Congressional Neuroscience Caucus Meeting

On Monday, December 3, I attended the Congressional Neuroscience Caucus meeting on Capitol Hill, representing Tremor Action Network. The speaker was Ms. Veronika Litinski, the Senior Advisor, Healthcare & Life Sciences, for MaRS, Canada’s leading innovation center.

In speaking about the brain, she said that we know a lot about its parts but little about how it works as a whole or how it unfolds.

The determinants of brain health are:

  • Biology
  • Society
  • Nutrition
  • Physical Activity

Studies have shown that there are ways to improve one’s brain

  • Meditation – the brain actually grows making additional connections.
  • Social interaction – has been proven to help in rehabilitation.
  • Diet, exercise and lowering stress – exercise creates new neurons.

She said that there is a need in healthcare to change confused patients into informed consumers. Mental healthcare is not the same as the rest of healthcare. Consumers struggle with brain-related issues almost silently, sometimes resignation, and a general lack of resolve to do something. Studies have shown that there is a four year delay between the onset of a condition and the time when a person actually gets treatment involving a brain-related condition. It is especially confusing for parents seeking treatment for their children. Other forms of healthcare are less confusing for those seeking treatment.

To help patients be informed consumers, digital healthcare will play an increasingly greater role. Part of this will require more networking between like-minded organizations.

Embarrassed > From quiet > Informed
Multiple symptoms struggle to Recognize issue
Not Urgent engaged patient Find clarity
Dismissal Responsibly concerned
Confused Seek help
It’s normal Take charge

People can help themselves in making better decisions, problem solving and inhibitory control – by better understanding how they function, maximizing their abilities and controlling their work and life contexts better. By knowing what part of the day is optimal, a person can schedule their activities accordingly.

Peter Muller
Executive Director