International Recognition for Pioneering Dementia Specialists Brains in Action
Brains in Action (BRINA) won the award for “The Most Outstanding Non-Pharmacological Dementia Management Programme in the World in 2017” at The Global Over 50s Housing Awards, presented at The Courthouse Hotel in London on November 9th. The awards were judged by Esmonde Crawley, a leading expert on care for the over 50s who has dedicated the last 26 years to researching and lecturing on the subject.
Brains in Action focuses on the prevention and delay of dementia through the implementation of “Brain Gyms”, a series of brain-training programmes designed by Dr Foteini Kounti, a cognitive psychologist and co-founder of The Greek Association of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders. Her vision is to offer older people with mild cognitive impairment or early-stage dementia the opportunity to maintain their cognitive skills and fight the progression of the disease.
The programmes have been well received throughout Europe and were supported through EU funding for 10 years. Brains in Action now aims to bring their pioneering brain-training programmes to the UK by offering practical training and support to care homes all over the country, allowing them to organise and implement their own Brain Gym. This process is fronted by Brains in Action’s CEO, Myrto Zafeiropoulou, herself a neuropsychological assessor and former coordinator of The Care Home Research Network at King’s College University in London.
Despite Brains in Action being a relatively new presence in UK healthcare, they have already attracted attention from reputable figures in the care standards industry, most notably Samuel Barrington, Director of Care Improvement Associates LTD. Mr Barrington highlighted the benefits for care providers when he said, “BRINA’s Brain Gyms offer the chance to show that your care and support provision is truly outstanding.” Care Improvement Associates work in partnership with BRINA in order to ensure that the brain-training sessions are delivered to the highest standard possible.
BRINA’s latest research findings, published in July 2017, suggest that for people with mild cognitive impairment who attended Dr Kounti’s sessions for two years, the conversion rate to dementia was down to an impressive 0%. This is in stark contrast to people with untreated MCI, where 50% of sufferers see a progression into dementia within 3 years. Furthermore, people affected by dementia who participated in the scheme for two years were seen to maintain their cognitive skills. In addition to these research statistics, it is known that a number of patients with dementia have been participating in Dr Kounti’s brain-training programmes for as long as 12 years, and have been able to maintain their cognitive abilities for the duration.
The receipt of this award represents the innovative nature of the Brain Gyms and indicates the potential benefits to care home residents who are affected by mild cognitive impairment or early-stage and mid-stage dementia. Brains in Action hope to build on this success by attracting more UK care providers into their network and working with them to improve the lives of those in their care.