Aired on WBUR/PRI’s Here & Now on 5/23/11
Currently about 5.4 million American suffer from the horrifying effects of Alzheimer’s disease, and as the baby boomer population ages, it’s estimated that by the year 2050 that number will at least triple. Researchers are desperately seeking treatment, or a cure, but in the mean time, doctors and researchers at a non-profit facility in Santa Barbara, California are working to reduce people’s risk of developing the disease in the first place. It’s called CFIT (Cognitive Fitness and Innovative Therapies). Many call it a “brain gym”, utilizing everything from board games, Wii Fit, nutrition counseling, music therapy, etc., all designed to keep the body and mind healthy and active.
Doctor Ken Kosik is a neurologist, a professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and a leader in Alzheimer’s research. He founded CFIT two years ago with the idea that people don’t have to live in fear of developing Alzheimer’s, and that relatively simple lifestyle measures can be taken to reduce risk, while improving quality of life. None of CFIT’s clients has the disease, and they either show mild cognitive decline or none at all. And while Dr. Kosik can’t say for sure whether his program prevents Alzheimer’s, he says there is plenty of evidence that CFIT therapies reduce one’s risk for developing the disease, and perhaps delay its onset. CFIT clients agree whole heartedly.
(Watch short video of CFIT’s music class