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RESTART PROGRAMME

Updated: Jun 29

Our lifestyle, consisting of everyday behaviours and functions in society, is an important determinant of our physical and psychological well-being. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 60% of related factors to individual health and quality of life are correlated to our lifestyle. Unhealthy and imbalanced diets, smoking, increased alcohol consumption, stress, are some of the recent presentations of unhealthy lifestyles that affect our overall well-being. For example, millions of people suffer from various illnesses and diseases like cardiovascular issues, hypertension, fluctuations in weight, etc. due to their unhealthy lifestyles. Thus, there is an undeniable relationship between our health, psychological well-being, and our lifestyles.


Besides, the advent of technology has resulted in new challenges to our lifestyle. Though the positive effects of global digitalization cannot be sidelined, one may also not overlook its serious challenges that threaten the physical and psychological state of people. These challenges include the overuse of technology, surplus information creating cognitive load- affecting our cognition, increased distractions, and reduced concentration leading to the loss of productivity. Further, multitasking demands are leading to slow erosion of memory and comprehension. Cognitive biases are causing negative emotions and increased stress that often lead to the loss of cognitive flexibility. Such imbalances can also cause hormonal issues. For instance, an increase in cortisol hormone and blood pressure due to high stress, fluctuations in weight and heightened fatigue. Moreover, nutrition imbalance also impacts our brain health and our way of life, leading to many diseases and bodily discomforts. Thus, it is quintessential to cultivate a joyous approach to maintain psychological well-being to increase cognitive reserve and keep up a good lifestyle.


The importance of heart health is highly promoted, but brain health that is crucial for our ability to think, act and live well, hasn't received much limelight. Maintaining a healthy brain will help one’s mind stay clear and active, reducing the risk factors, keeping it active and getting the absolute best out of it as we grow old. Building this cognitive reserve as we age has great implications for quality of life as per research findings.


The brain is an intelligent computing device that has a powerful ability to learn almost anything. It is continuously updated by activities, thoughts and sensory inputs. It has billions of neurons and trillions of connections between its neurons that encode all the knowledge and skills that we learn. The brain is a key player in cognition.


Cognition is the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and thus the senses. Memory, conceptual learning, emotions, problem-solving, pattern recognition, visualization, language, attention, perception and action are all essentially cognitive skills. All of these would be affected if we don’t keep training the brain for its betterment. As we grow old, changes can start to happen within the brain, that is, there is a gradual decrease in mental capabilities. This is referred to as age-related cognitive decline, and it typically leads to people becoming more forgetful and less mentally sharp. Brain health issues can be from mild conditions like brain fog, slowness in work, forgetfulness and loss of flexibility to severe issues like dementia, Parkinson or Alzheimer’s. This issue of cognitive decline affects the quality of life and makes us less productive. The trajectory of this cognitive decline can vary considerably from one person to the next. Although brain health is vital at all ages, it becomes more imperative as we get older.


Many people may function normally even in the presence of significant brain damage and pathology because of good cognitive reserve: the ability of the brain to learn and retain cognitive skills. This explains a person’s capacity to maintain normal cognitive function in the presence of brain pathology. The Decline of cognitive reserve is one of the foremost frightening aspects of ageing, but it's not inevitable. Research shows that up to one in five people over 65 are estimated to be affected by the decline in cognitive reserve and those with cognitive reserve decline are more likely to develop dementia within the future.


Fortunately, we have the power to slow the mental decline that comes with ageing as new brain cells are created throughout our lives. Simple modifications in our lifestyle and performing mental activities like active learning, intellectual work, being actively bi- or multi-lingual, exploring and learning new things, challenging yourself regularly, solving new type of problems, thinking and participating in a higher cause, developing the habit of remaining calm, composed and peaceful, modifying eating habits, sleeping well, developing a joyous and positive approach to life irrespective of age and position or regularly engaging in creative activities further stimulates new growth and can help in building higher cognitive reserve. Active brain cells get access to the raised blood supply, more oxygen, and nutrients. In turn, new branches of brain cells develop, stimulating a hub of active, healthy, interconnecting cells.


Just like physical fitness, brain health/ fitness requires targeted effort to protect and build a cognitive reserve. New and stimulating experiences may occur as a part of lifestyle, but many people operate autopilot quite well. According to the newest findings in neuroscience, the brain reaches its peak performance at 19-35 years, and thereafter cognitive functioning declines. So it is very much necessary to exercise the brain daily for good cognitive fitness.


How can you make simple modifications to build your cognitive reserve? The answer is in our ReStart programme which is specifically tailored made to meet your personal needs.


Brighter Minds RESTART program is a training program for adults to Rewind, Rewire and ReStart some aspects of life. Minor modifications in our lifestyle and activities can go a long way in building and maintaining brain health. The program is designed with a very simplistic approach to learning and experiencing a few techniques in improving your cognitive reserve as well as bringing awareness of some key concepts behind brain development – even as we keep ageing. It brings a practical approach to train the brain to cope up with new world challenges, help individuals to understand and modify lifestyle aspects to protect brain health and enhance cognitive capacity. It gives you a jump start to nudge your LIFESTYLE to build a BETTER BRAIN!


The ReStart program is a result of our continued research and development activity in the field of Neuroscience and Cognitive learning capacity enhancement. The recent evidence on increased cases of deteriorating memory, stress, anxiety, depression, brain fog, cognitive biases, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia etc worldwide is one of the reasons our research team started exploring in-depth to bring out something for the adults – the age group above 35, to introduce some techniques and tools to improve the cognitive reserves in a month-long program with five sessions lasting three hours each, with the support of a trained facilitator, technology-enabled aid and practical tools. This program is not like a course to build new skills but to re-discover oneself and ReStart your life by exploring the inner self.



Objectives of RESTART:


The RESTART programme will provide you with a new outlook into your life by encouraging your brain to step out of its comfort zone and explore its potential. The learning capacity of the brain reduces due to various factors like ageing, lifestyle, diseases and the environment. If we take the necessary precautions, we can reduce the wear and tear of the brain and maintain good health.

Brighter Minds RESTART program has a set of interventions that aim at countering the cognitive decline in the brain.

RESTART program aims at educating and providing a structured approach to introduce activities on:

Novelty: Novelty results in increased production of dopamine which motivates us to go exploring in search of a reward. When we see something new, we know that it has the potential for rewarding us in some way. This potential that lies in new things motivates us to explore our environment for rewards.

Memory Techniques: By utilizing a range of memory techniques to improve our raw mental processing power, we convert the dry information that is present into something more interesting.

Lifestyle: By setting right the lifestyle aspects like food, sleep, physical exercise and so on, brain health can be maintained. In addition to that, healthy mental development, good learning skills, strong cognitive function and high quality of life can be achieved.

Creativity: Engaging in creative tasks protects neuron growth by promoting the production of new neurons, which are crucial for maintaining a healthy central nervous system. Innovation and creativity exercises to keep the brain well oiled.

Empathy: Empathy isn’t a hard-wired mental attribute. Through daily choices of mindset and behaviour, anyone can rewire his or her brain to be more empathetic.

Challenge: Challenge the brain to give it a good work out.

Meditation: To relax your brain, help it rejuvenate


What do participants get from the RESTART programme?

The RESTART programme helps adults to rewind, rewire and ReStart some aspects of life along with improved brain health and increased brain capacity.

The programme gives a positive impact on life with improved knowledge and practice of food habits and techniques to keep up brain health.

Participants will learn simple and practical tools that will help improve memory capacity, creative mindset and deal with modern-day complexity with a scientific mindset.

Participants will also learn key ideas about productivity, and problem-solving in the context of neuroscientific principles.


References:

Baltes, P. et al. (1999), Lifespan Psychology: Theory and Application to Intellectual Functioning.Annual Review of Psychology 50: 471-507

Willis, S.L. et al. (2006), Long-term Effects of Cognitive Training on Everyday Functional Operations in Older Adults. JAMA, 296(23), 2805-2814

Schmiedek, F. et al. (2010), Hundred days of cognitive training enhance broad cognitive abilities in adulthood: findings from the COGITO study. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience: 2(27), 1-10

Belleville, S. (2008), Cognitive training for persons with mild cognitive impairment, International Psychogeriatrics, 20: 57-66

le Couteau J, Schmitt JAJ. Food ingredients and cognitive performance. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care, 2008; 11:706-10.

Yehuda S, Rabinovitz S, Mostofsky I. Nutritional Deficiencies in Learning and Cognition. J Pediatr Gastroenter Nutrit. 2006; 43:S22-5.

Isaacs EB, Gadian DG, Sabatini S, et al. The Effect of Early Human Diet on Caudate Volumes and IQ. Pediatr Res. 2008; 63: 308-14.

Samieri C, Jutland MA, Feart C, Capuron L, Letenneur L, Barberger-gateau P. Current Research Dietary Patterns Derived by Hybrid Clustering Method in Older People: Association with Cognition, Mood, and Self-Rated Health. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008; 108: 1461-71.

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