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New Research Partnership in Cognitive Aging

via Press release:

The Research Part­ner­ship in Cog­ni­tive Aging, a pub­lic-pri­vate effort NY62434LOGOto pro­mote the study of brain func­tion with age, will award up to $28 mil­lion over five years to 17 research grants to exam­ine the neur­al and behav­ioral pro­files of healthy cog­ni­tive aging and explore inter­ven­tions that may pre­vent, reduce or reverse cog­ni­tive decline in old­er peo­ple.

The part­ner­ship, led by the Nation­al Insti­tute on Aging (NIA), part of the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health, and the McK­night Brain Research Foun­da­tion (MBRF), is seek­ing ways to main­tain cog­ni­tive health — the abil­i­ty to think, learn and remem­ber — into old age.

Hodes point­ed out that emerg­ing evi­dence sug­gests that cer­tain inter­ven­tions — such as exer­cise, envi­ron­men­tal enrich­ment, diet, social engage­ment, cog­ni­tive train­ing and stress reduc­tion — should be stud­ied more inten­sive­ly to deter­mine if they might pre­vent or reduce declines in cog­ni­tive health.

All the stud­ies are fas­ci­nat­ing, and a few of them may have sig­nif­i­cant impact in the near-term giv­en mar­ket trends:

  • Ellen F. Binder, M.D., and Mark A. McDaniel, Ph.D., Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty School of Med­i­cine, St. Louis: Com­bin­ing Exer­cise and Cog­ni­tive Train­ing to Improve Every­day Func­tion. A pilot tri­al in 90 old­er adults will eval­u­ate whether cog­ni­tion improves when aer­o­bic exer­cise is com­bined with cog­ni­tive enrich­ment pro­vid­ed by a spe­cif­ic research-based video game. The ran­dom­ized tri­al is aimed at find­ing an inter­ven­tion to improve day-to-day cog­ni­tive func­tion.
  • Mark D’Esposito, M.D., Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley: A Brain-Based Approach to Enhanc­ing Exec­u­tive Con­trol Func­tions in Healthy Aging
  • Patri­cia A. Boyle, Ph.D., Rush Uni­ver­si­ty Med­ical Cen­ter, Chica­go: Char­ac­ter­iz­ing the Behav­ior Pro­file of Healthy Cog­ni­tive Aging
  • Randy L. Buck­n­er, Ph.D., Mass­a­chu­setts Gen­er­al Hos­pi­tal, Boston: Neur­al Process­es Under­ly­ing Cog­ni­tive Aging
  • Joe Z. Tsien, Ph.D., Med­ical Col­lege of Geor­gia, Augus­ta: Hip­pocam­pal Net­work Pro­files of Mem­o­ry Aging.
  • Yaakov Stern, Ph.D., Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty, New York: Com­bined Exer­cise and Cog­ni­tive Train­ing Inter­ven­tion in Nor­mal Aging

For more infor­ma­tion

My two cents:

  • Why $28 mil­lion and not, say, $300m (one dol­lar per liv­ing Amer­i­can who tomor­row will be one day old­er than he or she is today)?
  • Why the main empha­sis on “pre­vent, reduce or reverse decline” and not on “devel­op, build, main­tain func­tion­al­i­ty”?

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2 Responses

  1. Anoth­er pre­lim­i­nary study for fuel to the fire.
    http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/news/20100303/can-meditation-reverse-memory-loss
    Keep up the good work

    • Thanks for link, John. Note that, despite article’s title, that study didn’t show that med­i­ta­tion “revers­es mem­o­ry loss” (which would require track­ing over time), but it did strong­ly sug­gest a real­ly short med­i­ta­tion inter­ven­tion can “enhance atten­tion and mem­o­ry func­tion­ing”. Anoth­er great tool in the toolk­it.

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