Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Trend: Increased access to cognitive screenings in primary care settings serving older adults

healthcareITNov­el Ini­tia­tive Ups Cog­ni­tive Screen­ing in Geri­atric Patients (Med­scape):

A res­i­dent-run ini­tia­tive in a geri­atric clin­ic clear­ly shows that when screen­ing for cog­ni­tive impair­ment becomes a pri­or­i­ty, to screen all patients opens the door toward time­ly inter­ven­tion and opti­mized out­comes in this high-risk pop­u­la­tion Read the rest of this entry »

Centre for Brain Fitness at Baycrest: Interview with Dr. William Reichman

In April 2008, Bay­crest, a lead­ing research insti­tute focused on aging and brain func­tion, received $10-mil­lion from the Ontario Gov­ern­ment to cre­ate a ground­break­ing Cen­tre for Brain Fit­ness. Its stat­ed goal was to “devel­op and com­mer­cial­ize a range of prod­ucts designed to improve the brain health of aging Ontar­i­ans and oth­ers around the world”.

Our gov­ern­ment is proud to sup­port Bay­crest and its invalu­able work, which is already lead­ing to the dis­cov­ery of impor­tant new tools and approach­es to treat­ing brain dis­eases asso­ci­at­ed with aging,” said Min­is­ter of Research and Inno­va­tion, John Wilkin­son.

We have Baycrest’s CEO with us today, to explore why Ontario and Bay­crest chose to Bill Reichman Baycrestbecome pio­neers in this area, and dis­cuss some of the main oppor­tu­ni­ties, and chal­lenges. Dr. William E. Reich­man is Pres­i­dent and CEO of Bay­crest. Dr. Reich­man, an inter­na­tion­al­ly-known expert in geri­atric men­tal health and demen­tia, is also Pro­fes­sor of Psy­chi­a­try on the Fac­ul­ty of Med­i­cine at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to.

Alvaro Fer­nan­dez: Bill, thank you for your time. Let me start by ask­ing, giv­en that you just spoke at the recent Con­sumer Elec­tron­ic Show, what do you make of the grow­ing brain fit­ness field?

Bill Reich­man: it looks like a clas­sic exam­ple of a very promis­ing but still ear­ly stage field – a lot of oppor­tu­ni­ty and enthu­si­asm, but also a lot of prod­uct claims that are not backed by sol­id research. Think about the phys­i­cal fit­ness anal­o­gy: even today, after decades of progress, you still see peo­ple buy­ing research-based prod­ucts such as tread­mills but also all types of ran­dom machines they see on TV and have not been sub­ject to any val­i­da­tion. Sim­i­lar­ly, con­sumers today do not know what to make of grow­ing brain fit­ness claims. As anoth­er speak­er point­ed out, for the indus­try to ful­fill its promise, it will need to be care­ful with research and claims, not to end up like the nutraceu­ti­cals cat­e­go­ry.

By the way, let me rec­og­nize that the work you are doing with Sharp­Brains reports and your web­site is very impor­tant to offer qual­i­ty infor­ma­tion.

Thank you. Let’s step back for a moment. Tak­ing a, say, 10 years view, what is the main oppor­tu­ni­ty that tech­nol­o­gy-based brain fit­ness can offer to soci­ety?

First of all, let me say that I think we have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to make major progress in Brain Health in the XXI cen­tu­ry, sim­i­lar to what hap­pened with Car­dio­vas­cu­lar Health in the XX, and tech­nol­o­gy will play a cru­cial role.

Giv­en the rapid advances we are wit­ness­ing today in the research and tech­nol­o­gy are­nas, I feel con­fi­dent in say­ing that in less than 10 years we will have both valid and reli­able assess­ments of cog­ni­tive func­tions, that will be used both by Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive Health and Baby Boomers: 6 Points to Keep in Mind

BrainVery inter­est­ing col­lec­tion of recent news…let’s con­nect some dots

1) Great arti­cle titled Boom time for retirees (Finan­cial Times)

- “By 2015, boomers will have a net worth of some $26,000bn (£12,750bn, ¬17,670bn)  equiv­a­lent to a year’s gross domes­tic prod­uct for the US and euro­zone com­bined. They will con­trol a larg­er pro­por­tion of wealth, income and con­sump­tion than any oth­er gen­er­a­tion in the coun­try  the first time that con­sumers over 50 have held such sway over the world’s largest econ­o­my.”

- “But as the boomers aged by 2015 they will all be out­side the fabled under-49 cohort  cor­po­rate Amer­i­ca failed to grow old with them. Mar­ket­ing experts argue that the con­tin­ued focus of large com­pa­nies such as P&G and Gap on the youth of  “gen­er­a­tion and “gen­er­a­tion” over­looks a sim­ple sta­tis­tic: the 18–49 age group will grow by only 1m peo­ple in the next 10 years, com­pared with the 22.5m Amer­i­cans set to enter the 50-plus brack­et.”

- “The last thing the [boomer] gen­er­a­tion needs is a com­pa­ny that tells them they need tools to address their lack of dex­ter­i­ty, he says. “They don’t want geri­atric tools, they want cool stuff.

Main take-way: baby boomers are always “awake” and rein­vent­ing things…companies, adver­tis­ers, time to wake-up!

Full arti­cle: Boom time for retirees

2) The arti­cle is based upon this excel­lent McK­in­sey report Read the rest of this entry »

Growing Super Athletes (each of our students)

(Thanks for the lead, Tom!)

David Brooks writes a great col­umn (requires sub­scrip­tion) in the NYT titled A Cri­tique of Pure Rea­son. He expands the usu­al restrict­ed under­stand­ing of “edu­ca­tion” to incor­po­rate a wider sense of “learn­ing”, by dis­cussing

1. Where

  • “The cre­ative ones (politi­cians) will final­ly absorb the truth found in decades of research: the rela­tion­ships chil­dren have out­side school shape their per­for­mance inside the school.”
Each of us has one and same brain, for school (or work) and for “real” life. Labels such as “for­mal” or “infor­mal” learn­ing are quite irrel­e­vant from a neur­al devel­op­ment point of view. What hap­pens at home is as impor­tant as what hap­pens in school.
2. What
  • “They will under­stand that schools filled with stu­dents who can’t con­trol their impuls­es, who can’t focus their atten­tion and who can’t reg­u­late their emo­tions will not suc­ceed, no mat­ter how many reforms are made by gov­er­nors, super­in­ten­dents or pres­i­dents.”
Skills in that list, that usu­al­ly don’t get explic­it atten­tion, and they should, since they are both crit­i­cal and train­able: Read the rest of this entry »

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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