Remember, Our Gray Matter Matters (and a Giveaway!)

Women's Brain Health Initiative

A post by Lynn Posluns, Founder & President of the Women’s Brain Health Initiative:

I do wonder if it’s distraction when I can’t find my car in the parking lot…or if something more serious is going on. And it scares me.

What is more frightening is learning that almost 70% of new Alzheimer’s sufferers will be women[1], but research today still focuses on men. Even at the grass roots level of research, it is the male rat that’s studied because the hormones in the female rat make it too complex[2]. Whoa.

Scientists recognized twenty years ago that a man’s heart attack was different from a woman’s, and addressing those differences meant a healthier outcome for both.

Naturally, I wondered who was studying the female aging brain to understand where differences occurred, and what was being done about it – I was flabbergasted to discover the real lack of female-based research.

In the U.S. someone new succumbs to Alzheimer’s – the most prevalent form of dementia – every 68 seconds[3]. Worldwide, there are more than 35 million people living with dementia. This number will more than triple by 2050 to over 115 million! [4] The cost of care in the U.S. alone will be over $1.2 trillion.[5]

When symptoms surface it is likely that the damage to the brain began 10 to 20 years prior.[6] There are no survivors of Alzheimer’s. If you do not die from Alzheimer’s disease, you die with it.[7]

Women, as the major caregivers, and the most susceptible, will be hardest hit.

Once I was armed with all this great news about the future of women’s brain health, I had to decide what I was going to do about it.

The more I learned, the more compelled I felt to raise money to fund research to combat women’s brain aging disorders. No stranger to fundraising, I created the Women’s Brain Health Initiative.

Our promise is a simple one –

We cannot and will not forget the women in our lives.

We will not forget that women are twice as likely to become victims of aging brain disorder – the most significant health and social crisis facing the world.

We cannot forget that there is neither a theory to explain this nor a will to find one.

And we will not stand idly by and wait for this oncoming disaster to strike without raising a finger to stop it.

Our mandate is therefore clear and resolute.

We will raise awareness of this imminent crisis, as well as raise money to combat it.

We will focus on the stories of those affected instead of just those afflicted, and will raise a global movement inspired to combat women’s brain aging disorders through investment in focused and innovative research.

As I build this new global foundation, I haven’t lost sight of all the women who are frightened because there is a history of dementia in their families, or are frightened because they don’t know where to get the information they need to make critical decisions for themselves or a loved one.

The Women’s Brain Health Initiative is for women like them. Like us. Committed to sharing information about what researchers are currently studying and what their findings will mean to all of us.

For example, new research has shown that the incidence of dementia increases 140% if you have a hysterectomy and both ovaries removed before natural menopause[8].

That you’re more likely to succumb to Alzheimer’s if your mother had it than if your father did[9].

And that the majority of Alzheimer’s cases are lifestyle related and are not caused by a genetic predisposition[10].

The good news is that it’s not too late to make some effective changes that will have a positive influence on how one ages.

There is lots of evidence that what is good for your heart is also good for your brain.

Research has shown that good eating habits, exercise, and social connectivity will all have a positive impact on your brain health[11].

To learn more about us, please visit  Together, we can make a difference for women everywhere.

Giveaway: Friend for the Ride is purchasing and giving away two stainless steel Hope-Knot pins.  Read more about the Hope-Knot here.  To enter the giveaway, simply post a comment by June 20 saying that you would like to win a pin.


Lynn Posluns is Founder and President of the Women’s Brain Health Initiative, the global foundation raising money for research and education to combat women’s aging brain disorders.

Since graduating from the University of Toronto with an undergraduate degree in Commerce & Finance, and an MBA, Lynn has held a number of positions within the Retail and Fashion industries. Lynn is currently Managing Director of Cedarpoint Investments Inc., a private equity and alternative investments firm based in Toronto.

Lynn has been involved in many philanthropic causes within the healthcare, education, fashion and arts industries, raising millions of dollars for these and other worthy causes. In 2010 Lynn won the Baycrest Award for Foundation Leadership. In 2012 she received the ICRF Women of Action award for Philanthropy and also the Women’s Executive Network’s prestigious “Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women” Award, which celebrates the professional achievements of women across the country in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.



[1] Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, 2010, Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society

[2] Sari Harrar, September 2008, Of Mice and Women: Testing Lab Animals to Understand Our Health, O, The Oprah Magazine

Sue Pigg, March 19, 2011 Minnie Mouse Left Out of Laboratory Research, Toronto Star

[3] World Health Organization and Alzheimer’s International, 2012, Dementia: A Public Health Priority

[4] Alzheimer’s Association, 2012, 2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Volume 8, Issue 2.

[5] Alzheimer’s Association 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures

[6] Dr. Reisa A. Sperling, director of the Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment at Harvard Medical School, June 2012,

[7] Alzheimer’s Association 2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures

[8] William H. Parker, Vanessa Jacoby, Donna Shoupe & Walter Rocca, 2009, Effect of Bilateral Oophorectomy on Women’s Long-term Health Women’s Health 5(5) 565-567, Future Medicine

[9] American Academy of Neurology, February 28, 2011,

[10] Identical Twins Study, Alzheimer’s Society Canada, April 18, 2012,

[11] Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, Risk Factors,

Memory, Menopause, Menopause Symptoms

Still Alice: Early-onset Alzheimer’s (and a Book Giveaway!)

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A  post by my friend and book club devotee Susan Bellinger:

One of the most aggravating symptoms of menopause is memory loss, or at least it is for me.  But I know I’m not the only one who worries that I’m “losing it” or that Alzheimer’s Disease is creeping up.

My book club recently read Lisa Genova’s Still AliceAlice is 50 years old,  the mother of 3 grown children, a loving wife, and a well respected professor of cognitive psychology at Harvard.  Alice seemingly has it all.

However, her life is becoming increasingly disrupted by forgetfulness and occasional disorientation.

Alice becomes very worried by her symptoms but clings to the hope that they are caused by menopause because the alternatives are too disturbing to even think about.

Alice’s world is shattered when she visits her family doctor:

        “Can estrogen replacement help with the memory problems?”

        “…  I don’t think your memory problems are due to menopause.”

       The blood rushed from Alice’s head.  Precisely the words she’d dreaded and only recently dared to      consider.  With that one, professionally uttered opinion, her tidy and safe explanation shattered.  Something was wrong with her, and she wasn’t sure that she was ready to hear what it was. She fought the impulses growing louder insider her, begging her to either lie down or get the hell out of that examining room immediately.

Genova’s best-selling novel takes the reader through the diagnostic process, and we see how Alice and her family deal with her early-onset Alzheimer’s and its progress.

What makes this book unique is that it’s told by Alice herself, the first book that lets a reader enter the mind of a person who has the disease.

The author, who has a PhD in neuroscience from Harvard, spent over a year researching the disease and talking in depth to Alzheimer’s patients.

When I led the discussion of Still Alice during book club, I was shocked that the majority of our club had someone close to them who had the disease or some form of dementia.

But I shouldn’t have been surprised because, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 8 older American have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

I highly recommend Still Alice. It’s a first rate page-turner, a warm and loving story of a family coming to grips with the unexpected, and ends on a hopeful note.

And, as a bonus, it gives us valuable, up to date information on the disease and treatments.

Listen to the author, Lisa Genova, tell how the novel began:

Giveaway:  To win a copy of Lisa Genova’s Still Alice, leave a comment by April 2 saying you’d like to be the winner.

Susan Bellinger and  her husband Dwight live in Hillsborough, NC and both have mothers with memory problems.  Their two daughters have grown up and are now living in Vermont and Prague, Czech Republic.

Photo Below:  Susan’s mom read to her when she was a child and continued the tradition with Susan’s daughters.  Here she reads to her granddaughter, Gwen, now 22.

Jean and Gwen copy