Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Go NeuroRacer, go!

Some practitioners seem to take a perverse glee in delivering dark, hopeless news about brain injury and the effects of aging on brain function. They actually seem to like it.

After all, patients can't possibly contradict them with evidence. They are the experts, which always feels good. And there's the hidden benefit of getting you out of their office. It's good for their schedules.

But some are actually pursuing solutions to the problem. Adam Gazzaley, M.D. PhD, for one. He looked at the grim dark news the medical establishment was handing out as recently as 5 years ago. Around the time of my accident. He thought 'I wonder if we can do something about that'.

The result is a video game called NeuroRacer, whose sole purpose is to improve brain function. It's designed to improve capabilities like multitasking, sustained attention, working memory. And it seems to work! You can read about it here.

If you can spare an hour, though, treat yourself to the excellent interview on KQED Radio.



NeuroRacer was built for a research experiment. It's not available commercially (there have been thousands of requests). It still needs to make the transition from lab to real world and that will take some time. It will be a journey...

At the very end of the radio show a caller asks given the (lack of) tools we have at the moment, what are the best things we can do for our brains, now.

Here's what Dr. Gazzaley says:
I'd say physical fitness has really yielded a remarkable amount of evidence that it has a powerful effect on keeping our brains healthy. So getting out and walking, interacting with other people, and pushing your brains, challenging yourself in your daily lives, I think are really a strong approach to keeping your brain healthy.
If I could change one thing about the world, everyone would have the capability for empathy. If I could change two things, every person recovering from a brain injury would hear this advice from the first doctor they see. The first visit. All in one go, with consistency, said just like that. In my case it felt like  a 1200K getting to this point...

When it comes to pass we'll retire this blog and go to CPH and hang out in cafes. Fika time! Pastries and conversation for everyone.

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