Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Icon

Why “disorders of the brain” deserve at least equal attention as cardiovascular diseases and cancer

brain-femaleprofileG20 World Brain Map­ping and Ther­a­peu­tics Ini­tia­tive Part­ners with EU Human Brain Project (DD&D):

Accord­ing to the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion’s large-scale stud­ies, about a third of the adult world­wide pop­u­la­tion suf­fer from a men­tal dis­or­der such as depres­sion, anx­i­ety and schiz­o­phre­nia. If also tak­en togeth­er with neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­ders, such as demen­tia and stroke, these “dis­or­ders of the brain” account for Read the rest of this entry »

The Business and Ethics of the Brain Fitness Boom — Part 4: The Future

Build­ing Blocks for a Bet­ter Future

The best alter­na­tive for tomor­row should be bet­ter than the best alter­na­tive avail­able today. How do we get there, when “cog­ni­tion” and “brain fit­ness” remain elu­sive con­cepts in pop­u­lar cul­ture? I believe that the lack of pub­lic edu­ca­tion is the major obsta­cle that lim­its the brain fit­ness field’s poten­tial to deliv­er real-world ben­e­fits, since only informed demand will ensure the ongo­ing devel­op­ment of ratio­nal, struc­tured “rules of the road.” What could be done to address this and oth­er par­tic­u­lar obsta­cles? Read the rest of this entry »

The Business and Ethics of the Brain Fitness Boom — Part 3: The Real Need

Engag­ing peo­ple where they are in the life-course

Eighty per­cent of the 38,000 adults over age 50 who were respon­ders in the 2010 AARP Mem­ber Opin­ion Sur­vey indi­cat­ed “stay­ing men­tal­ly sharp” was their top ranked inter­est and con­cern (Dinger, 2010). What exact­ly does this phrase mean? And what role can tech­nol­o­gy play in “stay­ing men­tal­ly sharp”? Intel CEO Paul Otelli­ni has said, “You have to start by think­ing about what peo­ple want to do… and work back­ward.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Business and Ethics of the Brain Fitness Boom — Part 2: The Ethics

The ter­mi­nol­o­gy “fun­da­men­tal attri­bu­tion error” describes the ten­den­cy to over­val­ue per­son­al­i­ty-based expla­na­tions for observed human behav­iors, while under­valu­ing sit­u­a­tion­al expla­na­tions for those behav­iors.  I believe that a pri­ma­ry rea­son behind many per­ceived and real eth­i­cal chal­lenges in the brain fit­ness field is due not so much to cer­tain stake­hold­ers’ lack of per­son­al or pro­fes­sion­al ethics, but derives from the flawed soci­etal con­struct that under­pins cur­rent, rel­e­vant inno­va­tions. To improve the ethics of the brain fit­ness busi­ness and its appli­ca­tion (and empow­er con­sumers’ informed deci­sion mak­ing), there must first be agree­ment about a mean­ing­ful, appro­pri­ate way to ana­lyze and guide inno­va­tion. This is the crux of the prob­lem. The cur­rent med­ical mod­el is not up to the task at hand, since it is heav­i­ly skewed toward inva­sive drugs and devices dri­ven by dis­ease-based mod­els, and fails to lever­age Read the rest of this entry »

Alzheimer’s Early and Accurate Diagnosis: Normal Aging vs. Alzheimer’s Disease

(Edi­tor’s Note: I recent­ly came across an excel­lent book and resource, The Alzheimer’s Alzheimer's Disease Action PlanAction Plan: The Experts’ Guide to the Best Diag­no­sis and Treat­ment for Mem­o­ry Prob­lems, just released in paper­back. Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, one of the authors and lead­ing Alzheimer’s expert, kind­ly helped us cre­ate a 2‑part arti­cle series to share with Sharp­Brains read­ers advice on a very impor­tant ques­tion, “How can we help the pub­lic at large to dis­tin­guish Alzheimer’s Dis­ease from nor­mal aging — so that an inter­est in ear­ly iden­ti­fi­ca­tion does­n’t trans­late into unneed­ed wor­ries?” What fol­lows is an excerpt from the book, pages 3–8).

Jane, fifty-sev­en, man­aged a large sales force. She prid­ed her­self on being good at names, and intro­duc­tions were easy for her—until last spring when she referred to Bar­bara as Bet­ty at a meet­ing and had to cor­rect her­self. She start­ed notic­ing that her mem­o­ry wasn’t as depend­able as it once was—she had to real­ly try to remem­ber names and dates. Her moth­er had devel­oped Alzheimer’s in her late sev­en­ties, so Jane enter­tained a wide array of wor­ries: Is this just aging? Is it because of menopause? Is it ear­ly Alzheimer’s? Did her cowork­ers or fam­i­ly notice her slips? Should she ask them? Should she see a doc­tor, and if so, which doc­tor? Would she real­ly want to know if she was get­ting Alzheimer’s? Would she lose her job, health insur­ance, or friends if she did have Alzheimer’s?

As it turns out, Jane did not have Alzheimer’s. She con­sult­ed a doc­tor, who, in doc­s­peak, told her that the pas­sage of time (get­ting old­er) had tak­en a slight toll on her once-superquick mem­o­ry. She was slow­ing down a lit­tle, and if she relaxed, the name or date or oth­er bit of infor­ma­tion she need­ed would come to her soon enough. She was still good at her job and home life. She had sim­ply joined the ranks of the wor­ried well.

Nor­mal brain aging, begin­ning as ear­ly as the for­ties in some peo­ple, may include:

  • Tak­ing longer to learn or remem­ber infor­ma­tion
  • Hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ty pay­ing atten­tion or con­cen­trat­ing in the midst of dis­trac­tions
  • For­get­ting such basics as an anniver­sary or the names of friends
  • Need­ing more reminders or mem­o­ry cues, such as promi­nent appoint­ment cal­en­dars, reminder notes, a phone with a well­stocked speed dial

Although they may need some assis­tance, old­er peo­ple with­out a men­tal dis­or­der retain their abil­i­ty to do their errands, han­dle mon­ey, find their way to famil­iar areas, and behave appro­pri­ate­ly.

How does this com­pare to a per­son with Alzheimer’s? When Alzheimer’s slows the brain’s machin­ery, peo­ple begin to lose their abil­i­ty to Read the rest of this entry »

About SharpBrains

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.

Search in our archives

Follow us and Engage via…

twitter_logo_header
RSS Feed

Watch All Recordings Now (40+ Speakers, 12+ Hours)

Enter Your Email to receive Sharp­Brains free, monthly eNewslet­ter:

Join more than 50,000 Sub­scribers and stay informed and engaged.