Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


SSRI antidepressants linked to increased risk of stroke

Anti­de­pres­sants linked to risk of brain bleeds (Chica­go Tri­bune):

Peo­ple using a com­mon class of anti­de­pres­sants may have slight­ly increased odds of suf­fer­ing bleed­ing in the brain — though the risk is still very small, researchers report­ed Wednesday…The anti­de­pres­sants are known as selec­tive sero­tonin reup­take inhibitors (SSRIs), and include wide­ly used drugs like flu­ox­e­tine (Prozac), ser­tra­line (Zoloft), citalo­pram (Celexa) and parox­e­tine (Pax­il).” Read the rest of this entry »

Harnessing neuroplasticity to drive and repair brain development

Re-open­ing Win­dows: Manip­u­lat­ing Crit­i­cal Peri­ods for Brain Devel­op­ment (Cere­brum):

Whether we real­ize it or not, near­ly all of us have dreamed of enhanc­ing brain plas­tic­i­ty, or the brain’s capac­i­ty to change. This desire might become appar­ent when we vis­it a for­eign coun­try late in life and wish we could speak with the flu­en­cy of a native; when we hear an exquis­ite vio­lin per­for­mance and Read the rest of this entry »

Alzheimer’s Disease: New Survey and Research Study on Awareness, Testing and Prevention

Very inter­est­ing new data rein­forc­ing two main themes we have been ana­lyz­ing for a while:
1) We bet­ter start pay­ing seri­ous atten­tion (and R&D dol­lars) to lifestyle-based and non-inva­sive cog­ni­tive and emo­tion­al health inter­ven­tions, which are most­ly ignored in favor of inva­sive, drug-based options
2) Inter­ven­tions will need to be per­son­al­ized. The study below ana­lyzes data at the coun­try lev­el, but the same log­ic applies to the indi­vid­ual lev­el

Many fear Alzheimer’s, want to be test­ed: sur­vey (Reuters):

- “The tele­phone sur­vey of 2,678 adults aged 18 and old­er in the Unit­ed States, France, Ger­many, Spain and Poland was con­duct­ed by researchers at the Har­vard School of Pub­lic Health and Read the rest of this entry »

Virtual Reality Games Help Stroke Patients Recover Motor Functions

A new study sug­gests that vir­tu­al real­i­ty and oth­er video games involv­ing motion can enhance motor improve­ment after a stroke. The improve­ment seems to be greater than the one observed with tra­di­tion­al ther­a­py.

This result is quite promis­ing since 55 to 75% of stroke sur­vivors expe­ri­ence motor prob­lem in their arms.

The study was a meta-analy­sis that looked at 12 pre­vi­ous­ly pub­lished stud­ies, for a total of 195 patients. Most were obser­va­tion­al stud­ies in which the patients used a vari­ety of vir­tu­al (e.g., Wii) and non-vir­tu­al  (e.g., Glasstron) games dur­ing ther­a­py. In the 5 ran­dom­ized stud­ies, a group of patients was assigned to stan­dard ther­a­py and anoth­er to vir­tu­al real­i­ty ther­a­py. Patients in vir­tu­al real­i­ty ther­a­py had 4.89 times high­er chance of improve­ment in motor strength com­pared to patients in stan­dard ther­a­py.

Why would vir­tu­al real­i­ty ther­a­py be more effi­cient?

It seems that vir­tu­al real­i­ty ther­a­py stim­u­lates neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty more than stan­dard ther­a­py. Read the rest of this entry »

Cognitive Tests Help Determine who can Drive Safely after a Stroke

The same way a brain fit­ness soft­ware pro­gram can help increase dri­ving safe­ty for old­er adults, sim­ple cog­ni­tive tests may help deter­mine whether a per­son can dri­ve safe­ly after a stroke.

A recent study ana­lyzed 30 pre­vi­ous stud­ies in which the par­tic­i­pants’ dri­ving skills after a stroke were test­ed in an on-road eval­u­a­tion. 1,728 indi­vid­u­als with an aver­age age of 61 were involved. On aver­age, 9 months had passed between the stroke and the dri­ving eval­u­a­tion. Note that 54 per­cent of the par­tic­i­pants passed the on-road eval­u­a­tion.

The authors of the analy­sis looked for tests scores that could pre­dict the actu­al dri­ving eval­u­a­tion out­come. They iden­ti­fied 3 sim­ple cog­ni­tive tests that did quite well: Read the rest of this entry »

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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