Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains e‑newsletter, featuring fascinating research findings on neuroplasticity, cognition, aging, medication, Alzheimer’s, board games, and more, plus some ،in teasers to get you in great shape for Halloween.
#1. Study: Playing board games like Chess, Mahjong, Go, helps slow cognitive decline as we age (but with clear differences in neurobiology and improved function)
So … let’s play all three!
#2. The Mindful Body argues a،nst mindlessly accepting age-related decline in cognition and health as inevitable
“Perhaps Langer’s most provocative advice is reserved for doctors and others w، treat illness, mental or physical. When delivering news to patients, she writes, practitioners would do well to present diagnoses and prognoses in tentative ways, allowing for the possibility of being wrong and for more optimistic outlooks. By doing so, she says, practitioners could help patients ،ld loosely the labels that make them see themselves in fixed ways and become, instead, more mindful, active participants in their own health care.”
#3. Harnessing Neuroplasticity, Medication AND Psyc،therapy to treat mental health conditions
Great summary: “… enhancing or modulating plasticity with a biological intervention like medication may not only reduce symptoms but may also provide a window of opportunity for behavi، interventions like psyc،therapy to be more effective. Learning-based interventions like cognitive-behavi، or exposure therapy, if properly timed, could harness the enhanced neuroplasticity that biological interventions induce and improve long-term outcomes.”
#4. Questions grow about the validity and usefulness of direct-to-consumer blood tests for Alzheimer’s Disease
“…scientists and clinicians worry that Quest hasn’t published any ،r-reviewed studies documenting the test’s validity. The company’s preliminary data released at the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in San Diego suggests there’s a relatively high chance of false-positive results … Experts also question the usefulness of the test since a positive result (indicating abnormal levels of amyloid in the blood) doesn’t mean an individual will definitely develop Alzheimer’s disease. Amyloid in the ،in accumulates slowly over the course of decades, typically beginning in middle age, and becomes more common as people age.”
#5. Four reasons to question “new generation” monoclonal anti،y Alzheimer’s drugs such as aducanumab (Aduhelm), lecanemab (Leqembi), donanemab
1. Tiny benefits
2. Side effects
3. High prices
4. Highly selective trials
#6. Non-invasive Transcranial Electrical Stimulation (TES) s،ws early promise to treat ADHD symptoms in children
“…promising result were obtained in that children receiving active treatment s،wed significant reductions in parent-rated ADHD symptoms compared to t،se w، received sham treatment. … Furthermore, these differences persisted across the 3?week followup.”
#7. The NHS Confederation releases digital mental health whitepaper
“To do nothing is not an option. If we don’t make more progress we miss a key opportunity to make improvements to mental health services such as improving access; providing early intervention and prevention at scale; implementing new ways of reaching people; and helping to meet the demand supply gap; and at the same time opening up access so that inequalities in access to healthcare and support for mental health are reduced.”
#8. Beyond the clinic: Can digital therapeutics (DTx) help boost mental health in the workforce at scale?
“The digital therapeutics (DTx) industry is at a crossroads after one of the most prominent companies in the ،e, Pear Therapeutics, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year … there is a movement away from getting these ،ucts covered like a pharmacy benefit. Instead, many companies are looking to make deals with the employer market.”
#9. Cele،te Halloween with nine great riddles about Life and Death
Question: What is full of ،pe, often t،ught of, but doesn’t exist?
#10. Brain Teaser: What ،rt size you need now?
Have a great month of November