Timeline of Milestones
Center for BrainHealth is establishedJanuary, 1999
Under the leadership of distinguished professor and chief director Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, the Center for BrainHealth® is established as a cognitive neuroscience research center at The University of Texas at Dallas. The term “BrainHealth” is trademarked, underscoring the novelty of the concept as distinct from mental health and brain disease or disorder.
BrainHealth® plays a key role in developing practice guidelines for research and interventions for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The BrainHealth team serves as a core member of the committee to publish best practices for speech language pathology (SLP) in dementia, establishing for the first time the prominent role of SLP expertise in dementia care.
Center for BrainHealth® develops and tests the first prototype and precursor of the BrainHealth Index, a measure of complex reasoning, synthesized thinking and memory for details (formerly Test of Specific Learning measure). Researchers find that this metric shows 92% sensitivity and 96% specificity to changes in early Alzheimer's and distinguishes those with mild cognitive impairment from healthy controls.
First annual neuroplasticity symposiumMarch, 2003
Reprogramming the Human Brain to Health makes its debut with Nobel Prize winners David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel as keynote speakers. The symposium, hosted in partnership with UC Berkeley, brings together the most pioneering minds in neuroscience from multiple fields, who present and discuss new discoveries and approaches to enhancing brain repair in humans, bridging the gap between basic brain research and human clinical treatments for the brain.
BrainHealth® develops a unique treatment approach for individuals with a recent diagnosis of Alzheimer's. Researchers find that those who participate in the strength-based intervention have a slower rate of cognitive decline, preserve language abilities, show less irritability and apathy, and report a better quality of life. Cognitive training in combination with medication does more in Alzheimer’s than medication alone.
Construction begins on BrainHealth’s state-of-the-art research facilityJanuary, 2005
A lifelong vision becomes a reality, establishing the first-ever research facility fully dedicated to the brain and building its health and capacity. The Center for BrainHealth® becomes a world leader in the new field of brain health.
A collaboration with researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and others through an NIH-funded longitudinal project documents findings of later-emerging deficits following brain injury in children, distinguishing youth trajectory of recovery from that of adults. This evidence motivates the case for long-term monitoring, proactive interventions and dynamic supports to promote recovery at each new stage in youth.
Visionary Support Drives ProgressJanuary, 2006
T. Boone Pickens makes his first contribution to Center for BrainHealth®. His support in the following years is transformative, and he remains the organization’s top benefactor to date.
A collaborative effort between Center for BrainHealth®, UT Southwestern and the Shelton School tests alternative and complementary treatments for children with ADHD – the Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Tactics, or SMART™, protocol. Results from randomized clinical trials and those first SMART Edge camps reveal significant gains in frontal lobe reasoning and executive functioning.
BrainHealth® leverages technology and clinical expertise to launch a first-of-its-kind virtual social cognition training platform called Charisma™ that features live, interactive coaching.
Thousands of youths and adults around the world have been reached through this advanced social coaching program, breaking down barriers for those with social cognition impairments and demonstrating significant gains in real-life social abilities and confidence.
Center for BrainHealth’s permanent home opensOctober, 2007
The Center for BrainHealth® opens its permanent home, thanks to a $5 million gift from Dianne Cash. The 63,000-square-foot research facility is named the Frances and Mildred Goad Building in honor of Dianne's mother, who benefited from the Center's efforts, and her grandmother.
The Friends of BrainHealth® annual donor circle is established. These ambassadors have since raised more than $3.5 million for BrainHealth and funded over 40 independent studies led by emerging scientists at a critical early point in their career.
A committed group of young professionals launches the Think Ahead Group (TAG™), a donor circle for brain health enthusiasts under age 40. Former First Lady Laura Bush spoke at the launch event, inspiring a new generation of brain health leaders.
BrainHealth® researchers launch the Adolescent Reasoning Initiative™ to deliver SMART™ in public middle school classrooms, igniting change in students’ higher-order reasoning skills as well as their state-mandated standardized test performance. The high-impact randomized clinical trial is translated into a more far-reaching train-the-teacher model to improve the way teachers teach to inspire students to create new ideas. The program later expands to high school.
Center for BrainHealth® develops and tests Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Tactics, or SMART™, as a training for healthy adults. Randomized control trial shows healthy adults can strengthen both brain structure and function, regaining years of lost functionality. These brain gains are associated with significant improvements in innovative and deeper-level thinking.
BrainHealth® launches training initiative with Active Duty Special Operations to build resilience, emotional stability and response agility. The expansion of SMART™ to accelerate mental decisions of elite performers paves the way for ongoing engagement with Active Duty military, organizational leaders, National Guard, veterans and first responders. The translational, real-world application of SMART delivered in workshop format shows improvement in cognitive performance and psychological wellbeing.
Gifts to BrainHealth® since its 1999 inception cross the $50 million mark, thanks to the generosity of private philanthropy.
BrainHealth® begins a $33 million capital campaign to build and furnish the Brain Performance Institute™. This campus expansion allows BrainHealth to meet a growing demand for its translational programming.
BrainHealth® researchers conduct a Department of Defense (DOD)-funded, randomized clinical trial with adults with brain injury who are years post-injury. Findings demonstrate that SMART™ promotes improvement in cognitive function, mood (reduction in stress and depressive symptoms) and daily function.
Empowering Texas veterans and their familiesNovember, 2016
BrainHealth® receives a Texas Veterans + Family Alliance grant through the Health and Human Services Commission, which helps build brain-healthier family units among veterans, their spouses and children in North Texas.
Trainers reach hundreds with SMART™ training, shown to accelerate recovery from brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with higher levels of reasoning, improved neural health, gains in real-life responsibilities and significant gains in mental health.
Brain Performance Institute opensOctober, 2017
Center for BrainHealth® adds a state-of-the-art facility, the Brain Performance Institute™, dedicated to translating the latest scientific findings into actionable strategies and tactics, and training people of all ages and circumstances to take charge of their brain fitness and performance.
BrainHealth® attracts 30+ of the world’s leading experts – scientists, health care providers, data analytics and technology gurus, public health authorities and more – to embark on an ambitious undertaking: launching a global movement to achieve the progress in brain health similar to what has been achieved for heart health in the past generation. These collaborators lend their expertise to develop The BrainHealth Project, which will promote awareness and enable individualized, proactive brain health journeys at an unprecedented scale.
BrainHealth® opens one-of-a-kind facility featuring the first set of scanners for the University and among the few magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines in North Texas used exclusively for human brain research. The University of Texas at Dallas BrainHealth Imaging Center focuses on measuring improvement in brain health and function.
Thanks to the generosity of individual and foundation donors, the Center for BrainHealth launches The BrainHealth® Project as the first long-term, online, strategy-based program to empower people to take charge of their brain’s fitness with science-backed training, live coaching and ongoing measurement. This marks a scalable solution through telehealth delivery of a holistic BrainHealth Index and SMART™ training, with direct personal application to participants’ daily lives.
The BrainHealth® Project shows that a virtual brain health program can measure, train and coach healthy adults and develop a data-driven index of brain health. An initial trial confirms results comparable to in-person delivery. Researchers identify cross-domain factors (clarity, fortitude and resilience) contributing to overall brain performance, indicative of the brain’s deeply integrated function. The very definition of brain health becomes completely individualized.
Center for BrainHealth® kicks off the BrainHealthy Workplace™, an organizational-level program that teaches and empowers leaders and teams to adopt healthy brain practices for improved performance and wellness. Corporate leaders are beginning to recognize that brain health is a higher category of health, with benefits to improve employee well-being, engagement and innovation. This, in turn, strengthens the bottom line.
The BrainHealth® Project is named a finalist in Fast Company’s 2021 Innovation by Design Awards (Wellness category). The online platform opens the door to a lifetime journey of brain fitness. Participants set personal goals, learn healthy brain practices, engage in exercises to reinforce new habits, get guidance from a trained BrainHealth coach, and check progress periodically with the BrainHealth Index.