John M. Talmadge, M.D.

A Blog Covering Many Topics

Traumatic Brain Injury: Progress

A new study reveals that individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) have significantly more difficulty with gist reasoning than traditional cognitive tests. Using a unique cognitive assessment developed by researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas, findings published Friday in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology indicate that an individual's ability to "get the gist or extract the essence of a message" after a TBI more strongly predicts his or her ability to effectively hold a job or maintain a household than previously revealed by traditional cognitive tests alone. The study also further validates the Center for BrainHealth's gist reasoning assessment as an informative tool capable of estimating a broad range of daily life skills.
"Gist reasoning characterizes a meaningful, complex cognitive capacity. Assessing how well one understands and expresses big ideas from information they are exposed, commonly known as an ability to "get the gist", is window into real life functionality. I do not know of any other paper and pencil test that can tell us both," explained Asha Vas, Ph.D., research scientist at the Center for BrainHealth and lead study author. "Although performance on traditional cognitive tests is informative, widely-used measures do not paint the full picture. Adults with TBI often fare average or above on these structured measures. All too often, adults with brain injury have been told that they ought to be fine; in reality, they are not doing and thinking like they used to prior to the injury and struggle managing everyday life responsibilities years after the injury. Gist reasoning could be a sensitive tool to connect some of those dots as to why they are having trouble with real-life functionality despite falling into the range of "normal" on other cognitive tests." For more details and the longer article, click here.

Change Your Brain

And now…a word or two about good science and having a healthy brain. We offer a range of programs at the Brain Performance Institute to help people of all ages and conditions improve and extend peak brain performance throughout their lives. By evaluating brain fitness and applying proven brain-training methods, the Brain Performance Institute will train individuals to think smarter and exploit their greatest natural resources — their brains.

BRAINHEALTH PHYSICALS
A unique cognitive assessment that measures cognitive reserve in pivotal areas of higher-order mental functioning, all of which rely on robust frontal lobe function. It is just as essential to measure and monitor brain fitness as it is to measure and monitor physical fitness. Get a benchmark of your brain’s health.

HIGH PERFORMANCE BRAIN TRAINING
The high performance brain training program, Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Training (SMART®Winking, was developed by Center for BrainHealth cognitive neuroscientists and is based on more than 25 years of scientific study. The training program targets improvement in the frontal lobe of the brain and is based on cognitive neuroscience principles of how to build strategic thinking, advanced reasoning and innovative problem-solving skills. SMART sessions include personalized training materials and integrated practice sessions.

I joined the staff at The Center for BrainHealth and BPI after extensive contact with the scientists and clinicians there. Over a period of months I found myself returning at least once or twice weekly to attend a lecture, to discuss research, or to interact with my friends on The Warrior Team, a powerful resource for veterans. I remember the day in November 2014 when I spoke with Dr. Sandra Chapman, the CEO, and she asked me whether I was enjoying my visits. "Are you kidding me?" I said, "I want to be more than a visitor—I want to work here!" Needless to say, I was both honored and extremely delighted when, early in 2015, I got the call and the invitation to be Senior Medical Advisor for CBH and BPI.