the full Brain Fit­ness Q&A Series Here.

Per­haps one of the best exchanges was: Read the rest of this entry »

Alzheimer’s: Non-drug Interventions to Improve Quality of Life

It is not easy to take care of some­one suf­fer­ing from Alzheimer’s Dis­ease. Qual­ity of life for both patients and care­givers usu­ally dete­ri­o­rate as the dis­ease pro­gresses. This issue also has an eco­nomic side: the care pro­vided by fam­ily mem­bers is val­ued at nearly $144 bil­lion. What would hap­pen if care­givers could not carry on any­more? As this arti­cle from the Huff­in­g­ton post reminds us, there is no pill to help fam­i­lies stay together longer, and have hap­pier lives. How­ever there are a grow­ing num­ber of non-pharmacologic inter­ven­tions that could achieve this. 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.




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 »

Centre for Brain Fitness at Baycrest: Interview with Dr. William Reichman

In April 2008, Bay­crest, a lead­ing research insti­tute focused on aging and brain func­tion, received $10-million from the Ontario Gov­ern­ment to cre­ate a ground­break­ing Cen­tre for Brain Fit­ness. Its stated goal was to “develop and com­mer­cial­ize a range of prod­ucts designed to improve the brain health of aging Ontar­i­ans and oth­ers around the world”.

Our gov­ern­ment is proud to sup­port Bay­crest and its invalu­able work, which is already lead­ing to the dis­cov­ery of impor­tant new tools and approaches to treat­ing brain dis­eases asso­ci­ated with aging,” said Min­is­ter of Research and Inno­va­tion, John Wilkinson.

We have Baycrest’s CEO with us today, to explore why Ontario and Bay­crest chose to Bill Reichman Baycrestbecome pio­neers in this area, and dis­cuss some of the main oppor­tu­ni­ties, and chal­lenges. Dr. William E. Reich­man is Pres­i­dent and CEO of Bay­crest. Dr. Reich­man, an internationally-known expert in geri­atric men­tal health and demen­tia, is also Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chi­a­try on the Fac­ulty of Med­i­cine at the Uni­ver­sity of Toronto.

Alvaro Fer­nan­dez: Bill, thank you for your time. Let me start by ask­ing, given that you just spoke at the recent Con­sumer Elec­tronic Show, what do you make of the grow­ing brain fit­ness field?

Bill Reich­man: it looks like a clas­sic exam­ple of a very promis­ing but still early stage field – a lot of oppor­tu­nity and enthu­si­asm, but also a lot of prod­uct claims that are not backed by solid research. Think about the phys­i­cal fit­ness anal­ogy: even today, after decades of progress, you still see peo­ple buy­ing research-based prod­ucts such as tread­mills but also all types of ran­dom machines they see on TV and have not been sub­ject to any val­i­da­tion. Sim­i­larly, con­sumers today do not know what to make of grow­ing brain fit­ness claims. As another speaker pointed out, for the indus­try to ful­fill its promise, it will need to be care­ful with research and claims, not to end up like the nutraceu­ti­cals category.

By the way, let me rec­og­nize that the work you are doing with Sharp­Brains reports and your web­site is very impor­tant to offer qual­ity information.

Thank you. Let’s step back for a moment. Tak­ing a, say, 10 years view, what is the main oppor­tu­nity that technology-based brain fit­ness can offer to society?

First of all, let me say that I think we have an oppor­tu­nity to make major progress in Brain Health in the XXI cen­tury, sim­i­lar to what hap­pened with Car­dio­vas­cu­lar Health in the XX, and tech­nol­ogy will play a cru­cial role.

Given the rapid advances we are wit­ness­ing today in the research and tech­nol­ogy are­nas, I feel con­fi­dent in say­ing that in less than 10 years we will have both valid and reli­able assess­ments of cog­ni­tive func­tions, that will be used both by Read the rest of this entry »

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