Tuesday, October 27, 2015

DG XXXV: The ECF vs the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

What is this guideline about?

The aim is to delay the onset of dementia, disability and frailty, increasing the amount of time that people can be independent, healthy and active in later life (successful ageing) by:

  • helping people stop smoking, be more active, reduce alcohol consumption, improve their diet and, if necessary, lose weight and maintain a healthy weight
  • reducing the incidence of other non-communicable chronic conditions that can contribute to onset of dementia, disability and frailty
  • increasing people's resilience, for example by improving their social and emotional wellbeing.
Dementia, disability and frailty in later life – mid-life approaches to delay or prevent onset [NG16], National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 20 October 2015, page 4

That’s fairly clear I think. No mention of chess. No mention of mind sports. No mention, even, of cognitively stimulating activities.

What are the NICE recommendations for what those of us in "mid-life" (defined as aged 40 to 64 in the guidelines) can do to help minimise our risk of developing dementia in later life or to delay its onset? They are as you see above.

The agenda - DG XXVII: The ECF vs Mrs Sally WiliamsDG XXVIII: The ECF vs The Daily ExpressDG XXXI: "many scientists", many claims; DG XXXII: Election Day - that the English Chess Federation has been pushing of late? It simply doesn’t feature. At all.

But why?

Chess Not Found

How to account for the discrepancy between the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s conclusions and those statements from the ECF?

There is an emerging awareness of the effectiveness of chess in delaying the onset of Alzheimers (sic)
John Foley (see DG XXVII)

Although further studies are required for definitive proof, many scientists believe that mind sports activity, such as chess, may delay the onset of Alzheimers (sic)
Mike Gunn and Phil Ehr (see DG XXXII)

I can think of two possibilities.


we consider the ECF’s statements to be ill-considered and under-researched (where they were researched at all).


we explore the possibility that NICE is merely masquerading as a public health body with a remit to provide "national guidance and advice to improve health and social care". Are they actually a front organisation for the shadowy nexus that turned two-thirds of the ECF officials cited above into former ECF officials? Like the International Longevity Centre, perhaps, which published a report in July 2014 - Preventing Dementia: a provocation - that also failed to bother with chess, mind sports or cognitively stimulating activities.

Not sure which one it is. Best be vigilant and keep an eye out for that nexus just in case.

Chess and Dementia Index