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UT Dallas researcher secures $2.7m grant to better monitor and address TBI-related cognitive and functional deficits

-- Drs. Dan Krawczyk and Kihwan Han review MRI scans. Credit: Center for BrainHealth, Randy Anderson

– Drs. Dan Kraw­czyk and Kih­wan Han review MRI scans. Cred­it: Cen­ter for Brain­Health, Randy Ander­son

Sci­en­tist Gets Grant for Study of Vet­er­ans with Trau­mat­ic Brain Injuries (UT Dal­las release):

A researcher from the Cen­ter for Brain­Health at UT Dal­las has been award­ed a $2.7 mil­lion grant from the Depart­ment of Defense (DoD) under the Joint Warfight­er Med­ical Research Pro­gram.

The grant, award­ed to Dr. Daniel Kraw­czyk, deputy direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Brain­Health, will fund research, via a vir­tu­al tech­nol­o­gy plat­form, to improve cog­ni­tive and func­tion­al deficits for Read the rest of this entry »

Study Links Obesity and Cognitive Fitness — In Both Directions

Obe­si­ty linked to Cog­ni­tion (Health­Canal):

- “Obese peo­ple tend to per­form worse than healthy peo­ple at cog­ni­tive tasks like plan­ning ahead, a lit­er­a­ture review has found, con­clud­ing that psy­cho­log­i­cal tech­niques used to treat anorex­i­cs could help obese peo­ple too.” Read the rest of this entry »

A Brain Game to Tease your Frontal Skills

The frontal lobes of the brain (in gray here) have been com­pared to an orches­tra con­duc­tor, ­influ­enc­ing, direct­ing, and mod­er­at­ing many oth­er brain func­tions. Indeed, the frontal lobes sup­port the so-called exec­u­tive func­tions: deci­sion-mak­ing, prob­lem-solv­ing, plan­ning, inhibit­ing, as well as oth­er high-lev­el func­tions (social behav­ior, emo­tion­al con­trol, work­ing mem­o­ry, etc.). Ready for an exec­u­tive work­out? Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive Enhancement via Pharmacology AND Neuropsychology, in The New Executive Brain

(Editor’s Note: giv­en the grow­ing media atten­tion to three appar­ent­ly sep­a­rate worlds -cog­ni­tive enhance­ment via drugs, brain fit­ness train­ing soft­ware, com­put­er­ized neu­rocog­ni­tive assess­ments-, I found it refresh­ing to see our co-founder Elkhonon Gold­berg intro­duce the top­ic of cog­notrop­ic drugs with an inte­gra­tive per­spec­tive in the much updat­ed new edi­tion of his clas­sic book, now titled The New Executive Brain - By Elkhonon Goldberg The New Exec­u­tive Brain: Frontal Lobes In A Com­plex World. Below goes an excerpt).

For many neu­ropsy­chol­o­gists, like myself, sci­ence is a labor of love, but see­ing patients is bread and but­ter. Tra­di­tion­al­ly, the clin­i­cal con­tri­bu­tion of neu­ropsy­chol­o­gy has been most­ly diag­nos­tic, with pre­cious lit­tle to offer patients by way of treat­ment. Neu­ropsy­chol­o­gy is not the only clin­i­cal dis­ci­pline for years con­signed to help­less voyeurism. Every dis­ci­pline con­cerned with cog­ni­tion shares this hum­bling predica­ment. A psy­chi­a­trist treat­ing a schiz­o­phrenic patient or a depressed patient finds him- or her­self in a sim­i­lar posi­tion. There are ample phar­ma­co­log­i­cal tools to treat the patient’s psy­chosis or mood, but very few to treat the patient’s cog­ni­tion. Even though psy­chi­a­trists increas­ing­ly rec­og­nize that cog­ni­tive impair­ment is often more debil­i­tat­ing in their patients than psy­chosis or mood dis­or­der, tra­di­tion­al­ly, very lit­tle direct effort has been aimed at improv­ing cog­ni­tion.

A neu­rol­o­gist treat­ing a patient recov­er­ing from the effects of head injury does not fare much bet­ter. There are ade­quate means to con­trol the patient’s seizures but not his or her cog­ni­tive changes, despite the fact that cog­ni­tive impair­ment is usu­al­ly far more debil­i­tat­ing than an occa­sion­al seizure. Soci­ety has been so pre­oc­cu­pied with sav­ing lives, treat­ing hal­lu­ci­na­tions, con­trol­ling seizures, and lift­ing depres­sion that cog­ni­tion (mem­o­ry, atten­tion, plan­ning, prob­lem solv­ing) has been large­ly ignored. Grant­ed, var­i­ous neu­rolep­tics, anti­con­vul­sants, anti­de­pres­sants, seda­tives, and stim­u­lants do have an effect on cog­ni­tion, but it is an ancil­lary effect of a drug designed to treat some­thing else.

Alzheimer’s dis­ease and oth­er demen­tias have been society’s wake-up call. Here, in the most afflu­ent coun­try in the most afflu­ent of times, human minds were suc­cumb­ing to decay before human bod­ies, a sharp chal­lenge to the tac­it pop­u­lar belief that the “body is frail but soul is for­ev­er.” This pro­vid­ed an impe­tus for the devel­op­ment of an entire­ly new class of drugs, which can be termed famil­ial­ly as “cog­notrop­ic.” Their pri­ma­ry and explic­it pur­pose is to improve cog­ni­tion.

Since med­ical and pub­lic pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with demen­tia focus­es on mem­o­ry, most of the phar­ma­co­log­i­cal efforts have been direct­ed at improv­ing mem­o­ry. At the time of this writ­ing, a hand­ful of drugs known as “Alzheimer’s drugs” or “mem­o­ry enhancers” have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion (FDA). In real­i­ty, both des­ig­na­tions are some­what mis­lead­ing. The drugs in ques­tion are Read the rest of this entry »

Wellness Coaching for Brain Health and Fitness

We just received this quote of how a major health sys­tem is using our Brain Fit­ness Mar­ket Report:

At Sut­ter Health Part­ners we rec­og­nize the impor­tance of brain health and how much the health of the brain and the body are inter­de­pen­dent.  The mar­ket report helped us fur­ther tar­get our coach­ing efforts to inte­grate brain fit­ness and upgrade our entire coach­ing plat­form.  It is easy to read and gives you the indus­try per­spec­tive in a thor­ough yet con­cise man­ner.  I high­ly rec­om­mend it!”

– Mar­garet Sabin, CEO of Sut­ter Health Part­ners and VP, New Prod­uct Devel­op­ment, at Sut­ter Health.

You may won­der, “what is the link between  well­ness coach­ing and brain fit­ness”?

In prac­tice, good health and well­ness coach­es pro­vide excel­lent brain health advice, giv­en that the areas they focus on (nutri­tion, phys­i­cal exer­cise, stress man­age­ment) do play an impor­tant role in main­tain­ing our brains in top shape.

Addi­tion­al­ly, pio­neers  such as Sut­ter Health Part­ners are adding a Brain “lens” to their work. How?

First, by bet­ter under­stand­ing and explain­ing the brain ben­e­fits of what they already do, in order to pro­vide addi­tion­al moti­va­tion to stick with healthy behav­iors. For exam­ple, most peo­ple will be able to recite mul­ti­ple ben­e­fits of mod­er­ate car­dio­vas­cu­lar exer­cise. But how many know  that it can also con­tribute to neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis -the cre­ation of new neu­rons — in adult brains?

Sec­ond, by start­ing to offer brain fit­ness guide­lines to clients who want too go beyond cross­word puz­zles and sudoku.

I had a great train­ing ses­sion with a num­ber of Sut­ter Health coach­es last week — let me sum­ma­rize some of the main points we cov­ered. Read the rest of this entry »

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