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Corporate Wellness Programs start to include Brain Health

Brain-fit­ness games join work­place, as well as senior cen­ter, arse­nals (Mar­ket­Watch)

- “Con­sumers and retire­ment homes have made brain-fit­ness games and exer­cis­es a com­mer­cial hit, but now some insur­ers and employ­ers are incor­po­rat­ing them into well­ness pro­grams that pro­mote health not just for the body but also for the mind.”

- “Improv­ing brain health can result in less pre­sen­teeism, the ten­den­cy to be at work but be dis­tract­ed and not able to focus,” he added. “If you look at dis­abil­i­ty costs, absen­teeism and pre­sen­teeism account for most of the med­ical costs, and that’s a good rea­son for employ­ers to be focused on brain health.” (accord­ing to Dr. Eugene Bak­er, vice pres­i­dent at OptumHealth’s Behav­ioral Solu­tions divi­sion)”

The arti­cle reviews inno­v­a­tive prac­tices at OptumHealth, Nation­wide Auto Insur­ance Com­pa­ny, Humana, Penn Treaty Amer­i­can Corp, All­state, and the US Army. I am glad to see the media start to notice the impor­tance of cog­ni­tive assess­ments and the grow­ing activ­i­ty by insur­ers.

Stan­ford Issues Find­ings from Cog­ni­tive and Brain Experts Urg­ing Con­sumer Cau­tion on Mem­o­ry Fit­ness Prod­ucts (press release)

- “Fear of mem­o­ry loss, men­tal impair­ment and Alzheimer’s dis­ease lead many con­sumers to search for prod­ucts — from sup­ple­ments to soft­ware — that claim to ward off such ail­ments,” Lau­ra L. Carstensen, found­ing direc­tor of the Stan­ford Cen­ter on Longevi­ty, said. “Such prod­ucts are becom­ing more pro­lif­ic, but this bur­geon­ing indus­try is com­plete­ly unreg­u­lat­ed and the claims can range from rea­son­able though untest­ed, to bla­tant­ly false. It is impor­tant for con­sumers to pro­ceed with cau­tion before buy­ing into many of these prod­uct claims. There is no mag­ic bul­let solu­tion for cog­ni­tive decline.”

- The Summit’s (Note: held in April 2008) state­ment points out that “it would be wrong to con­clude that noth­ing can be done to improve men­tal fit­ness.” But goes on to “strong­ly encour­age research that com­pares the effi­ca­cy and the cost-effec­tive­ness of dif­fer­ent approach­es to main­tain­ing cog­ni­tive fit­ness.”

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