Women’s Brain Health Initiative

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Women’s Brain Health & Why Grey Matter Now Matters

Women suffer from depression, stroke and dementia twice as much as men and an astounding 70% of new Alzheimer’s patients will be women. Yet research still focuses on men. We want to correct this research bias.

Women’s Brain Health Initiative creates education programs and funds research to combat
brain-aging diseases that affect women.

Thanks in large part to the work of the Women’s Brain Health Initiative (WBHI), science is now paying a lot of attention to women’s brain health. WBHI is a partner of the
Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration and Aging, which is an umbrella group that oversees all the brain research that is happening in Canada. Because of its significant funding clout, WBHI has been able to ensure that every participant group—in all brain research undertaken in Canada—includes enough women to matter. What do I mean by “enough women to matter”? I mean that there have to be enough women in each study to be statistically significant, so the research conclusions of the study apply to women, not just to men.

WBHI has been able to make sex & gender part of core research in Canada

And it is not that women are a priority only in the research today that is being done today. Governments come and go, and researchers’ interests shift, and those changes can also alter research priorities. But WBHI has been able to make sex and gender—and therefore women—part of the core value of all the brain research that is going on. And core values are impervious to the fickle winds of change. We may not know today why more women than men suffer from Alzheimer’s, but because of the inclusion of women as a core value in research we will know at some point in the future.

In fact, there is a lot of research going on now to discover ways to identify cognitive decline earlier in women. This includes research on issues around Alzheimer’s disease, which is now being recognized as “a woman’s disease” because so many more women than men suffer from it, as mentioned above. Drug development is another important area of research because the drugs we currently have for treating brain problems may not work as effectively in women as they do in men.

Lifestyle Choices Can Affect Brain Health

The current research also includes a focus on lifestyles choices. We know some of the things that can contribute to cognitive difficulties in old age, and many of them are things we can control. For instance, we know we can alter smoking, diet, exercise, stress, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels—all of which can have a big impact on cognitive health, or to put it another way, on cognitive decline. As with any research, there is always the possibility of unexpected results. For instance, one study showed that the most important decade of life to impact brain health through exercise is your 20s. That’s right, exercise in your 20s makes the biggest difference to your brain 50 years later! So, realistically, you are never too young to start thinking about your brain and how to keep it healthy.

WBHI Celebrates 5 years 

I have been fortunate to be a member on the board of the directors of the Women’s Brain Health Initiative founded by Lynn Posluns five years ago.  The  www.wbhi.org website has the most comprehensive information on women and brain health including research, events and healthy aging tips plus ways to get involved.  I urge you to take a few moments and visit their site.

On May 10, WBHI will be celebrating its 5th Anniversary and honouring the individuals, including myself as a Catalyst who have been involved in helping make Women’s Brains Matter.  6pm-9 pm at the Gardiner Museum. Tickets for $60 can be purchased on the WBHI site under events. 

Disclaimer

The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

Women’s Brains – Our Grey Matter, Matters!! An Update on the Women’s Brain Health Initiative

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What a year 2015 has been for the The Women’s Brain Health Initiative –(WBHI)  a leader in the fight against women’s brain aging disorders and I am proud member of the board of directors.

There have been many exciting developments at Women’s Brain Health Initiative this year. We are creating a global discussion on women’s brain health by increasing awareness in Canada and the United States. In March, we launched WBHI in New York City, which made a huge impact on awareness and support. The event was held at Donna Karan’s Urban Zen location, supported by co-hosts Martha Stewart, Trudie Style, Wendi Murdoch, Ivanka Trump, Arianna Huffington, Tamara Mellon and Barbara Walters. Yes, it was a wonderful night and an impressive group of women who came together to raise awareness about how as women we need to rethink our habits and make better long-term choices for our families and ourselves.

The exposure led to an opportunity to work with Maria Shriver, a tireless spokesperson for women’s brain health and brain aging disease prevention. And this fall, we held a similar wonderful night in Los Angeles supported by Anne Heche, Molly Sims and Camilla Belle among others. So the word is spreading, and by leveraging our amazing relationships and extending our reach to into the US, the momentum is growing everyday.

The exposure led to an opportunity to work with Maria Shriver, a tireless spokesperson for women’s brain health and brain aging disease prevention. And this fall, we held a similar wonderful night in Los Angeles supported by Anne Heche, Molly Sims and Camilla Belle among others. So the word is spreading, and by leveraging our amazing relationships and extending our reach to into the US, the momentum is growing everyday.

At the heart of this is not only to create awareness but to combat brain aging diseases that affect women by focusing on research and the role gender plays in brain health and scientific outcomes.   For the first time in Canada, for instance, sex and gender will now be taken into account in all aspects of research from the cell to lab studies.

And we are most excited about the opportunity to collaborate as The Women’s Brain Health Initiative Canada, WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s USA, Alzheimer’s Research UK and 21st Century BrainTrust® join to form the Global Alliance on Women’s Brain Health to raise awareness of women’s brain health challenges and significantly expand funding for sex-based brain health research, that benefits both men and women.

The latest research confirms dementia develops faster in women than in men, women are more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s, and not just because we live longer. What is not clear, though, is why. If scientists can figure out the mechanism that causes more Alzheimer’s disease in women, they might be able to develop treatments that halt the process. This is the type of research the Global Alliance will fund, for a healthier outcome for both men and women.

The Global Alliance on Women’s Brain Health will define a scientific agenda, drive new funding for research, and convince scientific leaders to assure the most rapid and effective scientific strategies in women’s brain health. It will also raise awareness at the public and private levels of the health, economic and social tsunami that will result without gender-sensitive focus and investment.

Medisys Health Group, Inc. is an active supporter, involved with the Women’s Brain Health Initiative organization by sponsoring speaker’s events, participating in ongoing efforts for awareness and education, as well as placing a special focus on women’s health issues.

www.womensbrainhealth.org or to join the conversation @womensbrains

#women
Disclaimer
The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts are made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.