Brain Health 

4.5 CE Credits - Member $90 | Nonmember $135

Target Audience: Neuropsychologists and trainees
Instructional Level: Intermediate

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The Brain Health Collection includes the below webinars: 


Harnessing Positive Psychosocial Factors to Optimize Cognitive Aging 


Laura B. Zahodne, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Co-Director, Michigan Center for Contextual Factors in Alzheimer’s Disease
University of Michigan

A rapidly aging global population and repeated clinical trials failures underscore the need for dementia prevention. This workshop will present and evaluate evidence for modifiable risk and protective factors in cognitive aging with a detailed emphasis on psychosocial factors in diverse populations. While ample research implicates depression as a modifiable risk factor for late-life cognitive impairment, cognitive decline, and dementia, emerging research points to the importance of positive psychosocial factors that not only reduce the prevalence and impact of depression, but may also help to maintain cognitive functioning independent of depressive symptoms. We will unpack potential mechanisms underlying the beneficial cognitive effects of positive affect and self-efficacy, as well as critically evaluate the “active ingredients” of multidimensional exposures such as social relations and religiosity. Cutting-edge research on large, nationally representative samples, as well as on smaller samples with more detailed neuroimaging and cognitive phenotyping, will be presented, and both observational and interventional studies will be discussed. Throughout the workshop, we will consider critical sociodemographic and contextual factors, including race/ethnicity, discrimination, and migration history. The research presented will reveal the interdependence of psychosocial and cognitive functioning for diverse older adults and highlight potential avenues to promote cognitive and neurobehavioral health.

After the session, participants will be able to:
1. Describe the evidence for purported dementia risk and protective factors.
2. Discuss potential mechanisms underlying the beneficial cognitive effects of positive psychosocial factors.
3. List specific psychosocial factors with the highest likelihood of optimizing cognitive aging.
4. Use the information from this workshop to inform clinical recommendations.

Mindfulness, Meditation, and Cognitive Augmentation


Ruchika S. Prakash, Ph.D.
Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology
The Ohio State University

Mindfulness, as defined in the contemporary sciences, is the practice of purposefully directing attention, in a non-judgmental way, to observe the unfolding of each moment as it takes place. Mindfulness training has gained increasing popularity for its potential to improve behavioral and neural correlates of cognitive functioning, with a special emphasis on improving attention. In this talk, an overview will be provided of the current state of the literature on mindfulness training and its potential to enhance various facets of attentional control. Employing the classical taxonomy proposed by Posner and Petersen (1990), outcome measures in the literature were broadly categorized based on whether they involved maintenance of an aroused state (alerting), selective prioritization of attention to target items (orienting), or assessed conflict monitoring (executive attention). Although many non-randomized and retreat studies provide promising evidence of gains in both alerting and conflict monitoring following mindfulness training, evidence from randomized controlled trials, especially those involving active control comparison groups, is more mixed. Five  criteria will be proposed through which we should evaluate future clinical trials of mindfulness training. Adoption of such methodological rigor will allow for causal claims supporting mindfulness training as an efficacious treatment modality for cognitive rehabilitation and enhancement.

After the session, participants will be able to:
1. Define mindfulness and explain differences among various meditative practices included in mindfulness-based stress reduction programs.
2. Critique the current state of the literature examining the effects of mindfulness training on attention.
3. Assess the methodological rigor of mindfulness training studies using a set of five criteria designed to evaluate the strength of causal evidence claimed by randomized controlled trials. 


Motivating the Masses: Promoting Brain Health Through Media Work and Public Education 


Michelle Braun, Ph.D., ABPP-CN
Ascension Healthcare
Racine, WI

There are many exciting opportunities for neuropsychologists to enhance the health and well-being of the population by sharing our expertise about brain health through public education and media work. Although most neuropsychologists have not been trained to engage with the media, there are a growing number of resources available through professional associations, organizations, and courses to support media exposure and training. During this workshop, you will learn tips to communicate effectively and inspire audiences on radio and television and in print media, podcasts, blogs, social media, and books. We will also discuss the benefits of cultivating community and organizational partnerships, strategies for establishing yourself as an expert, the importance of developing a “platform” to grow your audience (especially if you are interested in writing a book for the public!), and the need to translate your passion for brain health into a unique message. By sharing the importance of brain health directly with the public, we can enhance the health of the population AND increase awareness of the value of neuropsychology!

After the session, participants will be able to:
1. List three strategies to become engaged in public education about brain health and describe how to become involved in media work.
2. Discuss the resources available to support neuropsychologists who wish to become involved in public education and media work. 
3. Describe tips to communicate effectively and inspire audiences.

Dr. Zahodne
trained in Clinical Neuropsychology at the University of Florida, the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and the Columbia University Medical Center. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan, where she also co-directs an NIA-funded Resource Center for Minority Aging Research. Dr. Zahodne is an investigator on multiple community-based longitudinal studies of brain and cognitive aging in racially/ethnically diverse older adults, and her research focuses on modifiable determinants of dementia risk and dementia inequalities.

Dr. Prakash
is an associate professor at the Department of Psychology at The Ohio State University. She is the Director of the Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Brain Imaging; a state-of-the-art neuroimaging research facility housed in the Department of Psychology. Dr. Prakash received her doctoral degree at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests center around designing and evaluating methodologically-rigorous randomized controlled trials of exercise training and mindfulness meditation. She has published 70 peer-reviewed journal articles, with many of her papers published in top tier psychology and neuroscience journals such as Psychology and Aging, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, NeuroImage, Cerebral Cortex, and Developmental Psychology. She received the “Rising Star Designation” given by the Association for Psychological Science in 2013 and the Springer Early Career Achievement in Research on Adult Development and Aging by the American Psychological Association in 2016. Her research program is funded by the National Institute of Health and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  

Dr. Michelle Braun
is passionate about empowering individuals to boost brain health and reduce the risk of Alzheimer's with science-backed strategies. She has been featured on PBS, Fox Morning News, CBS, iHeart radio, and in other national media outlets. Dr. Braun completed her internship at Yale University School of Medicine, and postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School/Boston VA after earning her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology and minor in Neuroscience from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She previously served as the Assistant Director of Inpatient Mental Health at the Boston VA and Instructor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Braun has a popular column on brain health in Psychology Today, and she had a general audience book on brain health published this spring (High-Octane Brain: 5 Science-Based Steps to Sharpen Your Memory and Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s). She  has been an invited speaker for the Alzheimer’s Association for the past 14 years.