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Both Important and Urgent: Getting ready to serve the Cognitive & Brain Health needs of an Aging Population


On 8 Decem­ber 2016, Ron Riesen­bach, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of the Cana­di­an Cen­tre for Aging and Brain Health Inno­va­tion (CC-ABHI), had the unique plea­sure of pre­sent­ing to a glob­al inno­va­tion com­mu­ni­ty through the Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Con­fer­ence. The unique nature of the ful­ly on-line for­mat allowed him to share CC-ABHI’s vision and pro­gram news, as well as learn from a num­ber of oth­er speak­ers from around the world about how brain health is being rein­vent­ed in the dig­i­tal age.

It was very excit­ing to hear about all the new ideas and inno­va­tions that are being devel­oped in the brain health and aging space. New ideas about har­ness­ing dig­i­tal plat­forms to accel­er­ate R&D, dri­ving prop­er adop­tion of dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies, and devel­op­ing new ways to empow­er com­mu­ni­ties with bet­ter brain health tools and lit­er­a­cy are all at the fore­front of think­ing in this space,” said Ron. “Partic­u­lar­ly fas­ci­nat­ing was the con­ver­sa­tion regard­ing best prac­tices to fund, devel­op and com­mer­cial­ize evi­dence-based inno­va­tion, which is in line with what we’re try­ing to do here at CC-ABHI.

The urgency to devel­op inno­v­a­tive new tech­nolo­gies that will sup­port brain health is close­ly linked to the fact that a grow­ing pro­por­tion of the glob­al pop­u­la­tion is liv­ing longer than at any oth­er time in his­to­ry. As this pop­u­la­tion ages, the need to main­tain brain health and/or man­age declin­ing cog­ni­tive func­tion will have far-reach­ing impact both social­ly and eco­nom­i­cal­ly. The Unit­ed Nations Depart­ment of Eco­nom­ic and Social Affairs pro­vid­ed a num­ber of sober­ing sta­tis­tics about the aging of our glob­al pop­u­la­tion in their World Pop­u­la­tion Aging 2013 Report:

  • The glob­al share of old­er peo­ple (aged 60 years or over) increased from 9.2 per cent in 1990 to 11.7 per cent in 2013 and will con­tin­ue to grow as a pro­por­tion of the world pop­u­la­tion, reach­ing 21.1 per cent by 2050.
  • Glob­al­ly, the num­ber of old­er per­sons (aged 60 years or over) is expect­ed to more than dou­ble, from 841 mil­lion peo­ple in 2013 to more than 2 bil­lion in 2050.
  • The old­er pop­u­la­tion is itself aging. Glob­al­ly, the share of old­er per­sons aged 80 years or over (the “old­est old”) with­in the old­er pop­u­la­tion was 14 per cent in 2013 and is pro­ject­ed to reach 19 per cent in 2050. If this pro­jec­tion is real­ized, there will be 392 mil­lion per­sons aged 80 years or over by 2050, more than three times the present.

Giv­en the ongo­ing growth of old­er adults around the world it is essen­tial to accel­er­ate solu­tions in the aging and brain health sec­tor. These solu­tions will allow the senior pop­u­la­tion to age more grace­ful­ly and in the set­ting of their choice, as opposed to long-term care facil­i­ties, hos­pi­tals, or nurs­ing homes.

CC-ABHI is hap­py to have once again sup­port­ed the Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit, a gath­er­ing of great minds that share new ideas and inno­va­tions in the brain health space.

david-stoller– David Stoller par­tic­i­pat­ed at the 2016 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit on behalf of the Cana­di­an Cen­tre for Aging and Brain Health Inno­va­tion. For more infor­ma­tion on CC-ABHI fol­low them on Twit­ter @ccabhi_

–> To learn more and Ron Riesenbach’s pre­sen­ta­tion , vis­it the 2016 Sharp­Brains Vir­tu­al Sum­mit: Rein­vent­ing Brain Health in the Dig­i­tal Age (Decem­ber 6–8th, 2016).

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