Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Preventing Memory Loss-CQ Researcher

Ever won­dered what explains the some­times sur­re­al, often mis­guid­ed, health poli­cies by our gov­ern­ment? Well,  it is beyond our hum­ble brains to cap­ture and artic­u­late what may be going on…but we now see that lack of access to qual­i­ty infor­ma­tion is cer­tain­ly not the main prob­lem. Deci­sion-mak­ing process­es, and struc­tur­al incen­tives, would prob­a­bly mer­it more atten­tion.…

I men­tion this because we are real­ly impressed by the just-pub­lished 24-page spe­cial Preventing Memory Loss issue on Pre­vent­ing Mem­o­ry Loss by Con­gres­sion­al Quar­ter­ly Researcher, one of the main pub­li­ca­tions in Capi­tol Hill.

The pub­li­ca­tion is not free, but worth the price for any­one active pro­fes­sion­al­ly in the health­care sec­tor, or inter­est­ed in learn­ing about lat­est research and pol­i­cy trends, from aca­d­e­mics to stu­dents. You can buy Buy the Elec­tron­ic PDF ($4.95) or Buy the Print­ed Copy ($15 — $5 dis­count using pro­mo­tion code “L8BRAIN” = $10).


As the nation’s baby boomers age, they are increas­ing­ly wor­ried that their mem­o­ries will dete­ri­o­rate — and with good rea­son. An esti­mat­ed 10 mil­lion boomers will devel­op Alzheimer’s dis­ease or anoth­er mem­o­ry-destroy­ing neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive con­di­tion in the com­ing years. Pol­i­cy mak­ers and health offi­cials wor­ry that the result­ing bulge in the num­ber of suf­fer­ers will bur­den the nation’s already strained health-care sys­tem. In the wake of these con­cerns, a vibrant brain-fit­ness indus­try is offer­ing a vari­ety of ways to help peo­ple keep their brains healthy, includ­ing the use of cog­ni­tion-enhanc­ing drugs and exer­cise. But many experts say much of what the pub­lic is being told is of lim­it­ed val­ue, at best. Inten­si­fied brain research begun years ago at the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health is just now begin­ning to pro­duce data that sci­en­tists hope will advance efforts to pre­vent mem­o­ry loss, but they wor­ry that flat fed­er­al fund­ing since 2003 may com­pro­mise the dri­ve for solu­tions.

The writer

Mar­cia Clem­mitt is a vet­er­an social-pol­i­cy reporter who joined CQ Researcher after serv­ing as edi­tor in chief of Med­i­cine and Health, a Wash­ing­ton-based indus­try newslet­ter, and staff writer for The Sci­en­tist. She has also been a high school math and physics teacher. She holds a bachelor’s degree in arts and sci­ences from St. Johns Col­lege, Annapo­lis, and a mas­ters degree in Eng­lish from George­town Uni­ver­si­ty.

Table of Con­tents

The Issues

291 — Do we know how to retard mem­o­ry loss?
-Is mem­o­ry loss a big­ger prob­lem today than in ear­li­er gen­er­a­tions?
— Are we on the way to cur­ing Alzheimer’s dis­ease?
— Should the use of mem­o­ry-enhanc­ing drugs be encour­aged for peo­ple with nor­mal mem­o­ries?


298 Mul­ti­ple Mem­o­ries
The brain has sev­er­al dif­fer­ent mem­o­ry process­es.
301 The Con­nec­tion Machine
One brain cell can affect 10,000 oth­ers.
302 Slip­ping Mem­o­ries
Decline begins by age 20.
303 Men­tal Strengths
All-impor­tant “gist” mem­o­ry doesn’t fade with age.
304 Brain Dis­ease
Alzheimer’s is the most com­mon con­di­tion.

Cur­rent Sit­u­a­tion

304 Pub­lic Fund­ing
Mem­o­ry-research fund­ing has remained flat since 2003.
306 Research Advances
New dis­cov­er­ies about mem­o­ry have been made.

307 Fit­ter Brains?
Entre­pre­neurs are devel­op­ing “brain fit­ness” prod­ucts.

Side­bars and Graph­ics

292 Alzheimer’s More Com­mon Among Old­er Women
About one-in-six women 55 and old­er have or will devel­op Alzheimer’s.
293 Alzheimer’s Deaths Rise as Oth­ers Decline
Deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased 45 per­cent.
294 Alzheimer’s Risk Increas­es With Age
Near­ly half of those over 85 have the dis­ease.
296 Mar­ket­ing ËœBrain Fit­ness”
The U.S. mar­ket grew to $225 mil­lion in 2007.
297 Unlock­ing the Mys­tery of Mem­o­ry
High-tech tools reveal the brain in action.
299 Chronol­o­gy
Key events since 1885.
300 Tips on Hold­ing onto Your Mem­o­ry
Good nutri­tion, exer­cise and stress reduc­tion can help.
303 Spend­ing on Research Has Been Flat
No major increas­es since 2004.
305 At Issue

Should we encour­age use of sci­en­tif­ic tech­niques to enhance mem­o­ry and oth­er cog­ni­tive func­tions?

For Fur­ther Research

309 For More Infor­ma­tion
Orga­ni­za­tions to con­tact.
310 Bib­li­og­ra­phy
Select­ed sources used.
311 The Next Step
Addi­tion­al arti­cles.
311 Cit­ing CQ Researcher
Sam­ple bib­li­og­ra­phy for­mats.

Reprint­ed with per­mis­sion from CQ Press, Pre­vent­ing Mem­o­ry Loss, CQ Researcher.

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