Brain supplements that claim to boost cognitive function are increasingly popular, growing from a $4 billion industry of about 4,000 unique products to a $40 billion industry with as many as 80,000 different products on the market. [Read more…] about Study: Over-the-counter “brain enhancement” supplements in the US found both to a) contain multiple unapproved drugs and b) lack some ingredients listed on the label
Wow, that was a couple of very insightful discussions, via social media no less.
#1. The first one was about whether heads of state and candidates to high office should pass a cognitive/ mental fitness test. Click HERE to read and discuss some of the sharpest comments, such as…
- “I wonder what brought this up.”
- “Definitely. We routinely screen applicants for a wide range of jobs.”
- “Then the balance of political power would shift towards the designers of those tests.”
- “That’s what debates are for.”
- “Yes, but probably nobody would pass it.”
- “No, because if we can’t judge that for ourselves, then what business do we have voting at all?”
#2. The second debate centered on the future of mental health: In ten years, will we see DSM‑6 or Something Much Better (SMB‑1)? Would you say “Something better hopefully” or “Well considering we approach mental health from a disease model.…that’s the first problem” or “DSM is a tool, and a very useful one. As any other tool it depends on the use you make of it,” or something else.
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring as always new thinking, research and tools for lifelong brain health and mental fitness.
#4. Let’s understand how to increase resistance to tau and amyloid proteins so we can all become “super-agers.” Brain scans show lower accumulation of tau and amyloid pathology among cognitive “super-agers”
#6. Wanted: 30,000 volunteers! Large UC study to investigate when and how brain training transfers (or does not) to broader cognitive and health benefits
#7. Timely questions: “How common are neurological and psychiatric complications in patients with COVID-19? What proportion of neurological and psychiatric complications affect the (central nervous system) versus the peripheral nervous system, and are novel syndromes emerging? And who is most at risk?” Survey finds ischaemic stroke and altered mental status as most common neurological complications in severe COVID-19 cases
#8. “Our mind is one of the only things that we cannot consistently measure and quantify. And humans do remarkable things when we can measure something.” Kernel raises $53 million to ease access to rich neural data and market Neuroscience as a Service (NaaS)
#9. “We are taking proven cognitive behavioral therapies and fully automating them to deliver the care scalably and consistently as drugs.” Startup Big Health raises $39M to universalize access to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety and poor sleep
#10. Building on Bill Gates’ original goal of ‘a computer on every desk,’ perhaps it’s time for ‘real-time mental health support on every phone.’ Microsoft announces support for three innovative mental health services harnessing artificial intelligence (AI)
#11. Resonance. Empathy. Awareness. Compassion. Hope. And our favorite… Humor. Six tips to help regulate stress levels in our organizations
#12. Finally, a fun brain teaser. What do you see, rectangles or circles?
Wishing you a good and safe August,
The SharpBrains Team
Dementia: negative thinking linked with more rapid cognitive decline, study indicates
Dementia affects an estimated 54 million people worldwide. There no cure, but reports indicate that approximately a third of dementia cases may be preventable, which is why many researchers have begun to focus on identifying risk factors. This would allow for better personalised interventions that may be able to reduce risk, delay, or even prevent the onset of dementia.
Current research shows that genetics, high blood pressure, and smoking are all risk factors for developing dementia. But a lot of people don’t realise that there is also a relationship between mental ill-health and higher dementia risk too. Studies have shown that depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder are all linked to a higher risk of developing dementia in older age. Our recent study builds on this research by examining whether a style of thinking that is common to these mental health conditions is associated with indicators of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia.
People experiencing mental ill health frequently engage in a style of thinking called “Repetitive Negative Thinking”. This style of thinking involves the tendency to have negative thoughts about the future (worry) or about the past (rumination), and these thoughts can feel uncontrollable.
In 2015, I developed a hypothesis called [Read more…] about Repetitive negative thinking may increase (or perhaps be caused by) cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s pathology
“My heart sank as he floundered his way through his responses, fumbling with his notes, uncharacteristically lost for words. He looked tired and bewildered,” Ron Reagan, the son of President Ronald Reagan, wrote of his father’s performance during the first 1984 presidential debate.
At the time, there had long been rumors that Reagan was suffering from cognitive impairment — perhaps Alzheimer’s Disease — and as he struggled during the first debate against his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Walter Mondale, those concerns threatened his reelection campaign. He recovered during the second debate with a memorable quip, joking that he would not allow age to become an issue in the campaign because “I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” The audience laughed, the nation moved on… and, a decade later, Reagan announced to the world that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s [Read more…] about Should heads of state and candidates to high office pass a cognitive/ mental fitness test?
Time for a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter.
#1. First of all, it’s not all bad news this month. Study finds that moderate lifetime drinking may lead to lower Alzheimer-related beta amyloid deposits in the brain
#2. And, talk about personalized medicine! This fascinating study showing how brain imaging (fMRI) + machine learning + intensive, non-invasive neurostimulation = targeted treatments that can maximize efficacy and minimize side effects: Reinventing depression treatment via transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS)
#3. Also, not a minute too soon … Meditation apps have gone mainstream in the covid-19 era and Digital health start-ups raised a record $3.1 billion in Q1; focus will likely evolve from providers to consumers and employers
#4. Fyi, a very timely virtual event coming Tuesday April 28th, online: Explore strategies and tools to boost mental wellbeing during (and after) Covid-19
#5. Now, “While Pear has an advantage over the competition in that its products are backed by randomized clinical trials, physicians and health plans are still working out how to prescribe and pay for digital therapeutics.” The FDA clears Somryst, Pear’s digital therapeutic to treat chronic insomnia
#6. Net net, now is the time for individual and collective action to shift to a healthier “new normal” for all: 3 ways to protect your mental health during –and after– COVID-19 (in Spanish: Tres hábitos de higiene mental para vencer al COVID-19 y crear un futuro más saludable). Want more? Enjoy these Three tips for wise minds to calm coronavirus anxiety
#7. A small but important study for that hopeful near future when universities and colleges reopen their doors: Study finds mixed results of Adderall as cognitive enhancer (seems to boost emotion more than cognition)
#8. But, first things first. “The Bee Gees song “Stayin’ Alive” reached #1 on the pop charts in 1977. Maybe it was the beat, maybe it was John Travolta’s dancing. Or maybe it’s that the Gibb brothers’ central lyric is quite literally always playing in our head. Keeping us safe —that is, “stayin’ alive ”— is the primary mission of the brain”
- Exploring the human brain and how it responds to stress (1/3)
- On World Health Day 2020, let’s discuss the stress response and the General Adaptation Syndrome (2/3)
- The frontal lobes, the little brain down under and “Stayin’ Alive” (3/3)
Enough with coronavirus outbreak. Anything else going on? Yes!
#9. The Right to Personal Identity. The Right to Free Will. The Right to Mental Privacy. The Right to Equal Access to Mental Augmentation. The Right to Protection from Algorithmic Bias. Will these five NeuroRights help harness emerging neurotechnologies for the common good?
#10. “Today, the scientific investigation of transcendent experiences is, in my view, one of the most exciting frontiers in the science of well-being.” Transcending Maslow’s famous “hierarchy of needs” through Maslow’s own research on Peak Experiences
#11. You CAN have your cake and eat it too: Here’s a brain teaser to stimulate your mental imagery, spatial rotation … and appetite
#12. Question: My first thought after congratulating myself on being so clever about something? Tease your brain with these eight fun riddles…
Wishing you and yours a great month of May,
The SharpBrains Team
Apple, Eli Lilly research whether devices can detect dementia signs (Healthcare Dive):
“Dementia, which affects roughly 47 million people across the globe, costs $1 trillion worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Early testing for the condition is sporadic and, when conducted, it’s often not sensitive enough to detect early stages of mental decline, creating an opportunity for tech companies like Apple to see whether they can turn a profit.
The “rich, longitudinal information” from wearable and mobile consumer devices can be [Read more…] about Apple/ Eli Lilly’s bet: Wearable and mobile consumer devices may well help us detect cognitive impairment and dementia