Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Cognitive Training or Gingko Biloba to prevent cognitive decline and dementia? New comprehensive report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine clarifies priorities for public health and for future research

Evi­dence Sup­port­ing Three Inter­ven­tions That Might Slow Cog­ni­tive Decline and the Onset of Demen­tia Is Encour­ag­ing but Insuf­fi­cient to Jus­ti­fy a Pub­lic Health Cam­paign Focused on Their Adop­tion (Nation­al Acad­e­mies of Sci­ences, Engi­neer­ing, and Med­i­cine):

Cog­ni­tive train­ing, blood pres­sure man­age­ment for peo­ple with hyper­ten­sion, and increased phys­i­cal activ­i­ty all show mod­est but incon­clu­sive evi­dence that they can help pre­vent cog­ni­tive decline and demen­tia, but there is insuf­fi­cient evi­dence to sup­port a pub­lic health cam­paign encour­ag­ing their adop­tion, says a new report from the Nation­al Acad­e­mies of Sci­ences, Engi­neer­ing, and Med­i­cine. Addi­tion­al research is need­ed to fur­ther under­stand and gain con­fi­dence in their effec­tive­ness, said the com­mit­tee that con­duct­ed the study and wrote the report Read the rest of this entry »

UK study: Dementia rates significantly lower than forecasted–especially for men–highlighting the protective role of lifestyle and education

-- Incidence rate of dementia per 1,000 person years in CFAS I and CFAS II by age at baseline interview. Natural scale. Source: Study below

– Inci­dence rate of demen­tia per 1,000 per­son years in CFAS I (con­duct­ed in the 90s) and CFAS II (just fin­ished) by age at base­line inter­view. Nat­ur­al scale. Source: Study ref­er­enced below.

Drop in demen­tia rates sug­gests dis­ease can be pre­vent­ed, researchers say (The Guardian):

In the UK, demen­tia has fall­en by a fifth over the past 20 years, pos­si­bly down to lifestyle and edu­ca­tion changes, high­light­ing ben­e­fits of pre­ven­ta­tive action…

A team from three British uni­ver­si­ties con­clud­ed that as a result the num­ber of new cas­es of demen­tia is low­er than had been pre­dict­ed in the 1990s Read the rest of this entry »

Vitamin D and Cognitive Decline: What’s the Relationship?

The role of vit­a­min D in the brain appeared evi­dent in the 1980s when researchers found key pro­teins in the brain involved in vit­a­min D metab­o­lism. A lot of clin­i­cal evi­dence has accu­mu­lat­ed since then sug­gest­ing that low vit­a­min D lev­els may poten­tial­ly result in cog­ni­tive decline. Nonethe­less the results are mixed and not all pre­vi­ous stud­ies have show that low lev­els of vit­a­min D are indeed asso­ci­at­ed with cog­ni­tive decline or demen­tia.

A 2010 study eval­u­at­ed this ques­tion for the first time by fol­low­ing the same indi­vid­u­als over the years, instead of com­par­ing peo­ple with nor­mal lev­els and peo­ple with low-lev­els of vit­a­min D. This study fol­lowed 858 adults 65 years and old­er over 6‑years. Results showed an increased risk of cog­ni­tive decline in patients with vit­a­min D defi­cien­cy. Read the rest of this entry »

The Brain Fitness/ Training Market: An Executive Summary

Over the next weeks we are going to be shar­ing the Exec­u­tive Sum­ma­ry of our mar­ket report The State of the Brain Fit­ness Soft­ware Mar­ket 2008 with mem­bers and clients of sev­er­al part­ner orga­ni­za­tions (the British Colum­bia Seniors Liv­ing Asso­ci­a­tion, where I will be speak­ing this Thurs­day, Neu­rotech Reports, where I will speak on Octo­ber 24th, and the Health 2.0 con­fer­ence, where we are spon­sor­ing a pan­el on gam­ing for health), so it is only fair that we first share it with our own read­ers.

Exec­u­tive Sum­ma­ry

A spate of recent glob­al news cov­er­age on brain fit­ness and brain train­ing reflects a grow­ing inter­est in nat­ur­al, non drug-based inter­ven­tions to keep our brains sharp as we age. This inter­est is very time­ly, giv­en an aging pop­u­la­tion, increas­ing preva­lence of Alzheimer’s rates, and soar­ing health care costs in the US that place more empha­sis than ever on pre­ven­tion and lifestyle changes.

US brain fit­ness mar­ket: sig­nif­i­cant and grow­ing

We esti­mate the size of the US brain fit­ness mar­ket was $225m in 2007 – more than dou­ble what it was in 2005. Where­as K12 school sys­tems were the largest buy­ers in 2005, con­sumers were respon­si­ble for most of the growth from 2005 to 2007. We esti­mate that the con­sumer seg­ment grew from a few mil­lion in 2005 to $80m in 2007, and fore­see sig­nif­i­cant mar­ket growth dri­ven not only by con­sumers but also by health­care and insur­ance providers.

Mar­ket dynam­ics

As we speak to diverse audi­ences about this emerg­ing field around the coun­try we are fre­quent­ly asked the fol­low­ing ques­tions:

- Why are we talk­ing about the brain fit­ness field at all?

Over the past decade, teams backed by neu­ro­sci­en­tists around the world Read the rest of this entry »

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