Brain exercise and training program to improve mind and body wellness in individuals with mild cognitive impairment

December 14, 2016 by Courtney Caprara, University of Pittsburgh

Individuals with mild cognitive impairment have a new resource in Pittsburgh with the recently established Brain Training and Exercise (BRiTE) mind and body wellness program, developed by a team of clinicians and scientists at the University of Pittsburgh with expertise in cognition and behavior. The program works to stimulate the brain and body of those with known or suspected cognitive impairment with the goal of improving overall health and wellness.

"There already are effective and well-developed programs that provide home care and nursing homes that benefit individuals with more advanced disease, yet there is little available for individuals with very mild deficits," said James T. Becker, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, neurology and psychology at Pitt. "The BRiTE program provides these individuals with the opportunity to maintain their active occupational and social lifestyles."

The BRiTE program is housed in an 800-square-foot space in Oakland, which is equipped with padded carpeting for physical activity. Stations around the room can be configured to host various classes, including cognitive strategy, music, art and yoga training among others. All activities are designed to reduce frailty, increase strength and endurance and improve balance and stability.

All program participants undergo an initial evaluation to generate a wellness profile of physical, cognitive, emotional and social health. This profile provides a baseline, allowing the individual participants to track their progress through the program as they utilize the various cognitive and physical stimulation programs.

The BRiTE team, including Becker, Oscar L. Lopez, M.D., director of both BRiTE and the University of Pittsburgh Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, and Elizabeth Skidmore, Ph.D., chairperson of the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, have been collaborating with experts at Fundació ACE Barcelona Alzheimer Treatment and Research Center since 1998. This center pioneered a model of nonpharmacological programs to help stimulate cognitive, behavioral and physical functions to improve social and occupational functions.

Grifols International has provided funding for this new program in Pittsburgh.

"We are tremendously thankful for their support and the opportunity to provide these state-of-the-art programs in Pittsburgh," said Lopez. "The BRiTE program will provide the area's population with a new program to support that is not available elsewhere in the United States at this time."

Explore further: Web-based cognitive exercises improve memory and attention in cancer survivors

Related Stories

Web-based cognitive exercises improve memory and attention in cancer survivors

October 31, 2016
A new study suggests that a widely available web-based program (Insight) can help cancer survivors reporting cognitive symptoms. The 15-week program markedly improved participants' self-reported (perceived) cognitive function, ...

Burning more calories linked with greater gray matter volume, reduced Alzheimer's risk

March 11, 2016
Whether they jog, swim, garden or dance, physically active older persons have larger gray matter volume in key brain areas responsible for memory and cognition, according to a new study by researchers at the University of ...

Increasing muscle strength can improve brain function, study says

October 24, 2016
Increased muscle strength leads to improved brain function in adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), new results from a recent trial led by the University of Sydney has revealed.

Exercise at work also has mental health benefits

October 7, 2016
Spending too many hours sitting at your desk or inside an office is known to be unhealthy, so workplace health programs have been designed to improve employees' physical health by encouraging exercise and activity. Now researchers ...

At-home cognitive remediation may help cognitive symptoms in multiple sclerosis

April 15, 2016
Cognitive impairment is one of the core symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS)—and one of its most troubling concerns for many people with the condition. Now, a new study from NYU Langone Medical Center may provide hope for ...

Cardio and weight training reduces access to health care in seniors

May 14, 2013
Forget apples – lifting weights and doing cardio can also keep the doctors away, according a new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.

Recommended for you

For Down syndrome adults, death and dementia often come together

November 19, 2018
(HealthDay)—Seven in 10 people with Down syndrome show evidence of dementia when they die, new research from Britain reveals.

Meditation and music may alter blood markers of cellular aging and Alzheimer's disease

November 13, 2018
A research team led by Dr. Kim Innes, a professor in the West Virginia University School of Public Health, has found that a simple meditation or music listening program may alter certain biomarkers of cellular aging and Alzheimer's ...

Alzheimer's and cardiovascular disease share common genetics in some patients

November 9, 2018
Genetics may predispose some people to both Alzheimer's disease and high levels of blood lipids such as cholesterol, a common feature of cardiovascular disease, according to a new study by an international team of researchers ...

Artificial intelligence predicts Alzheimer's years before diagnosis

November 6, 2018
Artificial intelligence (AI) technology improves the ability of brain imaging to predict Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the journal Radiology.

Diabetes medications may reduce Alzheimer's disease severity

November 1, 2018
People with Alzheimer's disease who were treated with diabetes drugs showed considerably fewer markers of the disease—including abnormal microvasculature and disregulated gene expressions—in their brains compared to Alzheimer's ...

Massive study confirms that loneliness increases risk of dementia

October 29, 2018
A new Florida State University College of Medicine study involving data from 12,000 participants collected over 10 years confirms the heavy toll that loneliness can take on your health: It increases your risk of dementia ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.