Gifts Provide Path to Better Brain Health

This 2022 story from our Asbury Foundation FOCUS Magazine archives is one of many inspiring stories sharing the actions of our donor family.

Despite decades of research, knowledge about the brain and how diet and other factors affect it remain largely elusive. But Asbury residents are helping to change that by participating in the cutting-edge REACT Neuro Program. Asbury Methodist Village was the first Asbury community to launch this REACT Neuro, which utilizes virtual reality technology to measure brain health. And thanks to the generosity of Foundation Board member Cindy Rosborough, this program will soon be housed in the state-of-art Rosborough Brain Health Center for Excellence.

REACT Neuro was developed by a team of internationally acclaimed neuroscientists from Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital McCance Center for Brain Health. They include Dr. Rudy Tanzi, a professor of neurology at Harvard, who discovered the first Alzheimer’s gene. About 25 residents of Asbury – none of whom have memory issues – enrolled in the REACT Neuro pilot, using the virtual reality headset by Pico Interactive to take a 7-minute exam that monitors eye movement, changes in voice, and changes in movement to measure executive function, attention, and memory.
Their data helped create REACT’s “normal” brain function benchmarks. Eventually, the tool will be used to identify markers for early detection of neurological disease and develop treatment plans that support potential cognitive decline.

When Lowell and Nancy Starling, residents at Bethany Village, heard a presentation by REACT Neuro team members in 2020, they thought it sounded too good to pass up. “There are all kinds of tools to track heart health and other conditions,” says Lowell. “We’re hoping to get some of those in place to mitigate the progression of dementia.”

Inspired by both his mother’s and his mother-in-law’s struggles with dementia, and its impact on countless others, Lowell and Nancy offered an initial gift. Mary Anne Morefield, a member of the Asbury Foundation Board, saw a need for an additional REACT virtual headset to ensure that all enrolled residents were able to participate. She funded the additional headset and also decided to join the study.

REACT Neuro at Bethany Village is spearheaded by Director of Wellness Justin Margut, who reports that residents were “knocking down the door” after just one small announcement of the program in The Scoop, the campus newsletter. Justin and his team have completed nearly 2,500 resident assessments using the virtual reality headset and is eager to see the results when completed.

Twitter Facebook

Contact Us
For More Info