Maria Shriver is an award-winning journalist, a New York Times bestselling author, and one of the world’s leading advocates for women and Alzheimer’s. Now, she has just announced via an online video that she is teaming up with the brain exercise platform BrainHQ to offer a new program that is dedicated to raising the bar on women’s brain health.
This special version, which can be found online at brainhq.com/maria, launched to coincide with celebration of Brain Awareness Month. It also follows the huge success of Shriver’s Move for Minds initiative, which runs throughout June and works to educate women about lifestyle changes they can make to improve brain health.
“Women’s brains have a special journey, with different experiences and challenges from those of men,” Shriver said. “We must recognize the ways that women’s brains are different and we must broaden our definition of women’s health to include the brain. My goal is to give women the information and resources they need to keep their brains active and healthy throughout life. Together with BrainHQ, we’re now offering women a practical and scientifically-proven tool that can improve cognitive health and can fit easily into busy lives.”
As founder of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, Shriver has been at the forefront of educating the public that women are at an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. In 2010, “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s,” reported for the very first time that women make up two-thirds of all the Alzheimer’s cases in this country and that Alzheimer’s is predominately a woman’s disease.
“I see this as the ultimate women’s empowerment issue,” Shriver said. “Women work their whole lives to be recognized for their minds, and then Alzheimer’s puts them at risk of losing them. That’s unacceptable to me, and I won’t rest until we find a solution.”
“When it comes to cognitive performance, I hope BrainHQ program can be one piece of the puzzle for women in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond,” Shriver continued. “I also hope it can be a tool for caregivers, as well as for fitness trainers who can make this an integral part of any workout. Let’s face it, stretching, training and challenging your brain is just as important as stretching, training and challenging your body.”
Henry Mahncke, CEO of Posit Science, the maker of BrainHQ, noted there are more than 100 peer-reviewed studies on the benefits of the exercises in BrainHQ, across varied populations. Those benefits include better performance in standard measures of cognition (e.g., speed, attention, memory); in standard measures of quality of life (e.g., mood, confidence, health-related quality of life); and in real world activities (e.g., balance, driving, activities of independent living).
In her online video announcing the collaboration, Shriver spoke to neurologist Dr. Richard Isaacson about the benefits of BrainHQ cognitive training.
“Brain training has a ton of evidence, and the strongest evidence has been with the BrainHQ program,” Isaacscon said. “In randomized studies where they track people over years, they’ve found that people who participate in brain training activities … find that their brain function has improved.”
As with the regular version of BrainHQ, this special version gives users access to dozens of exercises that continuously personalize to each user, and the ability to measure and improve brain performance over time. The new version adds some women’s health context for the exercises, as well as encouragement from Maria Shriver.
People can use different exercises for free each day, or can get a general access subscription for as little as $8 per month.
“Maria Shriver has done incredible work raising the public consciousness about women’s brain health,” said Dr. Henry Mahncke. “We hope our collaboration will help women recognize the importance of doing brain exercises and caring for their brains, so they can remain top performers throughout life.”