Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mark Ruffalo: Oscar-nominated actor, Dad and, oh yea, Brain Tumor Survivor

You may know him as the HULK, but I just learned something about him that’s a bit more important – he’s a brain tumor survivor. I got this from Men’s Journal magazine in an article written by Josh Eells (yes, is looks like a pseudonym, but it isn’t).

Here’s a telling paragraph from his article: “Ruffalo was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma, a walnut-size tumor behind his left ear. He first suspected he had one after he had a dream about having a brain tumor, and when he went in for a CT scan, the doctors told him he was right. They said they could operate, but there was a 30 percent chance he might lose the use of the left side of his face. To complicate things even further, Sunrise was about to give birth to their first child, Keen, and Ruffalo didn't want to stress her out.”

Monday, August 26, 2013

2013 SharpBrains Virtual Summit

This is always an interesting event, and it seems to get bigger and more popular each year:  It’s also ambitious. Here’s a few of the Summit’s session topics:

How can we harness the Human Brain Project to maximize its future health and well-being benefits?
Digital Health meets Brain Health.
How can organizations maximize the resilience and productivity of their human resources?
What is the future of personal brain health?

What I like about the Virtual Summit:
-It’s virtual. You can attend in your pajamas and watching your laptop screen.
-It’s got provocative subjects. That bit about harnessing the “Human Brain Project” makes me think that this is a bit like the human genome project.
-It’s got great speakers:  At the same time, folks like Dharma Singh Khalsa, Pres¬i¬dent of the Alzheimer’s Research and Pre¬ven-tion Foundation are included which I like because I believe we need to think laterally and creatively about brain issues and solutions.

To be clear, this is an “industry” issue, and probably isn’t very consumer/patient-friendly. It’s also a bit pricey: at $545.00 I can’t afford to attend. If you do attend, please let me know if you liked it.

PS – If you don’t think brain training has gone mainstream, read this quote from Tom Warden of Allstate posted on the Summit’s site: “”… we see the opportunity that cognitive training provides as just the next evolution of things that we can advocate and get behind that ultimately make for a better driving experience, a safer driving experience for people. Not only for our insureds, but to help the roads be safer for everyone.”

Friday, August 23, 2013

Yes, I think they really are angels

I just heard of Imerman Angels today and couldn’t wait to write about them.

“Imerman Angels - - carefully matches a person touched by cancer with someone who has fought and survived the same type of cancer (a Mentor Angel). Additionally, personalized matches are provided for cancer caregivers (family and friends of fighters) to benefit from other experienced caregivers. These relationships provide hope and comfort from someone who is uniquely familiar with the experience. This personalized matching service is absolutely free and is available to anyone touched by any type of cancer, at any cancer stage level, at any age, living anywhere in the world.”

How great is that?

I want to repeat a few things in this:

  • You get to talk to somebody that’s your age, your gender and who has beaten the same type of cancer.  “A Mentor Angel is walking, talking, living proof, and inspiration that cancer can be beaten.”

  • It’s Free! “Our service is absolutely free and helps anyone touched by any type of cancer, at any cancer stage level, at any age, living anywhere in the world.”

  • And (AND) caregivers also get somebody to talk to. These folks have thought this through.

Here’s a link to some poignant (Heartfelt? Unedited? Revealing?) testimonials:

And while you’re at it, check out their activities and events:


PS - I haven’t met Jonny Imerson who founded Imerman Angels, but I will find some way to meet him, shake his hand and thank him for what he's done.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Drinking Cocoa = Healthy Brains

Here’s more good news for chocolate lovers, according to an article on the BBC website, “A study of 60 elderly people with no dementia found two cups of cocoa a day improved blood flow to the brain in those who had problems to start with.”

My quick questions was “Does increased blood flow = something good?”

Satisfyingly, the answer is “yes.” According to the article, “Those participants whose blood flow improved also did better on memory tests at the end of the study, the journal Neurology reported.”

This study has been pick up by dozens of websites. Here’s a link to the BBC site where I first saw it:

And here’s a link to the Science Daily site if you prefer a site with slightly more scientific gravitas:

Image credit: <a href=''>serezniy / 123RF Stock Photo</a>