Brain Training Improves Social Determinants of Health

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 31, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Leaders in gerontology and neuroscience will present study results on Tuesday, at the 7th Annual Medicare Advantage Leadership Innovation Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. According to Posit Science, the maker of the BrainHQ brain fitness program, that presentation will highlight the role of brain training in addressing non-medical factors that lead to better health.

In recent years, Medicare Advantage (MA) plans have improved their offerings of supplemental benefits to address so-called “Social Determinants of Health” (SDoH) – non-medical factors and conditions (e.g., access to nutrition, transportation, safety, and social engagement) which have been shown to impact health outcomes. MA plans have added a variety of Supplemental Benefits to provide Medicare members with SDoH services (e.g., meals, transportation to appointments, home safety risk reductions, and socialization opportunities).

Dr. Henry Mahncke, a UCSF-trained neuroscientist and the CEO of Posit Science, will co-present with Dr. Karlene Ball, a Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Center for Research on Applied Gerontology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Both are pioneers in the field of brain training, and each has led numerous studies.

Dr. Ball is one of the principal investigators behind the 2800-person NIH-funded ACTIVE Trial and also is a co-inventor of the computerized speed-of-processing training used as one of the intervention arms in that prolific study, which has turned out scores of papers as part of ongoing research, following the participants for more than 20 years as they’ve aged. The other two interventions used in that study consisted of classes in techniques to improve memory and reasoning. The fourth arm was a control group.

Dr. Ball will summarize recent reports on SDoH from the ACTIVE Trial. She plans to highlight how speed-of-processing computerized brain training has led to better outcomes in cognitive function (e.g., speed, attention, memory, and decision-making, as well as lower dementia incidence), and in Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, essential to maintaining independence (e.g., grocery shopping, preparing meals, getting around safely by car or public transit, managing medicines, household maintenance, and paying bills).

Dr. Mahncke, who leads the company that has commercialized and expanded upon the speed-of-processing training, will address studies of BrainHQ, showing gains in self-care management and maintenance, medication adherence, health-related quality of life, confidence and control, listening, seeing, and condition-specific health outcomes, as well as reducing healthcare costs, depressive symptoms, and anxiety, stress, and fatigue.

Benefits have been shown in hundreds of studies of BrainHQ, including significant gains in standard measures of cognition (attention, processing speed, memory, and decision making), in standard measures of quality of life (depressive symptoms, confidence and control, safety, health-related quality of life) and in real-world measures (health outcomes, balance, driving, hearing, and work). BrainHQ is now offered, without charge, as a benefit by leading national and 5-star Medicare Advantage plans and by leading medical centers, clinics, and communities. Consumers can try a BrainHQ exercise for free daily at


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