Good Brain Health & Well-Being for Everybody

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Presenting Author(s): Prof. Barbara Sahakian, PhD, DSc, FBA, FMedSci

Date and time: 24 Mar 2023 from 08:00 to 09:00

Location: Wildrose Salon A/B  Floor Map

Learning Objectives

  1. To emphasise the importance of cognition, resilience and wellbeing throughout life;
  2. To promote good brain health and to discuss evidence-based ways to improve cognition and wellbeing;
  3. To consider the use of technology to improve cognition, wellbeing and mental health.


While many people monitor their physical health using mobile devices and wearable technology to preserve their physical health throughout their life, they rarely consider improving and monitoring their brain health. This is strange, when we consider the regrettable statistics that one in four of us will suffer a mental health disorder at some point in our lives and that 75% of mental health disorders start before 24 years of age. If we are going to have good cognition, resilience and wellbeing throughout our lives, it is essential that we consider mental health as being every bit as important as physical health. To achieve this we need to move to innovative approaches to mental health, which include early detection and early effective treatment of neurological diseases and psychiatric disorders. These novel approaches include game apps for delivering cognitive training on mobile phones or tablets in schizophrenia and other psychiatric and neurological disorders. In changing the framework by moving to early detection and early effective treatment. Innovation and technology can promote a flourishing society. For example, brain training with the game 'Decoder' can be used to improve attention, concentration and 'getting in the flow' in healthy young adults. Making brain training fun can keep motivation and enjoyment high and together with evidence-based ways to mental wellbeing, we can achieve optimal brain health. There is nothing more important than good brain health and wellbeing.

Literature References

Kang J, Jia T, Jiao Z, Shen C, Xie C, Cheng W, Sahakian BJ, Waxman D, Feng J. Increased brain volume from higher cereal and lower coffee intake: shared genetic determinants and impacts on cognition and metabolism. Cerebral Cortex. 2022 Nov 15;32(22):5163-74.

Li Y, Sahakian BJ, Kang J, Langley C, Zhang W, Xie C, Xiang S, Yu J, Cheng W, Feng J. The brain structure and genetic mechanisms underlying the nonlinear association between sleep duration, cognition and mental health. Nature Aging. 2022 May;2(5):425-37.

Sahakian BJ, Bruhl AB, Cook J, Killikelly C, Savulich, G, Piercy T, Hafizi S, Perez J, Fernandez-Egea E, Suckling

J, Jones PB (2015) The impact of neuroscience on society: Cognitive enhancement in neuropsychiatric disorders and in healthy people. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 370

Savulich G, Piercy T, Fox C, Suckling J, Rowe JB, O’Brien JT, Sahakian BJ. Cognitive training using a novel memory game on an iPad in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. 2017 Aug;20(8):624-33.

Savulich G, Thorp E, Piercy T, Peterson KA, Pickard JD, Sahakian BJ. Improvements in attention following cognitive training with the novel “Decoder” game on an iPad. Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience. 2019 Jan 21;13:2.

Shen C, Rolls ET, Cheng W, Kang J, Dong G, Xie C, Zhao XM, Sahakian BJ, Feng J. Associations of social isolation and loneliness with later dementia. Neurology. 2022 Jul 12;99(2):e164-75.

Vatansever D, Wang S, Sahakian BJ. Covid-19 and promising solutions to combat symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2021 Jan;46(1):217.

Zhu JL, Schülke R, Vatansever D, Xi D, Yan J, Zhao H, Xie X, Feng J, Chen MY, Sahakian BJ, Wang S. Mindfulness practice for protecting mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Translational psychiatry. 2021 May 28;11(1):1-1.

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