(researchers using new brain-mapping technology are trying to peel back the secrets of the brain.– Inside Florida’s largest retirement community
The goal: Make world-changing discoveries about how our minds work that could lead to earlier detection of Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases. The research’s success could allow physicians to start treatments earlier than ever and perhaps delay the onset of this memory-robbing condition that haunts the older population.
“As you look at people as they grow older, from a health perspective they are probably more afraid of losing their memory than they are of getting cancer,” says Dr. Jeffrey Lowenkron, who is chief medical officer of The Villages Health, a medical practice in The Villages, a Florida retirement community that’s home to more than 125,000 people.
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s. Part of the problem in finding one: For all the world’s scientific and medical advances, there is still a lot we don’t know about the brain, Lowenkron says.
“What happens with the electrical activity of the brain as it ages?” he says. “What’s normal and what’s abnormal? No one really knows.”
With this trailblazing research in The Villages®, we may be drawing closer to finding out.
About 1,000 residents of The Villages volunteered to participate in the brain-health research that’s being conducted in partnership with faculty from the University of South Florida and an Israeli company called ElMindA that originally developed the sophisticated BNA™ (Brain Network Activation) technology for use in concussion treatment with young people. All of the partners believe that the technology holds the potential to revolutionize the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of brain-related disorders.
Here’s how it works: An electrode monitoring device that resembles a hair net is placed on the volunteer’s head. The volunteer is then given a series of computer tasks to perform during an EEG recording. From there, a 3-D representation can be created to show what the brain looked like when the volunteer was responding to the tasks.