How Detection and Prevention are Keys to a Healthy Brain
What’s the one thing you’re most worried about with aging? Many seniors would probably say it’s losing their marbles as they get older. Given the scientific advances in society, if we’re able to pop an Advil for a headache, it only makes sense that we can pop a pill and cure cognitive decline. Right? While brain researchers have been trying to develop drugs to slow the deterioration, they haven’t been successful, despite the ads you may have seen on TV. Since a pharmaceutical option doesn’t exist, is there a current solution that protects against cognitive decline?
Detection and Prevention Using Science
There are many different factors that go into creating a solution for cognitive decline. Yet, what is the best way to reduce the risk of decline? Early detection and prevention.
Dr. Max Cynader, the founding director of the world-class Djavad Mowafagian Center for Brain Health in British Columbia, assembled a team of experts to pilot a science-backed prevention program. First, the team analyzed DNA from participants’ blood samples to identify genetic predispositions to specific health conditions, including dementia. Next, they scanned participants’ brains using a sophisticated MRI assessment. In particular, they analyzed features, such as cortical thickness, brain volume, and network connectivity, to identify structural and functional risks for cognitive impairment. Lastly, they evaluated participants’ cognitive skills by administering a comprehensive battery of cognitive assessments. Once the data was analyzed, participants received reports on their cognitive status along with a tailored series of interventions. The team conducted follow-up assessments every 6 months for about 3 years to monitor and track participants’ progress. Based on the pilot results and those generated by other studies around the world, the team estimated that a program like Synaptitude’s brain health assessment would reduce the risk of future cognitive decline by up to 50%.
Although Dr. Cynader’s team achieved some success from the pilot program, it was not a scalable solution due to the high assessment costs. As a result, they took their learnings from the pilot and created a software version of the brain health assessment that still provides much of the same evidence-based information. Now that it is available online, the cost for the end-user is much more affordable. Another perk of running online? It’s not limited to just boomers living in British Columbia – anyone, anywhere, can complete the assessments at any time. Since moving online, what exactly does the program look like?
Discovery with Synaptitude’s Brain Health Assessment
While no MRI scans or blood samples are involved, Synaptitude is still able to assess your risk of cognitive decline online. They use evidence-based research to pinpoint the brain health risks that you can reduce through simple lifestyle changes. Through a web-based application that delivers a series of self-administered questions and tests, you can learn about risk factors that impact how your brain will age in five areas crucial to brain health.
In the Synaptitude Brain Health Assessment, you will be asked questions based on these five pillars:
Going to bed at night gives your brain a chance to clean itself and rehearse memories, which will boost your brain’s ability to learn and memorize. This assessment will look at your sleep habits and patterns to identify opportunities to optimize your rest.
Not only does physical activity keep our bodies in good shape, it also keeps our minds sharp by growing new cells. This assessment will determine your current fitness level and the type of activities you engage in to help you sustain a healthy brain.
Chronic stress can cause our brains to shrink and impact our ability to problem-solve, remember, and concentrate. Identifying stressors can help us better manage our stress. This assessment will gather information about your current thoughts, feelings, and levels of perceived stress.
As the saying goes, “you are what you eat.” What you consume every day can determine how well your brain ages. Certain foods have healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals that are good for brain health. This assessment will evaluate your food habits and what you eat regularly to see how you can incorporate healthy brain foods into your regime.
Cognition includes your ability to process information, learn, think, imagine, reason, concentrate, and remember. All of these areas are important to us older folks who fear losing any of these abilities. This assessment will examine your cognitive skills to detect which areas you need to improve to prevent further decline.
What happens next?
After completing the assessment, you will receive a brain health report. It will specifically outline areas where you are at increased and decreased brain health risk, provide a score on each of the five pillars, and describe the areas where you can improve. After reviewing your results, you can choose to join the Synaptitude Brain Fitness program, where you can set specific goals, receive coaching support and monthly cognitive evaluations, and adopt brain-healthy habits over three or 12 months to prevent further cognitive decline.
A drug to stop brain deterioration might not exist, but that doesn’t mean you can’t detect and prevent it from happening. Using Synaptitude’s Brain Health Assessment, you can discover how your current habits around sleep, exercise, stress, nutrition, and cognition affect your brain’s health to prevent further decline. Get your free assessment with Synaptitude’s Brain Health Lifestyle Assessment.