Download article as PDF >

The Nation’s First “Cognitive Shop”

The Center for Cognitive Fitness & Innovative Therapies


by Kenneth S. Kosik, MD

Founder and executive director of the Center for Cognitive Fitness & Innovative Therapies


Not very long ago, the loss of intellectual function associated with aging was largely regarded as one’s inevitable fate, something we labeled “senility.” Over the past two decades, our understanding of age-related intellectual decline has significantly deepened. The elegance of scientific discoveries and the fascination with the human brain must be tempered with the fact that we still lack treatments for neurodegenerative disease.


It is instructive to look across the medical landscape to the 1960s, when we opened a “war on cancer.” Millions of dollars were spent with little to show because the tools of molecular biology, necessary for a truly in-depth understanding, were not in place. As we entered the molecular and genomic eras, we could see the flaw in those early approaches to cancer. It was as if a cure for cancer would cure all cancers because it was one disease. Wrong. Instead, we have chipped away at the specific vulnerabilities of each tumor type and little by little we are learning about each type of cancer.

Post script: CFIT becomes CCBF>


•    Director's Letter
•    In-Flight Stroke Care
•    Brain Metastases
•    Obstructive Sleep Apnea
•    CFIT
•    TBI Monitoring
  Syringomyelia Treatment
  2010 Saving the Brain Symposium

>> Download PDF


Similarly, intellectual decline and memory loss among elders is not a single entity. Much of dementia is lumped into the category of Alzheimer’s disease, but we are realizing that other diseases account for a portion of all dementia cases. We are increasingly realizing that the inherited risk for Alzheimer’s disease stems from a diverse collection of genetic polymorphisms. And importantly, pure Alzheimer’s disease is probably less common than mixed dementia, a condition in which Alzheimer pathology co-exists with vascular pathology. Measurements of the hallmark proteins in the senile plaques and the neurofibrillary tangles in patient’s cerebrospinal fluid, and even in blood, are making diagnosis more precise and making pre-symptomatic detection possible.


Armed with more information and predictive data about our risk for neurodegenerative disease, we face the question “What can we do right now, before pharmacological treatments arrive?” For this reason, we are pleased to introduce the Center for Cognitive Fitness & Innovative Therapies (CFIT)—the first “brain shop” in the nation—where we assess risk for cognitive decline and implement all known measures to reduce risk with an integrated team of experts in both the medical and lifestyle fields in an outpatient nonprofit clinic located on the grounds of Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital. Each client at CFIT is given a comprehensive assessment and then a personalized program to help address that person’s unique risks. If your patient has primary complaints of memory loss or family members with dementia, we can help.


At our genesis, we have had the fortunate opportunity to work closely with Santa Barbara Neuroscience Institute at Cottage Health System and Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital as well as with the University of California, Santa Barbara, to build a lasting community-based program with national reach.


For more information, call (805) 899-7777, visit or e-mail The address for the Center for Cognitive Fitness & Innovative Therapies is 2409 De La Vina, Santa Barbara, CA 93105


< Return to Winter 2011 NEUROtransmitter