On building better brains at any age, treating Depression vs. Dementia, emerging neurotechnologies, psychedelics, and more

Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring eleven new research findings and innovative resources for lifelong cognitive and brain health.

#1. Debate: Are depression and dementia two sides of the same coin? And, if they are, how to best approach treatment?

#2. Either way, the earlier the better, but it’s never too late: New book outlines the five lifestyle pillars to “build a better brain at any age”

#3. “If I were a cardiologist evaluating a patient’s chest pain, for instance, I would speak with the patient, but then I would listen to their heart and measure their pulse and blood pressure. I might order an electrocardiogram or a cardiac stress test, tools that weren’t available a century ago. Because I’m a psychiatrist, however, I evaluate patients in precisely the same way that my predecessors did in 1920…” Reading Our Minds: New book issues strong call to action to modernize psychiatry

#4. Very timely effort by Wellcome in the UK: Comprehensive research review identifies most promising interventions to boost workplace mental health

#5. “As we enter the second year of the pandemic, so many people are struggling and seeking mental health support. Wysa is an example of how technology is helping millions of people access everyday mental health support and self-care tools without being gated by a clinical diagnosis.” — Dr. Pankaj Jethwani, Executive Vice President at W Health Ventures. Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled chatbot Wysa raises $5.5M to broaden access to mental health support

#6. Study: Social media and general tech engagement not found to “fry” teenagers’ brains

#7. Akili Interactive Labs raises $160M in equity and debt to transform cognitive healthcare via prescription videogame treatments. A nice way to celebrate Akili’s 10th anniversary … they are targeting ADHD first (now kids, later teens and adults), to be followed by treatments for a range of cognitive disorders related to depression, Multiple Sclerosis, Autism, “Covid-Fog” and more.

#8. Study: Higher mental wellbeing (in 2016) seen to lower healthcare costs (in 2017). We still have time to invest in public mental wellbeing in 2021.

#9. Teladoc Health, having acquired Livongo and myStrength, launches integrated mental health service for the workplace. “The announcement comes as more than half of people with mental health concerns report that they do not know where to start when getting care, highlighting the importance of the digital front door myStrength Complete will provide…” This is indeed a very common pain point according to our own research, so good to see the quite comprehensive & personalized approach.

#10. Cumulus Neuroscience raises $8.3M to develop EEG-based wireless ‘Fitbit for the brain’ — Fascinating to see the major role of the Dementia Discovery Fund, in a bid to accelerate clinical trials and potential therapies.

#11. Last but not least, a very promising clinical application of psychedelics: Study finds MDMA-assisted therapy to be safe and highly effective to treat severe PTSD. “The Nature authors speculate that MDMA-assisted sessions produce a “window of tolerance,” in which patients are able to revisit traumatic memories, with less shame and anger, and without being overwhelmed by PTSD symptoms.”

Wishing you a healthy Memorial Weekend and month of June,

The SharpBrains Team

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