SharpBrains served a highly thought-provoking and informative 2011 Virtual Summit on Retooling Brain Health for the 21st Century over 3 days, March 30th — April 1st. Here is a brief distillation of the large number (40+) of presentations.
1.The range and variety of presentations left no room for doubt that the digital brain health market is concerned with much more than improving cognitive performance and preventing/treating disease. There is a need for many tools in each of the following categories: [Read more…] about 7 Key Lessons from the 2011 SharpBrains Summit: Retooling Brain Health for the 21st Century
Yesterday I had the chance to chat with Yaakov Stern, leading Cognitive Reserve researcher at Columbia University, and then with a group of 25 lifelong learners in Arizona who attended a brain fitness class (hello, Robert and friends!) based on our consumer guide The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness. On reflection, I found both conversations to be very stimulating for the same reason: they were forward-looking, focused not so much on status quo but on how emerging research, technology and trends may impact our society and lives in years to come. Let’s continue the conversation. Let me share the 10 main trends that we analyzed/ forecasted in our book, and then ask you, sharp readers, to add your own 2 cents to the discussion. [Read more…] about Top 10 Brain Training Trends — Putting our Cognitive Reserve to Work
Dr. John Docherty is an Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the Weill Medical College, Cornell University, Director of Post Graduate Education there, and Chief Medical Officer of Brain Resource. Trained as a clinical research fellow in neuropsychopharmacology at NIMH, he later returned as Chief of the Psychosocial Treatments Research Branch, responsible for all federally supported psychosocial treatment research in mental health nationwide. He oversaw the landmark National Collaborative Study of the Treatment of Depression and served as a member and Chairman for over 10 years on the NIMH and then NIDA Treatment Research IRGs. Dr. Docherty has wide experience in successfully implementing innovation in both clinical operations and managed health care. He founded Northeast Psychiatric Associates in 1985. As National Medical Director for National Medical Enterprises, he oversaw medical control and quality improvement in 74 hospitals in 34 states. He was the Executive Vice-President and Chief Medical Officer for Merit Behavioral Care, which then covered 30 million people. In 1998, he founded Comprehensive NeuroScience (CNS). Its Care Management Technologies are currently implemented in 17 state Medicaid plans. Dr Docherty has received numerous honors and awards and has authored over 100 scientific publications.
(Editor’s note: this interview with Dr. John Docherty was originally published in SharpBrains’ market report Transforming Brain Health with Digital Tools to Assess, Enhance and Treat Cognition across the Lifespan, published in July 2010)
Alvaro Fernandez: Dr. Docherty, it is a pleasure to be with you today to discuss the main theme of SharpBrains’ 2010 market report – how the convergence of scientific findings and technology platforms and tools is reshaping how as a society and as individuals we will take care of cognition and mental wellness along the lifecourse, giving birth to the emerging digital brain health and fitness market. Can you first briefly discuss your career trajectory and your current role at Brain Resource?
Dr. John Docherty: Sure. The main theme of my work since the 1960s has remained the same, “How do we put knowledge into effective use to improve mental health?” Over the last century, medicine made tremendous progress in generating scientific and clinical knowledge. Basic research discovery science and clinical treatment development science have made great progress. Within Psychiatry there was standard setting advance in the 1960’s through the NIMH-VA cooperative studies to the methodology of assessing the efficacy of psychopharmacological drugs. This work established principles adopted for the study of medications in the other areas of medicine. The study of psychotherapy, however, lagged in development. In my role of Chief of the Psychosocial Treatments Branch of the NIMH , I helped contribute to the advance of that work by supporting the efforts of an extraordinary group of individuals led by Irene Waskow who carried out the TDCRP. This study established the methodologies that made possible the effective scientific study of the efficacy of psychotherapies. The evidence base and of such treatments as CBT, DBT, Motivational Enhancement Treatment and other evidence-based psychotherapies derives directly from this study and its seminal influence. This was a contribution to the science of Clinical Treatment Development research.
I would say that my major interest, however, has been in the next step, the science of knowledge transfer. There has been and remains a long and costly (in terms particularly of unnecessary suffering) lag between the development of new knowledge and its common and effective use in practice.
In order the help the field moved forward, I have worked for the last 20 years in the development and implementation of methods to effectively transfer knowledge into practice. [Read more…] about Technology as the missing link to enable a brain-based model of brain care: interview with Dr. John Docherty
A few eternal questions:
— Is caffeine good for the brain?
— Does it boost cognitive functions?
— Does it protect against dementia?
There is little doubt that drinking that morning cup of coffee will likely increase alertness, but the main questions that research is trying to answer go beyond that. Basically: is there a sustained, lifetime, benefit or harm from drinking coffee regularly?
The answer, so far, contains good news and bad news. The good news for coffee drinkers is that most of the long-term results are directionally more positive than negative, so no clear harm seems to occur. The bad news is that it is not clear so far whether caffeine has beneficial effects on general brain functions, either short-term or long-term (aged-related decline or risks of dementia).
It is important to note that many of the studies showing an effect of coffee consumption on brain functions or risks of dementia report a correlation or association (they are not randomized clinical trials). As you know, correlation doesn’t prove causation: coffee drinkers may seem to do well in a number in these long-term studies, but there may be other reasons why coffee drinkers do better.
Q: How does caffeine affect my brain?
A: Caffeine is a stimulant.
It belongs to a chemical group called xanthine. Adenosine is a naturally occurring xanthine in the brain that slows down the activity of brain cells (neurons). To a neuron, caffeine looks like adenosine. It is therefore used by some neurons in place of adenosine. The result is that these neurons speed up instead of slowing down.
This increased neuronal activity triggers the release of the adrenaline hormone, which will affect your body [Read more…] about Does Coffee Boost Brain/ Cognitive Functions Over Time?
You may be interested in the excellent agenda the American Society on Aging has put together for health professionals on a variety of aging topics, including a full day devoted to discussing Brain Health Promotion: The Next Steps.
When are where: September 2nd-5th, in San Francisco, CA. Brain Health Promotion day is September 5th.
To check the full agenda: Click here.
To register: Register Now (early registration until August 25th).
I will be participating in three sessions. Please let me know if you are attending, we may be able to organize a SharpBrains lunch on Friday September 5th.
1) How Change Makers Like You Can Contribute to the Future of Brain Health
September 5th, 9.00–10.30 am
Neuroscience, and cognitive science in general, are coming to a fundamentally new understanding of the lifelong plasticity of the brain and what aging means. This presents tremendous opportunities, and challenges, to anyone caring for other people’s brains (on top of their own). In this session, we will provide an overview of the research and market trends that may affect brain health in the next five to ten years, will explore new roles to serve our communities coupled with the need to reinvent existing ones, and will help navigate the increased number of brain heath options today. [Read more…] about Brain Health Promotion by the American Society on Aging