November 16th, 2015
Give The Gift Of Better Brain Fitness! Our 2015 Brain Healthy Gift Guide

Where has the year gone? The holiday season is just around the corner, which means that it’s time once again for our annual Total Brain Health “Brain Healthy Gift Guide!”

We know that finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list can be difficult, so we’ve put together our 2015 Brain Healthy Gift Guide to keep your holidays stress-free. At Total Brain Health we are always on the look out for cool and fun ways keep you, your family and friends brain healthy, and what better way to celebrate the season than with a gift to boost the brainpower of those on your list? From your boss to your spouse, mom or mom-in-law, kids, grandkids and all those folks in between, each can use a way to maximize their intellectual potential.

We always have a great time putting together our Total Brain Health Brain Healthy Gift Guide and know these items are sure to tickle the neurons of those on your list.

Here’s this year’s top 10 list for brain healthy gifts, plus a few extras for good measure. We’ve covered the full range of Body, Mind, Spirit activities that are part of our Total Brain Health Blueprint, with ways of engaging that have been shown to improve everyday performance and long term brain vitality. There’s something for everyone and every price point – even some suggestions that are free! Each suggestion is linked to make your shopping even easier.

Here’s to a holiday season full of many wonderful memories!



Get Them MovingThe inventors of Spikeball, sometimes described as “volleyball’s brilliant distant cousin,” have modest goals: to build a community around the next great American sport,” and after a successful showing on Shark Tank, they may be on their way. The game involves a little yellow ball, a net that sits a few inches off the ground and two teams of two players. The objective of the game is to hit the ball across to your opponents, just like in volleyball, but with Spikeball, you need to bounce the ball on the net first, so it ricochets upwards at an opposing player. While it’s definitely a game that will keep you moving, you’ll also be working on your reaction time and strategizing. Our favorite review: “Spikeball is 90% mental, and the other half is physical.”


The Gift of Guiltless EatingThe Spiralizer is the Holy Grail for low-carb dieters, or anyone simply trying to eat healthier — a guiltless way to eat bowls of pasta! Zucchini, carrots, beets and other vegetables can be “spiralized” into linguine-like strands that are low calorie and packed with nutrients. The Spiralizer is a cool, easy-to-use tool that produces spiral cuts, shoestrings and vegetable “noodles” for adding new texture to pasta dishes, stir-fries and salads, and it’s also a great way to get your kids to eat their fruits and veggies!


Give With Their Brains In MindLight on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar, is the definitive guide to philosophy and practice of yoga from the master yogi and practitioner who believed that yoga should be accessible to all.  Iyengar, who passed away in 2014, was the founder of the style of yoga known as “Iyengar Yoga” and was considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world.  Whether a novice or a seasoned yogi, this book is perfect for anyone who is interested in the art and science of yoga.



Simon Says, “Enjoy Some Retro Fun!” Simon Carabiner. Nothing makes us happier than the re-release of this highly portable version of our favorite handheld game, Simon. Build attention, visual and auditory tracking and memory with this classic game of doing what Simon Says!



Stretch It. FlingOns. Stretch your imagination with these fun, magnetic objects. Fidgety? These nifty toys spark clearer thinking, boost creative brainstorming, improve focus and provide mental clarity. For a change of pace, fling ‘em! You’ll improve hand-eye coordination and develop visual perception skills. Fun for the whole family!


An App(le) A Day. Elevate, Apple’s 2014 App of the Year, makes online brain training feel like studying for the SATs (but in a good way), with real-world applications such as recalling conversation details, everyday math and reasoning.  The app comes with 25 sets of games and stands out from its competitors because of its great design, as well as having the best progress tracker, loads of interactivity and smart daily motivation reminders.


Holidays Are For SocializingPino’s Palette. Friends, art and wine will make you smarter! Studies have proven that social interaction is key to maintaining good mental health and warding off diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Other studies have shown that creativity, in the form of flexibility and originality, is connected to whole brain functioning and psychological development. And then there’s red wine, shown in some studies to reduce the risk of dementia. Have a party with friends at Pinot’s Palette, and while you’re having a great time, you’ll be on your way to better brain health.


Color Their World.  Adult Coloring Books. We normally associate the activity with children, but recently, studies have shown that coloring is also beneficial for adults – primarily for its distressing power. Coloring generates wellness, quietness and also stimulates brain areas related to motor skills, the senses and creativity, and this year, book stores are filled with coloring books for adults. Some of our favorites are “The Artful Mandala Coloring Book: Creative Designs for Fun and Meditation,” “Color Me Calm: 100 Coloring Templates for Meditation and Relaxation,” and “Outside the Lines: An Artists’ Coloring Book for Giant Imaginations.”


A Gift That Gives Throughout The Year.  Words To Live By 2016 Wall Calendar. Everyone can use a little motivation throughout the year, right? This calendar features the extremely popular box designs from Primitives by Kathy, and each month features a straight-forward, inspirational saying that will keep you smiling all year.  There’s also a mini version, which makes a perfect stocking-stuffer! 



The Gift of a Good BookCan’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast. Selected as one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2014, “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” is a brutally honest, touching memoir of her parents’ final years. “Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast’s memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.”


Yes, It’s A Top 10 List, But We’ve Got A Few More Great Ideas!

Give In Their Honor. The holidays are a wonderful time to give to charity. Why not make a donation in a recipient’s name to those who are in need? Among our top choices are the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, which funds early stage research in Alzheimer’s treatments.

Finally, A Brain Fitness Gift That Keeps On Giving. Why not give them the chance to keep on top of their brain fitness? Sign them up for our Total Brain Health Newsletter! They’ll get a great resource full of science updates, tips for getting brain healthy, and other information four times a year – and it’s free!

Happy shopping!

November 1st, 2015
TBH Science Update | October 2015


WHAT: Researchers in Canada found that a one-year program of resistance training (RT) slowed progression of white matter change in a sample of community-dwelling older women. Study participants who participated in weight training twice a week demonstrated significantly less increase in white matter lesions on MRI than those subjects in a once weekly RT group or in the comparison control group.

WHY IT MATTERS: Previous research has primarily supported the benefit from aerobic exercise over weight training for cognitive health. This is one of a handful of studies focusing solely on the potential benefit of RT for long-term brain health.

THE TAKEAWAY: When it comes to a brain-building way to exercise, consider adding some weights to that workout.



WHAT: A study in patients diagnosed with moderate to severe dementia found that a music therapy intervention significantly reduced behavioral symptoms. The research protocol, conducted in a nursing home population with 132 subjects, found that participating in a music therapy program three times a week over 2-weeks significantly reduced depression and agitation behaviors when compared to each subject’s symptoms prior to participation in the intervention, even up to two weeks after the completion of the music therapy protocol. 

WHY IT MATTERS: Evidence regarding the efficacy of behavioral interventions and other non-pharmacological management of challenging behaviors in dementia is greatly needed. This study demonstrates clear impact of a simple, traditional music therapy program in reducing behaviors that often contribute to a lower quality of life and caregiver challenges in working with adults affected by serious memory loss. This study is somewhat unique in its use of the subjects as their own “controls” and inclusion of patients with advanced dementia.

THE TAKEAWAY: This study demonstrates support for the efficacy of music therapy, joining other protocols that have shown the efficacy of this modality in dementia care. The bottom line? Music matters, and may be worth including in any caregiving protocol.

October 16th, 2015
Wellness Planners Take Note: Why Brain Health Is Now Essential to Marketing What You Do

We are pleased to feature this article by Melissa Engel, our COO, in this month’s newsletter.

Have you noticed that brain health is “top-of-mind” these days?  The motion picture “Still Alice” about early-onset Alzheimer’s starring Julianne Moore was a critically acclaimed success. Elevate, the brain fitness app, was voted Apple’s 2014 App of the Year.  And everybody and their mother seems to have a Lumosity account!  Sharp Brains, a leading neuro-wellness research firm, reports spending on brain fitness was at $1.3 billion worldwide in 2013 and is expected to rise to $6 billion by 2020.

The message for anyone in the wellness and lifestyle profession, including in active aging, is clear:  As consumers live longer they seek to preserve not only healthy bodies, but healthy minds as well.  The good news?  As those of you who regularly receive our TBH publications know, what we do can make a difference. Research continues to show that our brains remain plastic, or able to change, as we age. That means there are lots of ways to improve cognitive skills and keep memory sharp throughout our lives.

Anyone in active aging whose message to current and prospective clients is “we’ll keep you strong and healthy” has a great opportunity to differentiate in the marketplace by including legitimate brain health findings as part of their marketing message. Since much of what you already offer – exercise classes, intellectual enrichment programs, social activities – ties to what the science shows helps us stay sharp and lower dementia risk, why not use that brain-boosting element to for more effective promotion? Going further, most businesses focused on healthy living, especially active aging programs and services, would do well to include more tangible brain fitness programs, developed by experts, into their products and services.  This not only provides meaningful and sought-after consumer benefits, it also can also provide a competitive edge.

Here’s an example of a recent success story in utilizing brain fitness content in this way from our own company.  NuStep, a leading maker of fitness equipment for seniors, recently retained Total Brain Health to add a brain fitness dimension to a cause-related event, called The Longest Day, to raise money for The Alzheimer’s Association.  The results were a resounding success.  The program raised nearly $100,000 for the cause.  And as for the brain health dimension, survey results showed:

  • 68% of facilities agreed that that the brain fitness programming was a valuable addition to the program
  • 74% found the brain fitness activities developed by TBH easy to incorporate into their fitness program
  • 86% would like to add more brain health activities in the future
  • 62% would like to be certified in brain health training

These results suggest that every exercise program in the country could help their clients – and their business – by offering brain workouts alongside physical workouts. Active aging communities could also add brain fitness components to their activities if they don’t already.  Now imagine that healthy eating companies such as Weight Watchers, Slim Fast and Lean Cuisine added a dimension of brain health to their marketing, if not their overall programs.  Same for personal care products with, for example, brain challenges that earned reward points for their products or education about the value of healthy esteem to overall brain health. The possibilities are endless.

I’ll make a prediction:  “What’s good for the body, is good for the mind” will soon become the mantra for lifestyle and wellness marketers worldwide. Isn’t it time to incorporate brain health into your outreach?

Melissa Engel, COO

TBH Brands, LLC

September 30th, 2015
TBH Science Update | September 2015

How Your Brain is Wired May Impact How You Live: Findings from the Human Connectome Project

What: Scientists released findings suggesting a strong correlation between classically considered positive lifestyle behaviors and demographic measures (education, SES, IQ, life satisfaction) and a pattern of brain connectivity between areas of the brain typically associated with higher level aspects of human cognition, such as memory, creativity, and reasoning. The findings, released online in Nature Neuroscience this week, used data from 461 subjects participating in the Human Connectome Project, a large-scale program using imaging data to discover the neural networks that underlie brain function. Interestingly there was also an association with low activity along this particular pattern of brain connectivity and negatively considered lifestyle outcomes. While there is some suggestion that the connectome pattern associated with classically positive behavioral outcomes ressembles the “g-factor” thought to associate to general intelligence, the researchers state that the connectome more closely ressembles a general model of positive brain function that may “influence life in a complex society.”

Why It Matters: The ability of researchers to map the brain’s pathways and look at the association of those patterns (which is a reflection, if you will, of how we “think”) to behavior and other outcomes is truly on the cutting edge,.  Focus on the patterns of connections of brain activity through research like this will give us tremendous insight into not only the brain’s function but further our understanding of trauma, disease and eventually inform treatment.

The Takeaway: This study suggests that we can know image and map data to support that how we think may influence how we live.  This is “next level” research and the result of advances in imaging, data science and public support for brain mapping and additional revolutionary areas of brain science. It is a harbinger of more to come, including how we can understand these findings in relationship to policy, education, and treatment.  Also, if you are a “brain geek” this is super cool stuff.


Atrial Fibrillation in Young Older Adults Associated with Greater Risk for Dementia: Results from the Rotterdam Study

What:  Atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heart rhythm) has been previously associated with increased risk for stroke and dementia. However, longitudinal findings have not always been consistent and therefore have not always clearly informed treatment. Recently published findings suggest that younger subjects (under age 67 years) with longer duration of atrial fibrillation exposure where at significantly increased risk for dementia over time. The study, released online this month in JAMA Neurology, looked at 20 years of follow-up data from 6,514 dementia-free subjects participating in the Rotterdam Study to determine whether increased dementia risk was associated with atrial fibrillation.

Why It Matters: Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of heart arrhythmia (CDC, 2015). While a known risk factor for stroke, the implication of a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation to long-term dementia risk has been relatively unclear based on the longitudinal literature. This study, which uses a large database over a significant period of time, suggests that exposure to atrial fibrillation when we are younger, and are exposed for longer, does indeed increase our chances of developing a serious memory disorder.

The Takeaway: Anyone with atrial fibrillation should be treated to reduce stroke risk and now, perhaps in addition, dementia risk. This is especially true for those adults under 65.


September 16th, 2015
Welcome to the Brain Age!

One morning this past spring, I woke to find a flurry of posts about a dress on my Facebook page. Was it blue and black or gold and white? Overnight,­­ colleagues, friends and relatives from Australia, Belgium and even Morocco had already caught the “viral wave” now known worldwide as “the dress.” As the sun rose across the U.S. “the dress” followed, and by the next day it seemed everyone was talking about exactly how our visual perception caused us to so differently perceive information such as color.

Welcome to the Brain Age! “The dress” phenomenon is just another example or our current fascination with the brain. The brain is having its moment in history, and it is well-deserved. Thanks to many distinct yet overlapping factors, we are in the midst of a fascinating revolution in our ability to understand, influence, and change the physiology and function of our most vital organ—the brain. Among them:

  • We’re living longer and older. Economic prosperity in the developed world, along with improvements in medical care, mean that people are living approximately 22 years longer than a generation ago. Experts report that by 2047 there will be a worldwide population shift with more people over 60 than under 18, with over 2 billion over age 60 by 2050. In the U.S. we have become more and more concerned about the different ways in which aging affects us, which has made cognitive health a top priority. A 2014 AARP survey found that 93% of those asked feel that maintaining brain health is very or extremely important.
  • Age-related diseases are on the rise. The downside of living longer is that we’re at an increased risk of developing conditions that affect the function and health of our brains. The Centers for Disease Control report that one in eight adults over 60 say that they’ve experienced increasingly frequent changes in their ability to remember over the past year (Centers for Disease Control, 2013). What’s more, rates of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are on the rise. According to The Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5.3 million American adults in the United States have been diagnosed with memory impairment. By 2050, an astounding 16 million adults in this country will have the disease. Direct care costs will run $226 billion in 2015 alone, climbing to an estimated $1.1 trillion dollars by 2050 (with indirect costs increasing the economic burden of the disease significantly). For these reasons, researchers are striving to understand better how to preserve brain health and prevent dementia, as public policy makers are focusing on promoting brain healthy behaviors and providing better care for those affected by serious memory loss through programs such as the Healthy Brain Initiative and the National Alzheimer’s Plan Act.
  • Scientists are advancing their knowledge of how the brain works. Researchers are making tremendous gains in our understanding of brain function. Neuroimaging capacities through functional imaging now allow us to study the brain in vivo, greatly expanding our ability to understand how the brain works, the impact of injury, learning challenges, disease, and even behaviors. Most critically, science has shifted in the last two decades to commonly accept what was once a revolutionary notion: That the brain is plastic and capable of change through experience, producing new neurons and creating new synapses (structures that allow information to flow from one neuron to another). This has contributed to improved diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of brain-health challenges, including developmental and acquired brain-related disorders, as well as behavioral health conditions. However, none have been more dramatically impacted than our understanding of how aging affects the brain and the potential for reducing age-related changes in everyday intellectual function, as well as maintaining cognitive vitality over our lifetime. A number of government-funded research projects are advancing our knowledge of brain health, including the BRAIN Initiative in the United States and the Human Brain Project in Europe.
  • Consumers want help with their brain health. When it comes to commercial products and services, it seems the brain health obsession is everywhere. Traditional services such as business consulting and educational tutoring are rebranding around the brain and mind, and products to save our smarts abound. Folks of all ages, but especially those over 50, want to do whatever they can to keep their brains healthy and their minds sharp. While the markets for traditional brain-training programs, as well as for nutritional supplements that claim to boost cognitive health, have grown, none have matched the incredible rise of the digital brain-fitness market. New technologies, scientific advancements, and commercial opportunity have merged to give rise to a multitude of new products offering tools for assessment, training, and monitoring multiple brain health challenges, including aging. The brain-training app Elevate was recently voted 2014 App of the Year by Apple.  Sharp Brains, a market research firm specializing in the digital brain fitness space, reports that this digital brain fitness market grew to a $1 billion dollar industry in 2012, and estimates growth to over $6 billion dollars by 2020. Well-founded criticism focusing on the true value of such products from the scientific community has not stalled growth.  However, as consumers and professionals interested in providing brain health training become more savvy about the field, we are seeing growth in wellness-based brain fitness products and services that better reflect the research evidence for what best promotes staying sharp and reducing dementia risk over our lifetimes.

No matter the reason, there is no doubt that we are witnessing a tremendous shift in how we think about our brains, and that tremendous changes in the scientific landscape and resulting opportunities for consumers lay ahead. Whatever the Brain Age brings, it is exciting to imagine what is possible.

Dr. Green

August 31st, 2015

Sleep Problems May Be Early Indicator of Behavioral Health Distress in Older Adults

Margot Radding, TBH 2015 Summer Intern   Carleton College

What: A recent study by researchers in Canada observed the sleep problems encountered most often in older adults with and without anxiety or depression. Interviews that surveyed each participant’s sleep quality were given to over 2,500 subjects over 65 years of age. The results indicated that waking up frequently during the night, taking sleep medication, and lethargy during the day are associated with the distinct risk of meeting the criteria for a mood disorder. Only 4% of those without anxiety or depression struggled to stay awake during social activities, driving, or eating. This level was doubled for those with anxiety and depression. Of those without mood or anxiety disorders, 90% believed their quality of sleep was good. Conversely, more than 25% of those with depression rated their sleep as poor.

Why It Matters: Seniors suffering from mood disorders tend to self medicate to ameliorate their sleep problems. However, sleep medication is associated with the risk of suffering from a mood disorder. Trouble sleeping may be the first signs that a senior is not mentally healthy. Daytime sleepiness reduces the likeliness that seniors will engage in an active lifestyle, which may further contribute to depressed mood and anxious behaviors.

The Takeaway: Sleeping problems are part of a cycle that reduces the mental health of a senior. Low quality sleep leads to a low quality life; a non-active day leads to a sleepless night. Engaging in active programs, social groups, or exercise classes may be key to reducing depressive and anxious symptoms. In addition, professionals should be sensitive to changes in sleep patterns in their clients.


Want to Think Better? Take a Walk in the Woods

Maddie Snyder, TBH 2015 Summer Intern  Trinity College

What: A recent study out of Stanford considered the relative benefits of outdoor environments on cognition. Sixty randomly assigned subjects participated in a 50-minute walk in a natural area or an urban environment. Assessment of cognitive functioning was completed before and after the walk. Compared to the urban walk, the nature walk resulted in a significant decrease in anxiety, rumination, and increased working memory performance.

Why This Matters: These findings further the understanding of the influence of brief nature experiences on cognition. It also helped lay a foundation for future research on the mechanisms underlying these positive reactions to a walk in nature. It gives scientific evidence reassuring the health benefits of nature.

The Takeaway: This simple yet elegant study is a reminder of the value of spending time in a natural environment, only with a cognitive twist. Plan more activities for your community that offer the chance to get outside. On a personal note, consider moving your workout, lunch break or even your team meeting to the park or nearby garden. This time spent in nature not only boosts your physical health and mood, but also benefits your cognition.



July 28th, 2015

Brain Training Makes Safer Drivers: A Pilot Study

Aaron Sterling, College of Wooster

What: A recent study explored whether a computerized onboard cognitive training program was more effective in improving safe driving habits in older adults than other cognitive or driving training methods. Thirty-seven healthy elderly daily drivers were randomly assigned to one of three training groups: Training with a newly developed onboard cognitive training program, training with a similar program but on a personal computer, or training to solve a crossword puzzle. After 8 weeks of training, researchers found that those subjects trained via the onboard cognitive training program did significantly better on tests of processing speed, working memory, driving aptitude and on-road evaluations.

Why This Matters:  As the proportion of drivers over 65 increases, maintaining driver competence is fast becoming a significant public safety issue. Training programs to insure continued safe driving ability have shown promise in the past. This study, while small, suggests that there may be differential benefit depending on the program’s modality and delivery.

The Takeaway: The effectiveness of the onboard training system piloted in this study suggests that implementing a training system in the car may facilitate improved driver safety. We can probably look forward to future studies on a larger scale that consider the issue of best practices for delivering driver training in older adults.


Late Life Emotional Well-Being Linked to Early Childhood Familial Experiences

Margot Radding, Carleton College

What: A study out of the UK examined links between childhood experiences and adult well-being. 5,000 participants between the ages of 60 and 64 completed the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS), a 14-part questionnaire that indicated, for instance, how often the subject “had been feeling close to other people.” Childhood environment was also assessed including factors such as socioeconomic circumstances, childrearing, parenting, family instability, parental health and adjustment, and child health and well-being. Of the indicators, the results revealed that childrearing, parental health, and childhood illness were related to WEMWBS scores. Participants born to teenage fathers had significantly lower WEMWBS scores than those born to fathers over 20. In addition, there was a suggestion that subjects with overprotective mothers were associated with lower WEMWBS. There was no evidence that socioeconomic circumstance was related to later well-being.

Why It Matters: This study suggests that initiatives to improve the nation’s mental well-being, particularly those focused on supporting families and children, may have benefits decades afterwards. These results stress the  importance of familial stability in childhood as the key to a healthy adulthood.

The Takeaway: We often focus on the impact of socioeconomic status on our general happiness. However, as these results reveal no evidence between childhood socioeconomic circumstances and WEMWBS scores, we may need to shift our views. As the state of our mental well-being is clearly vulnerable to early experiences, we should ensure our children grow up in families equipped to raise a mentally stable child.

June 30th, 2015

More Evidence Physical Exercise May Improve Thinking in MCI

Maddie Snyder, TBH Summer Intern (Trinity College)

What: A recent study looking at the effects of aerobic training on mild cognitive impairment (MCI) found that the training was associated with improvements on cognitive testing. The subjects, 40 older individuals diagnosed with MCI (MMSE mean score of 27.4), participated in a moderately intense aerobic exercise program twice a week for twenty-four weeks. After the intervention, subjects showed significant improvement on the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale – Cognitive (ADAS-C), a global measure of cognitive performance.

Why This Matters: This study shows that aerobic training may impact cognitive performance in individuals with mild impairment. This modest but consistent intervention of twice weekly exercise over a 6 month period is a very doable schedule for many of our clients, and it is helpful to see that such a program can demonstrate significant benefit. This finding adds to the literature on the potential benefits of aerobic exercise for the cognitively challenged population.

The Takeaway: All our clients, no matter their cognitive status, can benefit from regular aerobic exercise, even if it is just two days a week. It’s a great reminder to all of us that the next time we run or swim, we are not only working out our heart and lungs, but also our brains.


The “Cocktail Party” Effect in AD | Why A Crowded Room May be Different in Dementia

Margot Radding, TBH Summer Intern (Carleton College)

What: Researchers in the UK sought to explain why individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s disease may have a harder time distinguishing sounds in a noisy environment than cognitively healthy individuals of similar age. They examined functional neuroanatomical differences between those with healthy brains and patients with Alzheimer’s disease by using auditory stimulus testing, where the participant’s name is presented in the foreground or background (using the “cocktail party” effect, where their name is part of the general babble of the conversation). fMRI studies showed that while there was no difference in the part of the brain activated in both groups for the foreground trial, the Alzheimer’s subjects demonstrated significantly enhanced activation of a different part of the brain during the background trial, suggesting a diffusion of effort to interpret the sound.

Why This Matters: The enhanced and diffuse brain activation noted during the background trial in the Alzheimer’s group suggests that the activation is compensatory, such that the subjects in this group struggled more to understand while in the cocktail party environment. Though this compensatory activation is inefficient, it is the brain’s attempt at maintaining functionality. This study, though small, offers an interesting insight into the physiology of what we may observe in AD affected individuals as they work harder to follow conversations or seem to have difficulty processing information.

The Takeaway:  Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease may have greater difficulty understanding verbal communications or taking part in conversations under conditions similar to the “cocktail party” effect, where there is a great deal of background stimulation.

June 17th, 2015
Take the Purple Pledge! Join TBH this Month in Support of Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness

The month of June marks Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s and related dementias affect millions throughout the U.S. According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2014 Facts and Figures Report, more than 5 million people currently live with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, this number is expected to skyrocket to as many as 16 million. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. and is the only cause of death among the top 10 for which there’s no cure, or even a way to prevent or slow its progression. Finally, Alzheimer’s is currently the most expensive condition in the nation, costing us $214 billion in 2014. As the numbers grow, this impact on our economy will increase as well.

Even less appreciated by many is the devastating impact Alzheimer’s has on not only those caring for someone with the disease, as well as other family, friends and extended communities. Approximately 15.5 million people care for someone with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. today. Caregivers are at increased risk for poor health, emotional distress and social isolation. For many, there is little relief over the long hours of caregiving they provide.

As experts in the field of brain health, we witness on a daily basis the tremendous toll dementia takes on those diagnosed with a memory disorder as well as those caring for them. That is why TBH is pleased to join forces with the Alzheimer’s Association and our partner, NuStep, in efforts to raise awareness and support for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

We invite you to join us as well! Here’s how:

  • Join or Donate to a “NuStepping to End Alzheimer’s Team” for The Longest Day ( This year, TBH has partnered with NuStep ( to design brain fitness programming for teams participating in The Longest Day through their NuStepping to End Alzheimer’s campaign. 76+ teams across the country will be working out with their bodies and their minds as they NuStep and take part in our “Step, Think, Give!” brain fitness program designed exclusively for NuStep’s event. You can join an existing team in your area, start a new team, or just show your support by donating to a NuStepping team or writing words of encouragement for on a team’s page.
  • Support our TBH Team! If you are unable to participate yourself but would like to share your support this month, consider supporting us! The TBH staff will be wearing purple and participating in the NuStepping to End Alzheimer’s event as our own team! We welcome you to donate to this great cause or offer us words of encouragement on our team page. 
  • Go Purple on June 21st! Join with us as we take the Purple Pledge and “go purple” for The Longest Day. We will be joining with the Alzheimer’s Association and others around the country on June 21st to raise dementia awareness and show our support for those affected, in particular those caregivers for whom every day is the longest day. 

Click here for more information about The Longest Day. To learn more about TBH’s customized brain fitness content and programming services, please contact at