- “The Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health Initiative, led by the National Institutes of Health and the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases, has identified the top 40 barriers to better mental health around the world. Similar to past grand challenges, which [Read more…] about Thinking globally to improve mental health: New NIH initiative
The Longevity Dividend is a theory that says we hope to intervene scientifically to slow the aging process, which will also delay the onset of age-related diseases. Delaying aging just seven years would slash rates of conditions like cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease in half. That’s the longevity part.
The dividend comes from the social, economic, and health bonuses that would then be available to spend on schools, energy, jobs, infrastructure trillions of dollars that today we spend on healthcare services. In fact, at the rate we’re going, by the year 2020 one out of every $5 spent in this country will be spent on healthcare. Obviously, something has to change.
Enter the Longevity Dividend. The Longevity Dividend doesn’t suggest that we live longer; instead, it calls for living better. The idea is that if we use science to increase healthspan, not lifespan. In other words, tomorrows 50-year-old would have the health profile of a 43-year-old.
It might sound like science fiction, but, in fact, it’s quite possible. We’re already doing it in some animal models using genetic and dietary interventions, techniques related to what scientists call “the biology of aging.”
Getting there in humans, however, means embracing an entirely new approach to our thinking about disease and aging, and how we conduct scientific research into the two.
Getting Scientists’ Attention
A group of eminent researchers first proposed the Longevity Dividend in a 2006 article published in The Scientist. The authors, S. Jay Olshansky, PhD, professor of epidemiology and biostatics at the University of Illinois in Chicago, Daniel P. Perry, executive director of the Alliance for Aging Research in Washington, DC, Richard A. Miller, MD, PhD, professor of pathology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and Robert N. Butler, MD, president and CEO of the International Longevity Center in New York, intended their essay to be a “general statement to scientists about the need for a paradigm shift in the way we think about aging and disease.
The researchers also met with U.S. senators who served on the Senate committee that oversaw the budget for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “We told them we believed [Read more…] about Ever heard of the Longevity Dividend? Perhaps Gray is the New Gold
Here you have several recent articles and developments worthy of attention:
1) Boom times for brain training games (CNN)
2) Navigating the brain fitness landscape: do’s and don’ts (McKnight’s Long Term Care News)
3) USA Hockey and Intelligym (press release)
4) Brain Fitness at New York Public Library (NYPL blog)
5) McDonnell Foundation grant harnesses cognitive science to improve student learning (press release)
6) Health insurance firms offering online cognitive therapy for insomnia (Los Angeles Times)
7) HeadMinder Cognitive Stability Index: Computerized Neurocognitive … (Press release)
8) THE AGE OF MASS INTELLIGENCE (Intelligent Life)
9) Working Later in Life May Facilitate Neural Health (Cerebrum)
10) The Cool Factor: Never Let Them See You Sweat (New York Times)
Links, selected quotes and commentary: [Read more…] about Cognitive News November-December 2008
Spectacular article by Dr. Denise Park in this month’s Cerebrum:
- “Carmi Schooler at the National Institutes of Health, using a technique that allowed him to assess causal relationships, found that adults who performed intellectually challenging jobs across their life span showed more cognitive flexibility in late adulthood than those who performed less demanding jobs.”
— “Perhaps the most compelling evidence regarding the impact of novel experiences on brain volume and function comes from a study at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. Adults with a mean age of 59 spent three months learning to juggle three balls. Although only about half the participants were able to achieve competence in this complex skill, those who succeeded had increased volume in a mediotemporal area of the visual cortex as well as the nucleus accumbens and the hippocampus, suggesting that sustained novel experience can increase the sizes of neural structures. Notably, the changes in the nucleus accumbens and hippocampus were [Read more…] about Work (and Juggle) for Cognitive Health
Several recent NYT articles focus on several fascinating frontiers of brain science. We know much more about brain and mind than only 20 years ago, yet exponentially less than 20 years from now.
A few worthy explorations on mindfulness, perceptual capacities, and the power of placebo: [Read more…] about Mysteries of Brain and Mind
Ever wondered what explains the sometimes surreal, often misguided, health policies by our government? Well, it is beyond our humble brains to capture and articulate what may be going on…but we now see that lack of access to quality information is certainly not the main problem. Decision-making processes, and structural incentives, would probably merit more attention.…
I mention this because we are really impressed by the just-published 24-page special issue on Preventing Memory Loss by Congressional Quarterly Researcher, one of the main publications in Capitol Hill.
The publication is not free, but worth the price for anyone active professionally in the healthcare sector, or interested in learning about latest research and policy trends, from academics to students. You can buy Buy the Electronic PDF ($4.95) or Buy the Printed Copy ($15 — $5 discount using promotion code “L8BRAIN” = $10).
As the nation’s baby boomers age, they are increasingly worried that their memories will deteriorate — and with good reason. An estimated 10 million boomers will develop Alzheimer’s disease or another memory-destroying neurodegenerative condition in the coming years. Policy makers and health officials worry that the resulting bulge in the number of sufferers will burden the nation’s already strained health-care system. In the wake of these concerns, a vibrant brain-fitness industry is offering a variety of ways to help people keep their brains healthy, including the use of cognition-enhancing drugs and exercise. But many experts say much of what the public is being told is of limited value, at best. Intensified brain research begun years ago at the National Institutes of Health is just now beginning to produce data that scientists hope will advance efforts to prevent memory loss, but they worry that flat federal funding since 2003 may compromise the drive for solutions.