Healthy habits, such as diet, exercise and sleep, are critical for preventing brain disease and cognitive decline with age. Current treatments are ineffective for helping patients adopt healthier lifestyles and lower their brain disease risk with aging.
In this presentation, Drs. Vranceanu, Mace, and Reynolds introduced and reviewed preliminary evidence for My Healthy Brain (MHB), a group lifestyle program targeting multiple risk factors for brain disease. They also discussed future directions including mindfulness applications to reduce stress and sustain brain health habits.
An MGH patient shared her experience in the MHB group and with subsequent individualized mindfulness-based treatment. Dr. Joel Salinas, who referred this patient to the MHB program, discussed the neurological aspects of the case and described his approach to brain disease prevention as a neurologist.
• [Article]: briefly summarizes the domains of risk factors for brain diseases such as dementia.
• [Article]: high quality trial of a multidomain intervention for cognitive decline.
• [Article]: conceptual model for thinking about how lifestyle interacts with biological factors.
• [Article]: summary of recommendations for patients and providers from the AARP’s Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH).
Presenters: Ana-Maria Vranceanu, PhD, Ryan A. Mace, PhD, Gretchen Reynolds, PhD, Joel Salinas, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr. Ana-Maria Vranceanu is a clinical health psychologist, Associated Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School, and Founding Director of the Integrated Brain Health Clinical and Research Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). She is an expert in the development and testing of in person and live video mind body and lifestyle modification interventions integrated within medical practices, to preserve health, promote recovery after surgery or injury, and optimize management of chronic illness. Dr. Vranceanu has published over 150 peer reviewed article and has been principal investigator on over 15 research grants. She actively mentors clinical psychology interns as part of the Integrated Brain Health Track of the MGH Internship in Clinical Psychology, as well as postdoctoral fellows, medical residents and junior faculty members.
Gretchen Reynolds, PhD is a clinical neuropsychologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who divides her time among clinical work and research, with interests in dementia, movement disorders, cognitive rehabilitation, mindfulness, and healthy aging. She earned her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Boston University, where she studied anxiety in Parkinson’s disease. She then completed her internship in neuropsychology at Brown University and her fellowship in neuropsychology at BWH/MGH. From both a clinical and research perspective, she is particularly interested in the intersection of neuropsychology and non-pharmacological interventions and the facilitation of healthy cognitive aging. Her current research focuses on factors that influence research participation and engagement in healthy lifestyle behaviors among middle-aged and older adults.
Ryan Mace, PhD is a clinical psychologist with a background in mental health with aging. He completed his pre-doctoral clinical internship at MGH and is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at the IBHCRP. Dr. Mace has published over 20 peer-reviewed articles on geropsychology, co-developed assessments and treatments for dementia, and enhanced state-level nursing home care. At MGH, Dr. Mace provides outpatient CBT for adults facing chronic conditions and comorbid mental illnesses. He has served on four NIH-funded studies at the IBHCRP to develop interventions for Neuro-ICU patients and their care partners, chronic pain, older adults, mild cognitive impairment, and knee osteoarthritis. His current research focuses on the potential for mind-body and lifestyle interventions to preserve brain health across the lifespan.
Joel Salinas, MD, MBA, MSc (pronounced ‘joh-EHL’) is the Lulu P. and David J. Levidow Assistant Professor of Neurology in the Department of Neurology’s Center for Cognitive Neurology. Dr. Salinas obtained his BA in Biology & Society from Cornell University. He earned his medical degree with research distinction at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and his Master in Business Administration degree with concentration in Health Sector Management & Policy at the Miami Herbert Business School. He completed his neurology residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He then subspecialized through a combined research and clinical fellowship in Behavioral Neurology & Neuropsychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and in Neurostatistics & Neuroepidemiology at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, earning a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology. Prior to NYU, he was Assistant Professor in Neurology at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Neurology’s division of Cognitive-Behavioral Neurology and was Clinical Director of the Henry and Allison McCance Center for Brain Health. He specializes in practical clinical approaches to brain health and conducts research in epidemiology to understand social determinants of brain health and harness these insights to preserve healthy cognitive function at the population level.