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Brain Health

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” According to the WHO, depression is a common mental disorder, affecting more than 350 million people worldwide. Mental disorders also have a negative impact on business through significant disability, absenteeism, and productivity loss among working-age adults.

Stigma in society and fragmentation in the care system have resulted in inadequate identification, treatment, and community support for individuals struggling with mental illness. To challenge the stigma of mental illness head-on, highlight the biological nature of this condition, and afford it due parity to other illnesses, we refer to mental health as brain health. Health promotion, disease prevention, and disease management strategies can all be applied to promote brain health. There is increasing evidence of the positive impact of diet and physical activity on brain health, and ample evidence supporting the pivotal role of sleep in recharging the brain and enhancing memory has recently emerged. A range of cognitive and behavioral tools has become increasingly popular for brain health promotion. Critical to the management of individuals already experiencing brain health ailments are effective screening and rapid referral to quality treatment.

The Vitality Institute’s aim is to identify, evaluate, and promote evidence-based strategies for brain health promotion and destigmatization in the workplace, community, and healthcare settings.

The Evidence

From the Blog

Managing aging and cognitive decline: challenges and opportunities for financial services

It is becoming evident across borders and industries that world population changes are having a serious impact. With a predicted 2.1 billion people over 60 by 2050, significant advancements must be made in order to... More »

Dominic Lee and Derek Yach | Feb 29, 2016
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A Thought for Food Podcast Series

A Thought for Food, Series 1 and 2, are entertaining podcasts produced by The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science and Science & the City. The goal of A Thought for Food is for listeners to learn... More »

Sackler Institute For Nutrition Science |

Do Workplace Health Promotion (Wellness) Programs Work?

Authors: Goetzel, Ron Z. PhD; Henke, Rachel Mosher PhD; Tabrizi, Maryam PhD, MS; Pelletier, Kenneth R. PhD, MD (hc); Loeppke, Ron MD, MPH; Ballard, David W. PsyD, MBA; Grossmeier, Jessica PhD, MPH; Anderson, David R.... More »

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine (JOEM) | September 2014

11. Why Employers Should Care About Mental Health and Sleep (Webinar Series)

Steve Hyman (MIT/Harvard) and Stuart Quann (Harvard)

Learn More & Register | July 22, 2015 | 2-3pm ET

New Opportunities in the Changing Landscape of Prevention

By Derek Yach and Chris Calitz The focus of medical research has historically been on curative medicine, yielding better drugs, medical devices, and clinical procedures. Prevention science—the systematic application of scientific methods to the causes... More »

JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) | July 17, 2014

Improving Support for Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention: Summary of Key Messages from Reports of the Institute of Medicine

Leigh Carroll and Bridget B. Kelly, Editors   This paper was commissioned by the Vitality Institute, an organization with a mission to advance knowledge about the evolving science and art of chronic disease prevention and... More »

Institute of Medicine (IOM) | June 18, 2014


VITAL SIGNS: Forging new paths to the power of prevention in health

SOUTH African global public health specialist Dr Derek Yach is now director of The Vitality Institute in New York, and senior vice-president of The Vitality Group, Discovery’s US arm. He tells Marika Sboros about his... More »

Business Day | December 17, 2013