What Is Dementia?

SMART-BRAIN-AGING-dementia-img1According to the World Health Organization, “Dementia is a syndrome in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities.” Dementia is the “umbrella” category for all dementias including Alzheimer’s disease (the leading cause of dementia), vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and others. The Alzheimer’s Association explains many types in more detail here

While we still have much to learn about dementia, its causes, and a cure, what we do know is that it is not a normal part of aging. Our research has shown that proper cognitive exercise can impact your brain as you age in a positive way.

You may be wondering, If there’s no cure, why bother getting an assessment with a possible diagnosis? Getting an assessment when you start to notice changes in memory, confusion, or behavior is a good idea because it gives you the opportunity to do many important things, three of which are:

  1. 1. Take action with physical exercise, sleep, nutrition and cognitive exercise to maintain or increase your quality of life and maintain function as long as possible.
  2. 2. Talk with your loved ones about a care plan. This is your chance to communicate how you want the next steps to go.
  3. 3. Do all of the things you’ve always wanted to do while you are able to truly enjoy them.

Are you concerned about yourself or a loved one? There are many helpful resources online, and this one is particularly easy to understand:

Top 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

You can also make an appointment at one of our clinics to have an assessment performed and have a conversation with one of our team members. Check out our clinic locations and call 855-BSMART-0 to make an appointment.

Dr. John DenBoer’s Dementia Research

SMART Brain Aging’s programs are based on the research performed by Dr. John DenBoer and his team over the past ten years. Dr. DenBoer’s training and research includes time at VA, Boston Health Care system (Harvard Medical School/Boston University School of Medicine), Barrow Neurological Institute and has resulted in exciting results related to reducing cognitive decline and improved quality of life in aging individuals.SMART-BRAIN-AGING-dementia-img2

Dr. DenBoer’s latest research is currently in the publication process. Here are some highlights of the dementia studies:

  • Participants demonstrated an increase in cognitive ability of three points (on a scale of 30 points total) on average while using the program. We use a widely accepted scale called the MoCA assessment when testing and assessing progress of participants.
  • Participants demonstrated a “use it or lose it” pattern – when they were on the program, cognition was improving and when they spent a few weeks off of the program, their cognitive levels returned to original state. Our program is just like going to the gym – you must keep exercising to stay healthy!
  • Participants demonstrated an increased in quality of life outcomes of 2.5 points on average, using the World Health Organization’s Quality of Life scale. Anecdotally, participation in the program led to higher activity levels in multiple areas of life.

What leads to these exciting results? It is our proprietary combination of new and novel learning in a socialized environment that has enabled us to see individuals’ lives improve based on improved cognition and perceived quality of life.

Interested in exploring the programs yourself?

Just like all great advances in science, there is significant research that has come before our work to get us to this point. Learn more about related research by following these links:

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Smart Brain Aging - Founder, CEO CMO


John W. DenBoer, Ph.D.

Dr. John DenBoer is a Clinical Neuropsychologist specializing in the assessment and detection of early-stage dementia. He received his internship training at VA Boston Healthcare System (Boston University School of Medicine/Harvard University) and received his postdoctoral training at Barrow Neurological Institute. He has published extensively in the area of Clinical Neuropsychology and has been an expert speaker at many local, national, and international conferences. He is the Founder, CEO, and Chief Medical Officer of SMART Brain Aging, Inc., a company designed to help prevent and intervene in mild cognitive impairment and early-stage dementia.

In the last 3 years he has become a world-renown speaker in the area of early-stage dementia detection and treatment. This has culminated in a Netflix documentary and corresponding book, entitled “This is Dementia?!“.

SMART-BRAIN-AGING-linkedin-logo2 http://www.johndenboer.com/

Smart Brain Aging - CTO

Sal Kohgadai

Sal has served as a hands-on CIO and CTO and has over 17 years of Technology experience.

Sal’s responsible for helping people attain brain health for life through technology. He leads the engineering team in developing Brain U Online, focuses on delivering a great experience and helps team members become better leaders.

Sal has spent his professional career making technology fluid, practical and enjoyable. Due to Sal’s analytical abilities and collaborative leadership style, he’s delivered software 53% faster, steadied system uptime from 87% to 99.99%, increased productivity by 31%, and achieved an error reduction of 77% while deploying products.

Sal is an adventurer who enjoys hiking with friends, cycling, personal development, traveling, art and speaking in different languages.


Smart Brain Aging - Research Coordinator


Joan Seeling

Joan was born and raised in Waukesha, Wisconsin and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education from the University Of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She taught in Minnesota while also attaining her Master’s Degree in Reading from the University Of Minnesota. During her teaching career she has worked as a reading specialist and taught second, third, fourth, and fifth grade in Wisconsin and Arizona. Currently she volunteers at Cardon Children’s Hospital and leads the volunteer program for SMART Memory Program research. She loves to substitute teach when time allows and enjoys golfing, singing in a choir, gardening, and traveling. Joan’s true love is to help people, and her work with the SMART program gives her great joy because of the impact it has on people’s lives.

Clinic Manager


Mona Hoffman

Mona Hoffman-Raynor has worked as a Medical Office and Clinic Manager for the last 13 years, with a focus on billing, revenue generation, credentialing and negotiating insurance contracts. Mona is also experienced in start-up practices and organizational management. She is currently the Office/Clinical Manager for SMART Brain Aging.

Front Desk Manager


Ashley Selby

Ashley Selby has recently graduated and this is her first medical position She is excited to be a part of the team. She looks forward to learning the many aspects of psychology and the many dimensions of dementia.

Chief Financial Officer


Melissa Barker

Melissa Barker has worked on a wide range of accounting and audit services across the southwest and internationally, with a specialty in the healthcare industry. She is a shareholder, and financial and GAAP accounting guru at High Rock Accounting, where she assists clients with GAAP compliance, financial modeling, financial reporting, and general financial accounting inquiries. She is also the acting CFO for SMART Brain Aging.

Director of Marketing


Bob Mancini

Bob grew up in Wyoming, served 5 years in the U.S. Army and is a proud alumnus of the University of Missouri-Rolla. He and his wife Sun live with their son and two suspicious cats in Mesa Arizona. He believes in sales from service, the powers of intention and culture and the technology that converts breakdowns into breakthroughs. After more than a decade, leading business development efforts and teams in senior markets and healthcare, Bob employs his connections and leverages his expertise and experience to help the team at Smart Brain Aging to optimize their business development operations, to attract, cultivate and retain the right people and to develop strategies that grow business. He is very pleased and excited to be working with the dynamic people of Smart Brain Aging.

Assisted Living/Independent Living – Marketing Liason


Jeff Brown

He graduated from Arizona State University and taught at Paradise Valley High School. He spent several years in the Financial Services industry with Phoenix Mutual & Conn. General Life insurance companies, including series 6 & 63 licenses.

He spent 20 years in Retail/Commercial Banking in Phoenix, 10 years as the Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing for DHR, a local PEO (Professional Employer Organization).

Most recently Jeff has been a Senior caregiver & Placement Advisor for 15+ years specializing with clients that have Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s & COPD. He has worked with Fortune 100 & 500 CEO’s, business owner’s & Professional Athletes.

Research Director and Grant Writer


Tom Swann

Tom Swann is a serial entrepreneur having started several businesses in New Mexico and Arizona. Born and educated in Michigan, he moved to New Mexico in 1978 to work at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. In 1983, Swann left his position at the Los Alamos National Laboratory to start his first business, Optomec, Inc., which is a very successful additive manufacturing business located in Albuquerque, NM.

For 2-1/2 years, Swann worked for the Maricopa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) stationed in the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation, as a business analyst helping small technology businesses grow and prosper. He left the SBDC in March 2015 to start Mesa Technology Group LLC, through which he is providing business and engineering consulting services.

Swann holds a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI and a MBA from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM. Topics of particular interest to Swann are the 3D printing and additive manufacturing industries, investor pitches and winning government contracts, particularly National Institute of Health Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants.

Swann’s office is in the LaunchPoint Accelerator in the Mesa Center for Higher Education in downtown Mesa, AZ.

Marketing & Public Relations

Calli Varner

Calli is our online marketing and PR specialist, which includes blogging and managing our social media accounts. She has a passion for writing and is a proud graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. Calli is originally from Lake Havasu City and enjoys watching football, doing yoga and spending time with her cat, Lt Dan. She also plays a very active role in two local rescues.

Stephen W. Brown, Ph.D.


Stephen W. Brown, Ph.D.

Stephen W. Brown is the Emeritus Edward M. Carson Chair and Professor of Marketing with the W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University. He currently is a Distinguished Faculty with the Center for Services Leadership, and also a Strategic Partner with The INSIGHT Group. From its founding in 1985 until May 2011, he served as the CSL’s executive director. He is also a former national president of the American Marketing Association.

Professor Brown has co-authored and co-edited 23 books and over 100 articles. Much of his research and writing focuses on the science of service and the topics of strategic services marketing, service excellence and recovering from service failures. Currently, he’s devoting major research, executive teaching and consulting to the area of service infusion or growing service revenues in product-dominant companies. His latest book published in 2014 is Profiting From Services & Solutions.

Dr. Brown has been identified as one of the ten most frequent contributors to the English-language services marketing literature in the world. He’s been awarded honorary doctoral degrees from the HANKEN School of Economics in Finland and from Karlstad University in Sweden. He is the recipient of the Career Contributions to Services Marketing Award from the American Marketing Association and the Educator of the Year Award from the Association for Service Management International. He serves as a speaker and seminar leader for conferences and business meetings around the world.

Dr. Brown has co-founded three companies, and he serves on the boards of directors of several companies and a non profit organization.

Marty Zwilling


Marty Zwilling

Marty Zwilling‘s passion is nurturing the development of leaders and entrepreneurs by providing first-hand mentoring, advisory board services, funding assistance, and business plan development. He is the Founder and CEO of Startup Professionals, a company that provides products and services to startup founders and small business owners.

He writes a daily blog for entrepreneurs, and dispenses advice on the subjects of leadership and startups to a large online audience of over 940,000 Twitter followers. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, and the Huffington Post. He has also published three books, “Do YOU Have What It Takes To Be An Entrepreneur?” “Attracting an Angel,” and “StartupPro: How to set up and grow a tech business.”
He has a 30-year track record of demonstrated results as an executive in general management, computer software development, product management, and marketing, as well as in leading technical business transformations, conducting due diligence for investors, mentoring new technical executives, and overseeing business development, customer service, and outsourcing both onshore and offshore.

Marty began his career with IBM, holding an array of positions including executive roles in software development and professional services. Prior to launching on his professional path, Marty’s education included the attainment of Bachelor of Science Degrees in Accounting and a Minor in Computer Science from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.

A resident of Fountain Hills, Arizona, with his wife Libby, Marty is an active member of the local Angel investment group (Arizona Tech Investors), a Venture Mentor at Arizona State University, and member of the Advisory Boards for several startups in the area.

Steven Chung, MBA


Steven Chung, MBA

Steven Chung is the co-founder of Senior Living Advisory Group of Scottsdale. A former associate partner for an international general management consulting firm based in NY, Steven also served as a senior executive for a major aerospace corporation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in Business Management. He and his wife Martha have been married for over 27 years with 3 wonderful children.

Rick Munson


Rick Munson

Rick Munson is the founder and leader of three companies over a 40-year career resulting in the successful merger and or acquisition of each organization. He has proven leadership skills resulting from growing companies and extensive military experience as an officer and Distinguished Military Graduate from the United States Army.

He Graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, distinguished Military Graduate with honors.

Zach Ferres


Zach Ferres

Zach Ferres is the CEO of Coplex, a Phoenix and LA based Startup Studio. He’s also a founding Partner at Coplex Ventures, a newly formed venture capital fund and columnist for Entrepreneur Magazine. Speaker. Runner. Engineer (not the train kind).


Alyssa Avila

Alyssa is from a small town in the Vail, CO area where her family still resides. She has lived in El Paso, TX  as well as Fairbanks, AK with her two labs (Ginger & Marley) because her husband was in the military.

She finally made her way to Phoenix, AZ May of 2017 where she started with SMART Brain Aging. She started out as our receptionist at our Scottsdale location and has greatly made her way up to Office Manager.

Outside of SMART Brain Aging Alyssa likes to go camping, be with her dogs and socialize with friends and family.

Director of Operations

Jessie Childers

Jessie Childers was born and raised in Arizona. She has been in the healthcare industry for 20 years working in all aspects of healthcare with 10 of those years in management. Jessie is currently the Director of Operations overseeing the day to day running of the Smart Brain clinics and operations.

Jessie enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family.

Director of Operations

Jessie Childers

Jessie Childers was born and raised in Arizona. She has been in the healthcare industry for 20 years working in all aspects of healthcare with 10 of those years in management. Jessie is currently the Director of Operations overseeing the day to day running of the Smart Brain clinics and operations.

Jessie enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family.


Ashley Wohletz

Ashley grew up in Casper Wyoming and earned her B.S. in Social Work with a minor in Criminal Justice from the University of Wyoming. After completing college Ashley began working with the geriatric population with in the hospice setting. She, with the help of community action board members created a palliative care program to assist vulnerable aging adults. Ashley would later run this program along with caregiver and grief support groups. Ashley spent time volunteering with St. Vincent De Paul which included being on the board for 7 years, 4 of which she was president. Ashley enjoys attending events and has co-chaired several event committees for non profit organizations that raise money for vulnerable adults and adolescents.

Ashley enjoys spending time with her children and family, listening to live bands, running, boxing, golf and watching college sports “Go Pokes”!
Ashley moved to Arizona in 2016, she enjoys the culture of the Phoenix area and the climate. .

Do you love helping people and understand the importance of keeping the mind sharp? 

If so, YOU might be who we are looking for.  Join us on our journey to mitigate this devastating disease called dementia..

Open Positions



We Are Hiring

Careers @ SMART Brain Aging

Do you love helping people and understand the importance of keeping the mind sharp?

If so, YOU might be who we are looking for. Join us on our journey to mitigate this devastating disease called dementia. For more information, check out our Open Positions