As with many other physicians, recommending physical activity to patients was just a doctor chore for me – until a few years ago. That was because I myself was not very active. Over the years, as I picked up boxing and became more active, I got firsthand experience of positive impacts on my mind. I also started researching the effects of dance and movement therapies on trauma and anxiety in refugee children, and I learned a lot more about the neurobiology of exercise. [Read more…] about Promote brain plasticity and keep your mind at ease by taking your daily “exercise pill”
With COVID-19 vaccines working and restrictions lifting across the country, it’s finally time for those now vaccinated who’ve been hunkered down at home to ditch the sweatpants and reemerge from their Netflix caves. But your brain may not be so eager to dive back into your former social life. [Read more…] about The neuroscience behind why our brains will need time to adjust to ‘un-social distancing’
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved aducanumab, the first treatment that aims to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. But approval of the drug has provoked mixed reactions from the scientific community.
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by progressive memory loss, spatial disorientation and many other cognitive and behavioural disorders that ultimately lead to a state of total dependence. [Read more…] about Can the controversial FDA approval of Aduhelm backfire and delay the discovery of actual Alzheimer’s treatments? (Yes, it can)
People who retire early suffer from accelerated cognitive decline and may even encounter early onset of dementia, according to a new economic study (Note: opens PDF) I conducted with my doctoral student Alan Adelman.
To establish that finding, we examined the effects of a rural pension program China introduced in 2009 that provided people who participated with a stable income if they stopped working after the official retirement age of 60. We found that people who participated in the program and retired within one or two years experienced a cognitive decline equivalent to a drop in general intelligence of 1.7% relative to the general population. This drop is equivalent to about three IQ points and could make it harder for someone to adhere to a medication schedule or conduct financial planning. The largest negative effect was in what is called “delayed recall,” which measures a person’s ability to remember something mentioned several minutes ago. Neurological research links problems in this area to an early onset of dementia. [Read more…] about Study in China finds that retirement may accelerate cognitive decline, even for those with stable income
Every seven seconds, someone in the world is diagnosed with dementia. A typical case that I often see in my practice is as follows: A 76-year-old woman has a two-year history of progressive worsening of short-term memory and cognitive decline. She can’t recall the names of her grandchildren and is devastated by her deteriorating abilities.
However, this is not the first time in her life that she has had feelings of loss and despair. Over the past 30 years, she has intermittently struggled with depression and anxiety. Her family has many questions: Does she have dementia or Alzheimer’s? Could her depression have led to a dementia diagnosis? Is it only depression and not dementia? These are all good questions and the collective answer to them is “yes.” [Read more…] about Debate: Are depression and dementia two sides of the same coin? And, if they are, how to best approach treatment?
There are many reasons why mental wellbeing is important. Not only is it protective against physical illnesses and linked to greater productivity, but the mental wellbeing of a population is essential for a country’s sustainability, long-term growth and development.
But despite the clear benefits, governments tend to focus public spending on treating and preventing disease, and providing care for those who are ill. While this is important and should continue to be prioritised, such strategies alone won’t increase levels of mental wellbeing overall.
Not only would enhancing mental wellbeing across all segments of the population lead to better health on average, it would also be beneficial from an economic perspective. [Read more…] about Study: Higher mental wellbeing (in 2016) seen to lower healthcare costs (in 2017)