Mayo Clinic scientists have developed a computational model that predicts brain age using a large collection of neuroimaging data obtained using FDG-PET (fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography) and structural MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). The deep learning-based model tests the relationship between brain age gaps in various forms of dementia, including mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and Lewy body dementia (LBD), as well as in normal brains.
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring this time eight scientific reports and industry resources plus a few fun brain teasers.
“Girls who spent less than an hour on screens and boys who spent less than 90 minutes on screens were not negatively impacted by it. But at higher amounts of screen time, their life satisfaction dropped significantly—they were less happy with their lives, and it got worse the more time they spent … (the) study also found that teens who got more regular exercise had greater life satisfaction and fewer physical complaints for both genders. Not only that, the effects were largely unrelated to how much time a teen spent on screens, so that if teens exercised more, it could potentially undo the damage to their well-being that went along with even six or eight hours of screen time.”
‘Obesity and depression are both major global health challenges, and our study provides the most robust evidence to date that higher BMI causes depression,’ said lead author Jess O’Loughlin. ‘Understanding whether physical or social factors are responsible for this relationship can help inform effective strategies to improve mental health and wellbeing.’
Let’s hope! — “I think Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) will continue to be adapted for more problems, diagnoses, and conditions. We will train many kinds of caregivers, teachers, front-line workers, police, and even politicians.”
“We discovered that the most predictive model – representing the most common mode of city navigation – was not the quickest path, but instead one that tried to minimize the angle between the direction a person is moving and the line from the person to their destination … Evolution is a story of trade-offs, not optimizations, and the cognitive load of calculating a perfect path rather than relying on the simpler pointing method might not be worth a few saved minutes. After all, early humans had to preserve brain power for dodging stampeding elephants, just like people today might need to focus on avoiding aggressive SUVs.”
“Designed with the help of Dutch academic Isabela Granic … the game is centred around an avatar who stays in bed for the day and aims to relax players by using soothing music, muted colours and self-care practices. Think meditative tasks such as word games and guided breathing exercises. There’s no way to win, compete or binge – in fact, it deliberately starts to feel boring after a few minutes of play, which disincentivizes mindless scrolling. #SelfCare was an instant hit, garnering half a million downloads in its first six weeks without any advertising…”
“What made this proof-of-principle trial successful was the discovery of a neural biomarker – a specific pattern of brain activity that indicates the onset of symptoms – and the team’s ability to customize a new DBS device to respond only when it recognizes that pattern. The device then stimulates a different area of the brain circuit, creating on-demand, immediate therapy that is unique to both the patient’s brain and the neural circuit causing her illness.”
“After initially indicating that Aduhelm could be prescribed to anyone with dementia, the Food and Drug Administration now specifies that the prescription drug be given to individuals with mild cognitive impairment or early-stage Alzheimer’s, the groups in which the medication was studied.
Yet this narrower recommendation raises questions. What does a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment mean? Is Aduhelm appropriate for all people with mild cognitive impairment, or only some? And who should decide which patients qualify for treatment: dementia specialists or primary care physicians?”
“With data breaches on the rise, the FTC is looking to make health apps more accountable for telling patients when their data has been exposed.”
Wishing you and yours a sweet Halloween and a healthy month of November,
The SharpBrains Team
The approval of a controversial new drug for Alzheimer’s disease, Aduhelm, is shining a spotlight on mild cognitive impairment — problems with memory, attention, language or other cognitive tasks that exceed changes expected with normal aging.
After initially indicating that Aduhelm could be prescribed to anyone with dementia, the Food and Drug Administration now specifies that the prescription drug be given to individuals with mild cognitive impairment or early-stage Alzheimer’s, the groups in which the medication was studied.
Yet this narrower recommendation raises questions. What does a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment mean? Is Aduhelm appropriate for all people with mild cognitive impairment, or only some? And who should decide which patients qualify for treatment: dementia specialists or primary care physicians? [Read more…] about Six guidelines to navigate the Aduhelm controversy and (hopefully) help patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment and early-stage Alzheimer’s Disease
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring this time nine scientific reports and industry developments to help promote lifelong brain and mental health.
“… venting likely doesn’t soothe anger as much as augment it. That’s because encouraging people to act out their anger makes them relive it in their bodies, strengthening the neural pathways for anger and making it easier to get angry the next time around. Studies on venting anger (without effective feedback), whether online or verbally, have also found it to be generally unhelpful … To get out of that, you can ask the person to step back and help you reframe your experience by asking, “How should I think about this differently?” or “What should I do in this situation?”
“The new company would find it pushing well beyond its current mindfulness focus to, “provide the full spectrum of proven, effective virtual support – from mindfulness and meditation, to text-based behavioral health coaching, to video-based therapy and psychiatry – for all types of patient populations.”
12 good tips for students and everyone else
Their independent review concludes that “given the lack of evidence of a robust and meaningful clinical benefit and the known safety signal, we recommend against offering this agent to patients with Alzheimer’s dementia (mild or otherwise) or mild cognitive impairment.”
A strong call to “learn how this regulatory failure occurred and to ensure that it doesn’t occur again”
Addressing the ongoing controversy about conservatorships, a USC Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry shares a great article to debunk these all-too-common myths
If you have not encountered the “Linda brain teaser” before, please give it a try! If you have, you’ll enjoy the new paper titled Tversky and Kahneman’s Cognitive Illusions: Who Can Solve Them, and Why?
Fascinating approach to gait training.
Neuralink vs. Paradromics vs. non-invasive platforms — quite a stimulating space to track
Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy back-to-school and month of September,
The SharpBrains Team
VA Health System Won’t Cover Biogen’s Alzheimer’s Drug (The Wall Street Journal):
The Department of Veterans Affairs won’t cover Biogen Inc.’s new Alzheimer’s drug, the latest rebuke of the controversial treatment since it was approved earlier this summer.
The VA decided not add the drug, called Aduhelm, to its formulary list of available medicines because of the drug’s risk of causing serious side effects and a lack of evidence that it improves cognitive function, an agency spokeswoman said. [Read more…] about Veterans Affairs won’t cover Biogen’s new “Alzheimer’s drug” given concerns over safety and lack of evidence
Biogen Inc. (Nasdaq: BIIB) today announced a new virtual research study, in collaboration with Apple, to investigate the role Apple Watch and iPhone could play in monitoring cognitive performance and screening for decline in cognitive health including mild cognitive impairment (MCI). [Read more…] about The new frontier in neurocognitive monitoring and dementia screening: the Apple Watch