March 2023 IPHA Top Advocacy Role Model & New Associate Director of the "Brain Health Collaborative"
A special congratulations to Ms. Marilyn Abrahamson, Brain Health Research and Education Specialist. She has designed the "Long Live Your Brain (LLYB)" program - an online Brain-Health and Neuroplasticity Coaching program to support optimizing brain performance.
IPHA's leadership panel recognized Marilyn's brilliant insights and her true devotion to the study of all areas of BRAIN HEALTH. She is an undeniable crusader and a talented communicator - traits that frame the very spirit of our IPHA professional community. On March 1, 2023, IPHA officially nominated Marilyn to the role of Associate Director of the BRAIN HEALTH COLLABORATIVE. Her expertise will be put to task to expand the organization's public exchange about brain diagnostic and therapeutic modalities, outreach efforts to connect with innovators in the science of brain health & training and support the continued growth of our network of brain-related experts.
In a recent interview with Ms. Abrahamson, she stated, "One of my current projects is development of a brain health education and training program to help people reduce their risks for development of memory disorders and stave off age-related cognitive decline. The curriculum will include the pillars of brain health - with lifestyle choices that support a healthy brain - and instruction in strategies for more focused attention, better memory and executive function skills. Not only does this type of education reduce dementia risk, it also provides people with actionable tasks that increase brain performance for higher levels of self-efficacy and success. In later years, possessing these skills will also reduce daily overwhelm and the impulse to prematurely relinquish their personal responsibilities and tasks to family members. This delay can extend independence and quality of life, giving them more independent years. It would be my pleasure to be able to get to know, share ideas and collaborate with everyone in this group. There's nothing more important and meaningful to me than learning from other professionals, and passing that knowledge onto others."
Since 1987, Marilyn has been working with patients to improve communication and cognitive functioning for conditions ranging from traumatic and non-traumatic brain injury, and neurodegenerative conditions. She found her niche in 2016 after creating Minds in Motion, a community and hospital-wide brain health education program at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, New Jersey. Through the Minds in Motion program, healthy agers and those experiencing cognitive changes learned the pillars of brain health, in addition to methods and techniques for better memory and thinking skills like focused attention, processing speed, organization, planning and problem-solving. It has become Marilyn’s life mission to teach people how to live a brain-healthy lifestyle and to use their brain differently by acquiring information more efficiently and storing it more effectively.
Marilyn offers her brain-health education in a unique and well-rounded way by blending what she has gleaned from both aspects of her career; first as a speech-language pathologist and then, as an Amen Clinics Certified Brain Health Coach. She believes the curriculum should always include guidance for proper adoption of brain healthy lifestyle choices, in addition to compensatory techniques for sharpening focus and attention, strategies for better memory, tools to improve processing speed, and step-by-step simplified methods for independently performing their own personal responsibilities.
Beginning with the brain-health basics, Marilyn’s holistic approach teaches the Six Steps to Living a Brain-Healthier Life; one that supports a healthier, more voluminous, and better functioning brain. Following that, she offers instruction for how to change the way they use their brain, consistent with her philosophy, “if your brain has changed, you need to use it differently”.
In addition to providing brain health coaching and education to her clients, Marilyn creates brain-health educational content and offers brain health coaching for Ceresti Health, a start-up that supports, activates, and empowers family care partners. She also continues to work with her Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease online brain training groups. In addition, she is developing a brain health education and coaching program in collaboration with Dr. Roberta Kline (NM). This program will be dedicated to bringing awareness about the need for brain health education and coaching for people living with post-covid brain fog to help them return to peak performance so they can get back to work, and to life. Marilyn also hopes to collaborate with others in the Brain Health Collaborative to offer brain health programs for people recovering from post-concussion syndrome.
Going forward, she hopes to be able to continue to serve others in this way, by helping her clients perform their best, reduce their risks for cognitive decline, succeed in their jobs, enhance and extend their independence, and live their best brain-healthy life.
BRAIN HEALTH REVIEW [Part 3]: POST-COVID BRAIN FOG & WORK PERFORMANCE
Written by: Marilyn Abrahamson, MA,CCC-SLP - CBHC
Another study specifically measured the effects of brain fog on quality of life (QoL) at work. It showed that QoL at work was reduced for over 75% of study participants continuing to experience brain fog symptoms. There were many symptoms included under the umbrella term brain fog, however, in this study, memory problems and difficulty with multitasking had the most significant impact on QoL at work.
NEUROPLASTICITY: 8 Reasons We All Need to Learn About Brain Health- The word Neuroplasticity ignites a feeling of hope. For clinicians and therapists working with patients with all types of brain injuries, understanding neuroplasticity is crucial. Because neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change and adapt in response to new learning and new experiences, it can change both a clinician's choice of therapeutic techniques as well as the duration of the patient’s therapeutic program. We now know that, even in the absence of brain injury or illness, teaching people how to help their brain to more easily adapt, change and grow as we age is the key to maintaining cognitive health. That’s how we remain sharp and resilient into our advanced years, but there’s more to it than that. The answers to the following seven questions will help us to better understand why brain health education is so very important to all of us.