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Rethinking Alzheimer’s Prevention and Treatment: The Cognitive Shop/ Brain Fitness Center

Edi­tor’s note:
Ken­neth S. Kosik, MD, and Ellen Clegg, authors of a recent book on Alzheimer’s Dis­ease pre­ven­tion and treat­ment, force­ful­ly pro­pose a new frame­work and mod­el for brain care: What about set­ting up “cog­ni­tive shops” as “a sort of one-stop shop­ping for every­thing from Alzheimer’s dis­ease pre­ven­tion to guid­ed care for mild or mod­er­ate dis­ease”. What fol­lows is the thought-pro­vok­ing con­clu­sion sec­tion from their book “The Alzheimer’s Solu­tion. How Today’s Care Is Fail­ing Mil­lions and How We Can Do Bet­ter” (repro­duced with per­mis­sion), not very dif­fer­ent from the “brain fit­ness cen­ter” mod­el we have talked about in the past.

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Chap­ter 10. CONCLUSIONS

Just as the idea of hos­pice care rev­o­lu­tion­ized death and dying in Amer­i­ca, the idea of bundling many aspects of Alzheimer’s care under one roof in a cog­ni­tive shop could change the way we approach this dire disease—one that has no cure and leaves no sur­vivors. Cer­tain­ly, the scope of the prob­lem pos­es med­ical and eco­nom­ic risks for the coun­try. These risks, and poten­tial steps for a solu­tion, were chart­ed by the bipar­ti­san Alzheimer Study Group in the spring of 2009. The report, issued by the Alzheimer Study Group co-chaired by for­mer con­gress­man Newt Gin­grich and for­mer sen­a­tor Bob Ker­rey, minces few words. Read the rest of this entry »

What about an Adult Playground?

The pos­i­tive effects of exer­cise on brain health have been demon­strat­ed in many stud­ies now. The next step may be to devel­op low-cost pro­grams in the com­mu­ni­ty that pro­vide appro­pri­ate sup­port and struc­ture for adults (espe­cial­ly old­er adults) to encour­age phys­i­cal activ­i­ty.
A great exam­ple of such pro­gram is The Adult Play­ground in Bei­jing, Chi­na (Dhand et al., 2010):

Half a foot­ball field large, this space con­sist­ed of all-weath­er stretch­ing and strength­en­ing equip­ment such as ellip­ti­cal machines, flat bench­es, mod­i­fied leg press machines, rail­ings at dif­fer­ent heights, mon­key bars, and arm and leg rota­to­ry devices. The area was teem­ing with adults, most old­er than 60 years, who were not only exer­cis­ing but also play­ing games such as Chi­nese hacky sack (a Chi­nese game from the 5th cen­tu­ry BC) and tra­di­tion­al board games.

The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has erect­ed sev­er­al out­door adult play­ground of this type across urban areas. This seems to be a great exam­ple of a low-cost, eas­i­ly acces­si­ble, solu­tion com­bin­ing phys­i­cal exer­cise with social­iza­tion as well as cog­ni­tive exer­cise.

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