It is a social media challenge that will upend the way we look at dementia and other brain-aging disorders that disproportionately affect women. Literally.
Thousands of supporters of Women’s Brain Health Initiative (WBHI) across Canada, the United States, and around the globe are doing headstands to support the cause and raise money for vital sex-based research and preventative health education.
The organization is launching the campaign on the first-ever Women’s Brain Health Day, December 2, which has just been officially proclaimed by the Government of Canada.
Participants in the Stand Ahead™ Challenge will post videos or pictures on social media in which they speak about the importance of standing up against research bias and standing ahead for women’s brain health. They do a headstand, then challenge two people to do the same within 48 hours and make a donation to WBHI. Their posts include the hashtag #StandAhead.
As part of the campaign, WBHI unveiled a powerful video in which public figures deliver passionate appeals to support the cause. Participants include Jeanne Becker, Pooja Handa, Cheryl Hickey, Sean Jones, Anne-Marie Mediwake, Dina Pugliese, Jennifer Valentyne, Paul Godfrey and Karman Wong. Watch the video here.
Not everyone can or should do a headstand, but you can designate a friend to do one on your behalf.
Here is some advice on how to do a supported headstand safely.
Here’s why the Stand Ahead™ Challenge matters:
- Almost 70% of people with Alzheimer’s are women;
- Women suffer from depression, stress, and anxiety twice as much as men;
- More woman die from stroke and more women are worse off after stroke.
Yet the vast majority of research into these disorders is focused on men.
WBHI is a national charity that strives to correct the imbalance. It funds cutting edge research that explore the differences between female and male brains. WBHI also creates innovative education programs, based on science, to teach us how we can best protect our brain health.
“We hope that the Stand Ahead Challenge will spark an important conversation about brain health and about how researchers need to explore the reasons why women suffer from dementia and other brain-aging disorders more than men,” said WBHI Founder and CEO Lynn Posluns.
Posluns said that WBHI is deeply grateful for the support of Brain Canada, which will be matching donations for women’s brain health research through its partnership with Health Canada, up to $250,000, effectively doubling the value of each contribution.
“To date, Brain Canada has invested more than $3.25 million in six research programs across Canada with a sex and/or gender component, and we are delighted to be committing matching funds for the Stand Ahead Challenge. This will enable us to expand our support of women’s brain health research, through a long-standing partnership with Women’s Brain Health Initiative. In addition to our focus on sex and gender, Brain Canada’s goal is to consider diversity in all its forms. Only then can research ultimately benefit all of society,” said Inez Jabalpurwala, President and CEO of Brain Canada Foundation.
Headstands are more than just a playground stunt for kids. In yoga this pose is known as sirsasana, the “king” of poses, an energizing inversion that strengthens the upper body and the core and is believed to improve circulation. The editors of Yoga Journal say the pose calms the brain and reduces stress.
For more information about the challenge and how to donate: http://standahead.org
Learn more about WBHI, its research programs and brain health: https://womensbrainhealth.org