Even with normal healthy aging, we can expect minor but noticeable declines in several types of cognitive function.
With advances in public health and modern medicine, we have enjoyed tremendous increases in human longevity; in fact, there has been a greater than 30-year gain in life expectancy over the last century. At this point, the average life expectancy in the United States is nearly 79 years. However, as a downside to this longevity bonus, we have experienced increases in chronic disease and cognitive decline—for which age is a significant risk factor. The aim of our Healthy Aging Program is to help you enjoy this greater longevity by taking a proactive approach to improving overall health, identifying cognitive changes, and intervening to optimize cognitive function and maximize quality of life.
We used to think that aging led to widespread death of brain cells (neurons) and that, once lost, they could not be regenerated. But recent research on “neuroplasticity” suggests that this is not the case. In fact, the number of neurons in our brains is stable with healthy brain aging, and we now know that new brain cells can even be formed (neurogenesis) in memory centers of the brain well into old age.
More than half of all middle-aged and older adults are concerned about how to slow cognitive decline during the healthy aging process. They report problems with memory loss including forgetting the name of someone they’ve just met or not remembering the details of recent events such as why they walked into a room or where they just parked a car.
These aging cognitive decline shifts are normal and expected during the healthy aging process. As we age, brain functions decline at a rate of about 10% per decade. While declines are usual and noticeable, they do not impair daily function.
Additionally, other cognitive domains decline mildly in older adults. These include:
- Visual-spatial function
- Aspects of frontal function (i.e., executive planning)
- Processing speed
Happily in contrast, recognition of known facts and people remains stable, and wisdom (the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment) increases with healthy aging.
Through our memory evaluation process, we can confidently identify whether a patient’s brain is experiencing normal changes associated with healthy aging versus neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s disease, cerebrovascular disease, or other more rare causes of dementia such as Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body dementia or Frontotemporal dementia.
We complete a comprehensive history and information assessment, including getting inputs from patient, family, friends, caregivers, and previous healthcare providers. We offer tests of neuropsychological function, quantitative EEG brain mapping, evoked response potential (ERP) testing, and brain imaging (volumetric magnetic resonance imaging).
When indicated, we include more involved biomarker testing such as cerebrospinal fluid sampling via lumbar puncture and/or positron emission tomography (PET) using specific radio-biomarkers such as glucose, amyloid, or dopamine.
The birth of new brain cells can be influenced and increased by physical activity and cognitive stimulating activities. Both mental and physical activities strengthen the synaptic connections between neurons and the ability to remodel connections between cells. It is these connections between neurons, and the ability to remodel them, that decline with aging. With the adoption of positive a lifestyle, we can slow down cognitive decline and improve the quality of healthy aging.
Our experts can help keep the brain healthy with aging. We constantly review, discuss, and promote new findings in the growing fields of lifestyle and functional medicine related to healthy brain aging.
We prioritize adoption of healthy aging approaches during both our initial brain health assessment and at follow-up visits through a combination of medical optimization and healthy brain lifestyle recommendations. Patients experience positive results with our integrative program that promotes well-being and vitality across the lifespan. Our recommendations to support brain recovery and improve brain health include:
- Precision and holistic assessment
- Neurocognitive testing
- Integrative and functional medicine treatments
- Psychiatric support
- Brain health diets and nutritional optimization (Mediterranean-style or MIND diet)
- Physical exercise for brain health
- Cognitive stimulation training
- Brain strengthening exercises
- Meditation for stress reduction
- Mindful physical activities (yoga, tai chi, qigong)
- Reminiscence therapy
- Natural brain supplements
- Healthy lifestyle
- Multidisciplinary assessment across PNI’s centers of excellence
Executive Brain Health
Our specialists understand the unique challenges, stresses and pressure that executives deal with on a daily basis, and the executive brain health program provides a comfortable and safe environment for individuals to discuss their health and lifestyle. With an emphasis on disease prevention, risk mitigation and exercise as key components to a healthy lifestyle, our specialists provide a complete brain health evaluation along with detailed recommendations for physical, psychological and cognitive health.
Integrated and comprehensive consultations provide access to multidisciplinary specialists and services geared towards both men and women who are looking for effective, customized care.
Human Optimization and High Performance
We offer unique services for human optimization and high performance outcomes working to sharpen physical and mental/cognitive capacity. These services are customized based on the individual’s needs, such as your work environment, whether preparing for a competition, or simply looking to holistically assess and promote brain health in a clinical fashion.
The Pacific Brain Health Center’s Human Optimization Program (HOP) was developed by our experts and is based upon their cumulative clinical knowledge and experience in brain health, as well as published objective research data. A consultation with our group can include:
- Brain Mapping: A comprehensive structural and functional brain analysis (such as MRI, qEEG, neurocognitive testing, and/or questionnaires and other brain health assessments)
- Customized intake and interview process including screens on physical activity and exercise, sleep, stress, mental health, and nutrition
- Referrals to pre-approved providers for any necessary or desired additional assessments and services
Results gathered from these assessments are pulled together in an easy-to-understand clinical report. Our team reviews the information with you through shared, integrated medical appointments with specialists that can include neurologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, and health & fitness professionals. Based on the goals of the individual, we develop a customized plan that is implemented both in-clinic and within a collaborative network of professionals.
You may be eligible to participate in Brain Health Center services such as cognitive-physical training and exercise programs, TMS, neurofeedback, biofeedback, brain health coaching, mindfulness programs, and physician-led consulting.
Our goals are to produce significantly increased rates of prevention of neurodegenerative diseases and conditions, increased performance, and improvements in overall markers of health in HOP program participants.
Candidates must be approved for the human optimization and high performance program, and certain services and assessments may be covered by insurance.
Interested in participating in the Human Optimization Program?
Please complete our form below and one our team members will contact you with the next steps in order to participate.