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.


  1. Balder O on July 1, 2007 at 1:32

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

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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