“Using new methodology, scientists calculate that approximately 6 million American adults have Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment, which can sometimes be a precursor to the disease. The estimate, funded by the National Institutes of Health, also forecasts that these numbers will more than double to 15 million by 2060, as the population ages [Read more…] about Study: 46.7 million Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease brain pathology today, so it’s urgent to prevent or at least delay progression to clinical disease
Dr. Whitehouse will discuss why and how we need to revamp Alzheimer’s Diagnosis, Prevention and Care, at the upcoming 2012 SharpBrains Virtual Summit (June 7–14th, 2012), building on this quote he gave to an ABC News story 2 days ago:
“The field of Alzheimer’s research is getting a little distorted. There’s a constant need to focus on magic bullets and single molecules,” Whitehouse told ABC News. “It really requires a public health focus. The most effective interventions are not going to be drugs.” [Read more…] about Dr. Peter Whitehouse on Revamping Alzheimer’s Diagnosis, Prevention and Care
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
Hiroshi Komiyama, President of the University of Tokyo and Chairperson of the Global Agenda Council on the Challenges of Gerontology I am a member of, just provided council members with a brief update of his participation in the recent World Economic Forum.
Part of the proceedings are public — you may enjoy reading this panel write-up of the session Healthcare under Stress:
- “Japan has the world’s oldest population. Health and longevity create wealth and, thus, “health begets wealth”. It is documented that nations that develop a five-year life expectancy advantage also create a larger GDP. A healthy childhood and adulthood contribute to a more productive old age. New markets and industries are arising – “silver industries” such as financial services, health, housing and hospitality geared to senior citizens. Longevity needs to be linked to health – including cognitive health – and lifestyle choices play a major role in health.”
- “The public health focus is shifting from infections to cardiovascular diseases. Complex new models are necessary to develop better responses and improved health – with the primary emphasis on “really good primary healthcare” and prevention – to lower costs. Prevention increases the healthy years of a person’s life. The challenge is creating the incentive for prevention: how can people be encouraged to make healthy choices? Mobilized populations can drive the change. Finland has an 80% lower incidence of heart disease than 30 years ago due to such incentives.”
Full write-up: Healthcare under Stress
A roundup of several excellent articles this week:
Keeping Your Brain Fit (US News and World Report)
- “In a study of more than 2,800 people ages 65 or older, Harvard researchers found that those with at least five social ties—church groups, social groups, regular visits, or phone calls with family and friends—were less likely to suffer cognitive decline than those with no social ties.”
- “The working hypothesis is that it has something to do with stress management,” says Marilyn Albert, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins and codirector of the Alzheimer’s research center there. In animal studies, a prolonged elevation in stress hormones damages the hippocampus. Social engagement appears to boost people’s sense of control, which affects their stress level. Creative arts seem to be a highly promising way to increase social engagement. George Washington University’s Cohen has found that elderly people who joined choirs also stepped up their other activities during a 12-month period, while a nonsinging control group dropped out of some activities. The singers also reported fewer health problems, while the control group reported an increase.”
We Never Forget Anything (Anymore) (Prevention Magazine)
- “Processing new information when we’re anxious is tough; the stress itself is a distraction. Fernandez taught Laurie this relaxation trick: [Read more…] about Stress Management as Key Factor For Cognitive Fitness, and More News
The Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) just announced the top ten emerging areas of neuroscience that will “impact the future of treatments for brain and nervous system”: Top 10 Neuroscience Trends in 2007.
It provides superb food for thought. And some of them will sound familiar to readers of this blog:
* 6. Normal brain aging gets more attention: More research and development is being focused on thinking impairments that only partially limit independence and quality of life for senior citizens, adults and school aged children. Neurosoftware will penetrate nursing homes and schools, as brain fitness software becomes new first-line treatment strategy.
* 8. Prevention evidence grows: You are what you eat; smoking is as bad as we thought; and new studies reveal the effects of environmental substances on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and others.
* 9. Emotional disorders research advances: New research continues to link neurogenesis to treatment of depression. A better understanding of PTSD should lead to new treatment regimes.
Want to read probably the best overview of the neurosoftware/ brain fitness software market? Check this article, fresh from the oven: Thank Boomers for Buffing Up Brain Market.
To clarify the numbers mentioned: we project $225m in the US alone (growing from $70m in 2003), broken-down as follows: $80m for the Consumer segment, $60m in K12 Education, $50m in Clinical applications, and $35m in the Corporate segment. The Consumer segment, with a healthy aging value proposition, is the most recent one but the most rapidly growing.