Cori Lathan: Should Doctors Measure Brain Vital Signs? | Summary and Q&A

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July 5, 2018
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World Economic Forum
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Cori Lathan: Should Doctors Measure Brain Vital Signs?

TL;DR

We need to shift our focus from diagnosis and treatment to wellness and prevention by quantifying brain health using data generated from the internet of things.

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Key Insights

  • 🙈 Brain health is often ignored in healthcare, despite its critical role in overall wellness and prevention.
  • 🧠 The internet of things provides a vast amount of data that can be used to quantify and monitor brain health.
  • 🧠 Non-communicable diseases, including mental illnesses, have a significant impact on brain health and result in substantial costs.
  • ✳️ Caregivers are also at risk for cognitive impairment and mental illnesses due to the stress and demands of caregiving.
  • 🧠 Tools and interventions to manage brain health should be proactive, focusing on prevention rather than waiting for individuals to report symptoms.
  • 🧑‍⚕️ The military is using digital health tools to track soldiers' brain health continuously, irrespective of suspected concussions.
  • 🥺 Quantifying brain health can lead to early detection and intervention for conditions such as concussions, depression, and dementia.

Transcript

so how many of you would say that you're generally healthy good most of you I'm happy too happy to see that all right so how many of you have ever misplaced your keys okay also most of you how many of you have ever forgotten someone's name that you actually knew who you actually knew pretty well okay so so how do you know if that's normal or if you... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How can we quantify brain health using data from the internet of things?

The internet of things generates vast amounts of data, and by monitoring behaviors and usage patterns, we can gain insights into individual brain health. For example, data from smart homes and wearable devices can provide information on sleep patterns, physical activity levels, and environmental factors that impact brain health.

Q: What are the costs of ignoring brain health?

Non-communicable diseases that affect the brain, such as dementia and mental illnesses, are responsible for a significant number of deaths worldwide. Ignoring brain health can cost trillions of dollars and impact not only the individuals affected but also the caregivers who provide unpaid care.

Q: How can brain health be measured and monitored in the military?

A mobile medical app has been developed to track soldiers' brain health continuously, not just during suspected concussions. This allows for early detection and proactive management of brain health in the military.

Q: What can individuals do to manage their own brain health?

Providing tools for individuals at risk for dementia to manage their own brain health can be instrumental in preventing cognitive decline. This can include cognitive tests, lifestyle modifications, and targeted interventions.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Tracking brain health is critical in detecting changes such as concussions, depression, or early onset Alzheimer's, yet it is often ignored in healthcare.

  • The internet of things, combined with advances in AI and robotics, provides a wealth of data that can be used to quantify and monitor brain health.

  • Non-communicable diseases, which include mental illnesses, affect cognitive health and can cost trillions of dollars. Caregivers are also at risk and may experience cognitive impairment.

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