Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Brain health paradigm shift: from one-time screenings to regular cognitive assessments

Alzheimer_Word_cloud_conceptUSPSTF: No to Rou­tine Screen­ing for Cog­ni­tive Impair­ment (Medscape):

There is insuf­fi­cient evi­dence to rec­om­mend rou­tine screen­ing for cog­ni­tive decline in older adults in the pri­mary care set­ting, accord­ing to a new review by the US Pre­ven­tive Ser­vices Task Force (USPSTF)…The USPSTF review­ers looked at drug ther­apy and non­drug ther­apy options for cog­ni­tive impair­ment and found more evi­dence on both than at the 2003 review, but not enough evi­dence that they lead to bet­ter health outcomes.

Elab­o­rat­ing on the views of the Alzheimer’s Asso­ci­a­tion, Maria Car­rillo, PhD, vice pres­i­dent of med­ical and sci­en­tific rela­tions, explained that ”…no one should mis­con­strue this USPSTF guid­ance doc­u­ment to imply that there are no ben­e­fits to reg­u­lar cog­ni­tive eval­u­a­tions, Read the rest of this entry »

BrainTech: Six Take-aways on Neuroplasticity and Cognitive training

braintechIsrael’s first inter­na­tional Brain­Tech con­fer­ence took place this week, on Octo­ber 14 and 15th. It was orga­nized by Israel Brain Tech­nolo­gies (IBT), a non-profit orga­ni­za­tion whose mis­sion is to posi­tion Israel as a global brain tech­nol­ogy and research cen­ter. The con­fer­ence included talks rep­re­sent­ing mul­ti­ple stake­hold­ers in the neu­rotech­nol­ogy sec­tor world­wide – patients, clin­i­cians, aca­d­e­mic lead­ers, pub­lic offi­cials, entre­pre­neurs and indus­try exec­u­tives. An impor­tant ses­sion in the con­fer­ence was the Brain­Blitz — a round­table ses­sion where dif­fer­ent brain tech­nol­ogy top­ics were dis­cussed in smaller inter­est groups.

Our table, devoted to Neu­ro­plas­tic­ity and Cog­ni­tive train­ing, Read the rest of this entry »

Good brainy stories at The New Yorker, The Economist, CNNMoney

worker-brainsSev­eral excel­lent arti­cles at The New Yorker, The Econ­o­mist and CNN­Money dis­cuss new health and indus­try oppor­tu­ni­ties around brain fit­ness, applied neu­ro­plas­tic­ity and dig­i­tal health, quot­ing Sharp­Brains’ CEO, pro­fes­sional mar­ket report and general-interest book. Enjoy!

5 ways to pro­tect your brain, and boost your career (CNNMoney):

Fer­nan­dez is co-author of a book called The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness that boils down the cur­rent explo­sion of new research in this area to spe­cific advice on what to do now to guard against Alzheimer’s and other forms of cog­ni­tive impair­ment later on…By a lucky coin­ci­dence, there’s plenty of over­lap between what’s good for your brain and what could turbo-charge your career. Con­sider these five tips…”

Cog­ni­tive train­ing may be a mon­eyspin­ner despite sci­en­tists’ doubts (The Economist):

(Most con­sumers) are not look­ing for a guar­an­teed way to avoid Alzheimer’s dis­ease; they just want to enhance or main­tain the per­for­mance of their brain “bet­ter than by doing the other kind of things they already do and that have far less evi­dence to sup­port [them], such as cross­word puz­zles, tak­ing vit­a­min sup­ple­ments, watch­ing edu­ca­tional TV shows, or sim­ply doing noth­ing,” he says.”

Men­tally fit — Work­outs at the brain gym (The New Yorker):

To every­one who has solved today’s cross­word puz­zle: Sorry, but that is no guar­an­tee that you will end up less nutty than the rest of us. Alvaro Fer­nan­dez, the C.E.O. of Sharp­Brains, a mar­ket research firm con­cerned with brain health, told me, “Once some­one has done hun­dreds or thou­sands of them, the mar­ginal ben­e­fit tends toward zero, because it becomes just another rou­tine, easy activity—probably a bit more stim­u­lat­ing and effort­ful than watch­ing TV, but not enough to bring ben­e­fits other than becom­ing a mas­ter at cross­word puzzles…Fernandez, of Sharp­Brains, told me, “If you find a game that addresses a rel­e­vant cog­ni­tive or emo­tional bot­tle­neck, you can make a dif­fer­ence in your qual­ity of life in ten to fif­teen hours of training.”

Alzheimer’s Disease population to triple: We need smarter research, public health initiatives and lifestyles

Human brainAccord­ing to a new study, the pop­u­la­tion with Alzheimer’s Dis­ease in the US will triple by 2050: from 4.7 mil­lions in 2010 to 13.8 mil­lions. This empha­sizes the urgent need for more research to find pre­ven­tive mea­sures, and for more enlight­ened pub­lic health ini­tia­tives and indi­vid­ual lifestyles designed to decrease demen­tia risks and delay onset of symptoms.

Between 1993 and 2011, researchers fol­lowed more than 10,000 indi­vid­u­als 65 and older. Par­tic­i­pants were inter­viewed and assessed for demen­tia every three years. Read the rest of this entry »

Update: New brain science leads to new tools and to new thinking

We often view mem­ory, think­ing, emo­tions, as com­pletely sep­a­rate enti­ties, but they truly are part of the same process. So, if we want to improve brain health, we need to pay atten­tion to the “weak link” in that process. In today’s soci­ety, man­ag­ing stress and neg­a­tive emo­tions is often that weak link, as we dis­cuss dur­ing Octo­ber Q&A ses­sion with par­tic­i­pants in Sharp­Brains’ new e-course. Time now for Sharp­Brains’ Octo­ber 2012 eNewslet­ter, fea­tur­ing new sci­ence, new resources and new thinking.

New sci­ence:

New tools:

New think­ing:

That’s it for now. Have a Happy Halloween!

Pic cour­tesy of Big­Stock­Photo

Brain fitness class’ monthly Q&A: Memory, stress, emotions, and more

Reg­is­tered par­tic­i­pants in the new e-course How to Be Your Own Brain Fit­ness Coach can take part in a monthly online Q&A ses­sion to dis­cuss progress and open ques­tions with the course fac­ulty and with fel­low par­tic­i­pants. Below is the tran­script of the Octo­ber 30th Q&A ses­sion, lightly edited and anonymized.

Course Fac­ulty (or F): OK, we are ready to start. You can start writ­ing and sub­mit­ting any ques­tions and com­ments!  Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare to update reimbursement criteria for degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, MS, Parkinson’s disease

What Medicare Will Cover Even if You’re Not Likely to Get Bet­ter (The New York Times):

Should the fed­eral gov­ern­ment cover the costs of many kinds of treat­ments for patients who aren’t going to get any bet­ter? It didn’t, for many years. But after the set­tle­ment of a land­mark class-action this week, Medicare will soon Read the rest of this entry »

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