Top researchers who advised the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Biogen Inc.’s Alzheimer’s drug blasted the agency for approving it, calling the decision a “regulatory failure” that is “at odds with the evidence.” [Read more…] about Alzheimer’s & Dementia researchers challenge FDA’s approval of Aduhelm given lack of evidence for beta-amyloid as a marker
I’m a big believer in daydreaming now and then—especially when I’m out hiking. There’s something about being in nature that helps me let go of daily cares and allows my mind to wander where it will, which feels great and often jumpstarts my creativity as a writer and musician.
I admit, though, I’ve been troubled by research showing how mind-wandering could make me less productive or depressed—the last thing I need! But it turns out this gap between personal experience and science may best be explained by how researchers have lumped together different kinds of mind-wandering. Not all research has differentiated between depressive rumination (like replaying an ongoing disagreement with our spouse in our minds) and pleasant daydreaming (letting our minds wander freely). [Read more…] about Becoming better mind-wanderers to boost problem-solving and mood
Baby Boomers’ Biggest Financial Risk: Cognitive Decline (The Wall Street Journal):
For baby boomers who manage their own nest eggs, a risk is looming that has nothing to do with stock prices or interest rates.
The risk is cognitive decline, which can rob them of their judgment, often without much warning. One big mistake—or a series of smaller ones—can go unnoticed by loved ones, and potentially ravage a lifetime of hard-earned savings. [Read more…] about Debate: What is the role of financial advisors and platforms in detecting and addressing cognitive decline among older clients?
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring eleven new research findings and innovative resources for lifelong cognitive and brain health.
#2. Either way, the earlier the better, but it’s never too late: New book outlines the five lifestyle pillars to “build a better brain at any age”
#3. “If I were a cardiologist evaluating a patient’s chest pain, for instance, I would speak with the patient, but then I would listen to their heart and measure their pulse and blood pressure. I might order an electrocardiogram or a cardiac stress test, tools that weren’t available a century ago. Because I’m a psychiatrist, however, I evaluate patients in precisely the same way that my predecessors did in 1920…” Reading Our Minds: New book issues strong call to action to modernize psychiatry
#4. Very timely effort by Wellcome in the UK: Comprehensive research review identifies most promising interventions to boost workplace mental health
#5. “As we enter the second year of the pandemic, so many people are struggling and seeking mental health support. Wysa is an example of how technology is helping millions of people access everyday mental health support and self-care tools without being gated by a clinical diagnosis.” — Dr. Pankaj Jethwani, Executive Vice President at W Health Ventures. Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled chatbot Wysa raises $5.5M to broaden access to mental health support
#7. Akili Interactive Labs raises $160M in equity and debt to transform cognitive healthcare via prescription videogame treatments. A nice way to celebrate Akili’s 10th anniversary … they are targeting ADHD first (now kids, later teens and adults), to be followed by treatments for a range of cognitive disorders related to depression, Multiple Sclerosis, Autism, “Covid-Fog” and more.
#8. Study: Higher mental wellbeing (in 2016) seen to lower healthcare costs (in 2017). We still have time to invest in public mental wellbeing in 2021.
#9. Teladoc Health, having acquired Livongo and myStrength, launches integrated mental health service for the workplace. “The announcement comes as more than half of people with mental health concerns report that they do not know where to start when getting care, highlighting the importance of the digital front door myStrength Complete will provide…” This is indeed a very common pain point according to our own research, so good to see the quite comprehensive & personalized approach.
#10. Cumulus Neuroscience raises $8.3M to develop EEG-based wireless ‘Fitbit for the brain’ — Fascinating to see the major role of the Dementia Discovery Fund, in a bid to accelerate clinical trials and potential therapies.
#11. Last but not least, a very promising clinical application of psychedelics: Study finds MDMA-assisted therapy to be safe and highly effective to treat severe PTSD. “The Nature authors speculate that MDMA-assisted sessions produce a “window of tolerance,” in which patients are able to revisit traumatic memories, with less shame and anger, and without being overwhelmed by PTSD symptoms.”
Wishing you a healthy Memorial Weekend and month of June,
The SharpBrains Team
Space Between the Ears (Cerebrum):
A few short months ago, news programs around the globe showed NASA engineers and scientists celebrating as a robot named Perseverance successfully landed on the surface of Mars. The mission: capture and share images and audio that have never been seen or heard before. As impressed as most observers were of this major milestone, many couldn’t help but wonder when we might be ready to someday send humans. While it seems the stuff of science fiction and almost inconceivable, the answer—according to recent NASA planning—is before the end of the 2030s, less than two decades away. [Read more…] about Next in NASA’s path to Mars: Overcoming astronauts’ cognitive and mental health challenges
In a rapidly changing world, it’s important to be able to adapt and change rather than stubbornly adhering to old ideas and opinions. This was one of the lessons of 2020, a year that forced us to question many of our assumptions about what behaviors are safe, how work and school can be conducted, and how we connect with others.
“In a changing world, you have to be willing and able to change your mind. Otherwise, your expertise can fail, your opinions get out of date, and your ideas fall flat,” says organizational psychologist Adam Grant, author of the new book Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know.
In his book, Grant explains why it’s so important for people to be humbler about their knowledge and stay open to learning and changing their minds. The book is filled with fascinating research and guidance on becoming more flexible in our thinking, while helping others to be more open-minded, too. This skill is crucial not only for facing crises like the pandemic, but also for navigating complex social issues, making good business decisions, and more. [Read more…] about To prevent “cognitive entrenchment,” think like a scientist and be wrong often