BlogWhat's On Our Mind
This final post on information we can all benefit from today out of the recent Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, highlights the relationship between social interaction (the face to face kind not the Facebook kind) and long term health including preventative effects against dementia. The previous posts have focused on the impact of regular exercise, routine sleep and a healthy diet on cognition across the life span. Recent findings from clinical trials show that while most people think dementia isn’t preventable, in fact what you do day-to-day can actually impact your brain health in the long run.
A growing body of scientific evidence supports the relationship between diet and long-term cognitive health. This third article in a four part series on take aways that you can benefit from today, out of the annual AAIC meeting will highlight the findings on diet and cognition. The prior two posts explored the relationship between sleep and cognition and exercise and your brain health and next week we will explore how socialization (the face to face kind not the Facebook kind) is fundamental to long term cognitive health.
A growing body of research in both mice and humans says yes.
In my first article in a four-part series on cognitive health based on key learnings from attending the recent Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, the world’s largest gathering of researchers from around the world focused on Alzheimer’s and other dementias — I talked about how increased exercise can improve brain health.
As a clinical psychologist and neuroscientist, I recently attended the world’s largest Alzheimer’s scientific conference, the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2017, earlier this week in London.
As I walked around the poster presentations and listened to the different scientific sessions, I noticed an increasing number of studies that suggest exercise can boost brain function and protect against dementia. The Washington Post published an article recently about another new study that showed how interrupted sleep may lead to Alzheimer’s disease, and sleep will be the second topic in this four part series of articles about what everyone can do to protect against Dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease.
In the past few years, we have witnessed a slew of scandals from the digital health and life sciences start-up community. From the damning WSJ investigation into the scandal at the once lauded biotech start-up Theranos, to smartphone apps that claim to help conditions from addiction to schizophrenia. It all sounds like practicing medicine without a license when there are no clinicians in leadership providing or the frontline teleheath care to the patients using the app or technology.
As a clinical behavioral psychologist by training, I am constantly asked by investors and consumers what my “check-list” is and what I look for – in a digital health start-up. Here is my checklist (in no particular order):
Recently, the news has been filled with more headlines about #SiliconValley tech executives and CEOs behaving badly and promoting “bro” culture. The reasons the last vestiges of gender discrimination are so difficult to overcome is that these implicit biases and barriers are so deeply rooted in how we process information and make sense of the world. We need to raise awareness of implicit bias in the workplace and confront it.
Late last month, Apple announced CareKit, a new tool that gives anyone with an iPhone the power to take an active role in managing their own health. Apple now makes it easy for patients to keep up with care plans, track symptoms and medications, and share that information with a care team — all from a mobile device.
The first apps available on Apple’s CareKit and ResearchKit focus almost exclusively on chronic diseases such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and Parkinson’s disease — and for good reason. Diabetes represents a $245 billion health care cost annually in the U.S. alone, with the bulk of that figure driven by direct costs from poor management of the disease. The ability to predict which patients should be directed into different levels of care, such as supported management versus self-management, is critical to controlling cost and improving patient outcomes.
Beyond Four Walls
HIMSS16 wrapped up just last week, and while this story began years ago, the genesis for this article happened on a convention floor with 50,000 people, all of them in the health field. We attended HIMSS16 to demo our first of its kind, mobile, clinically valid, cognitive assessment platform for Savonix. As provider after provider stopped by to try it out for themselves, reliably their reaction fell into one of two camps: 1) this is great putting power in the hand of the patient or 2) you cannot share cognitive test results with patients at home! The thing is, less than a decade ago, I would have agreed with those in camp number 2. Now my reaction is – why not? A person can take an HIV test at home, a pregnancy test, a blood glucose test. Why not a cognitive test? Knowledge is power and patients cannot take control of their own health unless they have the information.
What is the best way to meet today’s students “in the middle?” Kids today are more tech-savvy than ever before, and teachers are struggling to make sure that every student is educated according to their needs. From elementary to secondary school, students learn at different rates and have varying needs of social and educational interaction. How do we use cognitive data and blended learning to the students’ benefit? As a recent New York Times article pointed out, the need to understand students’ emotional function, social skills and cognitive abilities are at the heart of creating optimal learning environments.
Everyday we are inundated with suggestions and ideas for how we can ensure a happy and healthy lifestyle. Coincidently, at almost every panel I participate in I’m asked the question, “As a busy CEO of a growing startup, how do I still manage to find time for my family and friends?” Randi Zuckerberg has even jumped in on this topic of conversation, writing to tell entrepreneurs that out of the 5 main priorities in life – work, sleep, family, friends and fitness (let’s reframe fitness as health from now on) – we have to pick 3 because we cannot have all 5. To a certain extent I agree with her, yet I also have to beg to differ because I believe this “work all the time” mantra we cultivate in Silicon Valley is simply unsustainable and in the end her argument represents a false choice scenario.