U.S. Experts Publish Brain Health 'Road Map'

Mar. 23 --

SUNDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alzheimer's Association are releasing their brain health "road map," designed to maintain and improve the cognitive performance of American adults.

Officials from the two organizations said the National Public Health Road Map to Maintaining Cognitive Health emphasizes that maintaining and improving individuals' cognitive health is important to the overall health of the nation.

The Road Map calls for a coordinated approach to raising public awareness about cognitive health and a national commitment to prevent cognitive decline.

The document was slated to be unveiled Sunday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Prevention of Dementia, in Washington, D.C.

"Public health has a key role to play in ensuring that added years for older Americans are quality years, including both physical health and cognitive health," CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said in a prepared statement.

She said the Road Map, "represents a reason for optimism coupled with a clear need for action. The Road Map provides critical action steps that organizations and agencies can take to move cognitive health into the public health arena in a strategic, coordinated manner."

The Road Map offers 44 recommendations including:

  • Reviews of research literature to determine types and amounts of physical activity that are most effectively enhance cognitive function.
  • Support for research into how physical activity and cardiovascular risk affect cognitive function.
  • Establish a Web site to provide the public and healthcare professional with accurate and valid information about cognitive health.
  • Develop a national population-based surveillance system to collect information about the burden of cognitive decline at the community level and to develop targeted strategies to assist people in specific communities.
  • Cognitive decline can range from memory loss and mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Currently, about 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's. The number of people with Alzheimer's and other cognitive problems is expected to increase substantially as the baby boomer generation continues to age.

    More information

    The Alzheimer's Association explains mild cognitive impairment.

    SOURCE: Alzheimer's Association, news release, June 10, 2007