Home Featured Post Building cognitive reserve helps delay memory and thinking decline regardless of genetic or childhood markers

Building cognitive reserve helps delay memory and thinking decline regardless of genetic or childhood markers

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Wel­come to a new edi­tion of Sharp­Brains’ e‑newsletter, fea­tur­ing time­ly brain news and a few fun brain teasers to test your per­cep­tu­al and cog­ni­tive skills.

#1. Study: Build­ing cog­ni­tive reserve helps delay mem­o­ry and think­ing decline regard­less of genet­ic or child­hood markers

While our child­hood can influ­ence our mem­o­ry and think­ing skills lat­er in life, this research under­lines the mes­sage that it’s nev­er too late to take action to sup­port cog­ni­tive health.” — Dr Sara Imari­sio, Head of Strate­gic Ini­tia­tives at Alzheimer’s Research UK

#2. Ful­ly-auto­mat­ed analy­sis of voice recordings–from neu­ropsy­cho­log­i­cal tests–found to help dif­fer­en­ti­ate nor­mal cog­ni­tion from demen­tia and mild cog­ni­tive impairment

As the researchers point out, “The pro­posed approach offers a ful­ly auto­mat­ed iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of MCI and demen­tia based on a record­ed neu­ropsy­cho­log­i­cal test, pro­vid­ing an oppor­tu­ni­ty to devel­op a remote screen­ing tool that could be adapt­ed eas­i­ly to any language”

#3. Debunk­ing the “chem­i­cal imbal­ance” the­o­ry yet not throw­ing out the anti­de­pres­sant baby with the bathwater

Depres­sion is usu­al­ly man­aged effec­tive­ly with anti­de­pres­sants or by talk­ing treat­ments, such as cog­ni­tive behav­iour ther­a­py, despite an incom­plete under­stand­ing of the con­di­tion and how these treat­ments work. We can­not know if treat­ments address the under­ly­ing prob­lem because we haven’t yet iden­ti­fied what that is. To imply that SSRI anti­de­pres­sants may not be worth­while is to mis­un­der­stand an evi­dence base that says the very opposite.”

#4. Q&A with researcher Robb Rut­ledge on men­tal health, expec­ta­tions, deci­sion-mak­ing and hol­i­day planning

Recent events have a big­ger impact on hap­pi­ness than ear­li­er events, so it can be a good strat­e­gy to save a cou­ple things that have a chance of a big pos­i­tive sur­prise for the last few days of your trip. It could be a nov­el expe­ri­ence that a lot of peo­ple like but you’re not sure what to expect … It prob­a­bly isn’t anoth­er muse­um. Just make sure it’s not some­thing that could get rained out”

#5. How much should you trust Bet­ter­Help, Talk­space, Cere­bral and oth­er men­tal health start-ups tout­ed by celebrities?

Many U.S. adults aren’t able to find help because of a short­age of ther­a­pists. Near­ly 40% are strug­gling with men­tal health or sub­stance abuse issues, accord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Prevention.
So mil­lions of peo­ple are turn­ing to online companies…”

#6. Dig­i­tal men­tal health inter­ven­tion by the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion (WHO) found to low­er anx­i­ety and depres­sion, with improve­ments main­tained at 3?month follow-up

As acknowl­edged “The main lim­i­ta­tion of the cur­rent tri­al is the high dropout rate”, but con­text is key: “Most dis­placed peo­ple with men­tal dis­or­ders in low- and mid­dle-income coun­tries do not receive effec­tive care, and their access to care has dete­ri­o­rat­ed dur­ing the Coro­n­avirus Dis­ease 2019 (COVID-19) pan­dem­ic”. — Inno­va­tion does­n’t need to be per­fect, just better/ cheaper/ more acces­si­ble than alternatives.

#7. Dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics pio­neer Akili Inter­ac­tive Labs goes pub­lic, rais­ing $150M+; trades down 49% first day

Quite dif­fi­cult mar­ket envi­ron­ment for an impor­tant evi­dence-based inno­va­tion — good news is they raised enough funds to test approach in the real world over the next 12–24 months. Let’s see!

#8. Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence (AI) meets Cog­ni­tive Behav­ioral Ther­a­py (CBT): Wysa rais­es $20M to scale up men­tal health chatbot

Typ­i­cal­ly, access to a men­tal health ser­vice is gat­ed. It is restrict­ed by some kind of diag­no­sis — say­ing only if you are severe enough you will be able to get to speak to a ther­a­pist because obvi­ous­ly ther­a­py is expen­sive and somebody’s got to pay for it” … the app offers “ear­ly engage­ment and a safe space where peo­ple can come in and anony­mous­ly just talk about what’s both­er­ing them.”

Final­ly, here are three quick brain teas­er games to test your per­cep­tu­al and cog­ni­tive skills. Wish­ing you and yours a healthy and stim­u­lat­ing month of September!





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