- “Older adults have a 2.4‑fold increase in the rate of cognitive decline after hospitalization, an increased risk that persisted after adjustment for severity of illness and length of hospital stay, according to a new study.” [Read more…] about Should Hospitals Monitor, and Work to Maintain, Patients’ Cognitive Function?
Here you have the July edition of our monthly newsletter covering cognitive health and brain fitness topics. Please remember that you can subscribe to receive this Newsletter by email, using the box at the top of this page.
Public libraries have long offered the public more than books. And now, recent demographic and scientific trends are converging to fundamentally transform the role of libraries in our culture. You may enjoy reading this recent article I wrote for the May-June 2009 Issue of Aging Today, the bimonthly publication of the American Society on Aging: Public Libraries: Community-Based Health Clubs for the Brain.
The Big Picture
Can You Outsmart Your Genes? An Interview with Author Richard Nisbett: David DiSalvo interviews Richard Nisbett, the author of Intelligence and How to Get It: Why Schools and Cultures Count, who has emerged as a persuasive voice marshalling evidence to disprove the heredity-is-destiny argument.
Yes, You Can Build Willpower: Daniel Goleman discusses how the brain makes about 10,000 new cells every day, how they migrate to where they are needed, and how each cell can make around 10,000 connections to other brain cells. Implication? Meditate, mindfully, and build positive habits.
Bird’s Eye View of Cognitive Health Innovation: Alvaro Fernandez opened the Cognitive Health Track during the Games for Health Conference (June 11–12th, Boston) with an overview of the serious games, software and online applications that can help assess and train cognitive abilities. The presentation is available Here.
Brain Tests and Myths
The Best Memory Tests, from the Alzheimer’s Action Plan: Dr. Murali Doraiswamy discusses the Pros and Cons of the most common assessments to identify cognitive problems, including what the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) does and doesn´t, and innovative computerized neuropsychological tests.
Debunking 10 Brain Health Myths: Does your brain have a “Brain Age”? Is a Magic Pill to “prevent memory problems” right around the corner? Does “aging” equal “decline”? Check out the facts to debunk 10 common myths on brain health.
Free Webinar: On July 21st, 10am Pacific Time/ 1pm Eastern Time, Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg and Alvaro Fernandez, co-authors of The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness, will cover the main highlights from this new book and address the questions submitted by readers. You can learn more and register HERE.
Research References: This is a partial list of the scientific studies reviewed during the research phase of SharpBrains’s new book, organized by relevant chapter, for those of you who like to explore topics in depth by reading original research (perhaps PubMed should promote itself as a never ending source of mental stimulation?).
Brain Teasers on Brain Fitness: Are you ready to test your knowledge of several key brain fitness metrics? For example: How many soldiers in the US Army have gone through computerized cognitive testing before being deployed, and why?
Finally, a request: if you have already read The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness, and could write a brief customer review at Amazon.com, we would surely appreciate! The Amazon.com book page is Here.
Best regards, and enjoy the month
(Editor’s Note: I recently came across an excellent book and resource, The Alzheimer’s Action Plan: The Experts’ Guide to the Best Diagnosis and Treatment for Memory Problems, recently 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 72–78, discussing the Pros and Cons of the most common assessments).
While no single test (other than a brain biopsy, which is a very invasive and risky procedure) can conclusively prove that a person has Alzheimer’s, many tests can give us a good idea. A list of all the tests that help us assess memory and thinking problems appears at the end of this chapter. Meanwhile, let’s take a good look at the whys and hows of a thorough memory assessment.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE AN EXTRA TEST CAN MAKE
To understand why getting tested (and retested as symptoms change and the disease progresses) is important, check out the experience of Katherine, who went to the doctor complaining of a memory slowdown. She took five of the most important neuropsychological tests, which assess brain function without actually physically looking at the brain. Then she underwent brain scans, a cardiovascular workup, and blood tests to see what else was going on that might be undermining her mental function. [Read more…] about The Best Memory Tests: Mini-Mental and Beyond (Alzheimer’s Action Plan)