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UPMC Health Plan Offers Brain Fitness Software to Improve Health
Date:12/11/2009

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- UPMC Health Plan announced today that it has signed an agreement to offer award-winning brain fitness software from Posit Science®, at no cost, to all UPMC for Life Medicare Advantage members. This brain training program is a new part of the UPMC Health Plan wellness services, which focus on both mind and body fitness.

The brain fitness software, known as the Insight(TM) Brain Fitness Program, is a suite of five game-like computer exercises that make brain training challenging and effective. The program engages the brain's natural plasticity (the brain's ability to rewire itself) to improve basic brain function.

Michael Merzenich, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of Posit Science, was recently elected to the Institute of Medicine for his work showing that operations of the adult brain can be significantly improved with the right kind of mental stimulation. Posit Science technology has now been vetted in more than 60 peer-reviewed articles in science and medical journals, showing it improves speed of processing, attention, memory, and quality of life measures.

"We are excited that UPMC Health Plan chose our brain fitness training as a way to revitalize the aging brain," said Dr. Merzenich. "Research trials have shown that spending consistent time on these exercises helps users think quicker, focus better, and remember more of what's going on in their everyday lives."

In addition to improving cognitive health, brain fitness exercise - much like physical exercise - can also improve general health outcomes. Recent studies show the Posit Science exercises improve functional independence, self-confidence, and health-related quality of life. A report funded by the National Institutes of Health indicates that use of the exercises should also reduce health care costs.

"Brain health is important because it affects what matters most - quality of life, emotional health, relationships, everyday tasks, work, and hobbies," said Cathy Batteer, UPMC Health Plan's vice president, Medicare. "Fitness isn't just about your body anymore. We care about overall mind-body wellness, so we are thrilled to be the first health plan in this region to provide our members with this brain fitness software."

Current or new UPMC for Life members who enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, can get the brain fitness software for no additional cost. The program, which retails for $395, will be available to members who request it after Jan. 1, 2010. Members who want the program will get a CD-ROM that can be easily loaded onto a home computer. No prior computer experience is needed to operate the program.

UPMC Health Plan offers a wide range of Medicare-approved plans through UPMC for Life. A variety of HMO and PPO plans are offered, as well as a range of products that include Part D prescription drug coverage.

About UPMC Health Plan

UPMC Health Plan, the second-largest health insurer in western Pennsylvania, is owned by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), one of the nation's top-ranked health systems. The integrated partner companies of the UPMC Insurance Services Division - which includes UPMC Health Plan, UPMC Work Partners, LifeSolutions (EAP), UPMC for You (Medical Assistance), and Community Care Behavioral Health - offer a full range of group health insurance, Medicare, Special Needs, CHIP, Medical Assistance, behavioral health, employee assistance, and workers' compensation products and services to nearly 1.3 million members. Our local provider network includes UPMC as well as community providers, totaling more than 80 hospitals and more than 7,600 physicians in a 29-county region. For more information, visit www.upmchealthplan.com.

About Posit Science

Posit Science is the leader in delivering clinically proven brain fitness software. The company combines breakthrough research and a focus on great customer experiences to create products that are engaging and help users think faster, focus better and remember more. Staff neuroscientists, engineers and video game developers collaborate with more than 50 scientists from leading research institutions to design, build and test computer-based training programs. For more information, visit www.PositScience.com.

SOURCE UPMC Health Plan


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SOURCE UPMC Health Plan
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