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Matters of the mind—Betsy Nelson's journey with the brain

Matters of the mind—Betsy Nelson's journey with the brain

HANAH is proud to share Betsy Nelson’s story of her very personal experience with Alzheimer’s and her participation in a 50,000+ person brain health study by the University of California, San Francisco. Betsy currently serves as Board President for Fashion Incubator, San Francisco and was formerly a Vice President, Media Relations and Cause Marketing for Macy’s, Inc. Perhaps most importantly, she’s living a fruitful retirement where she practices Pilates daily and is the chief gardener of her beautiful home. 

We love stories like Betsy’s. She is an inspiration to us at HANAH for how she appreciates a healthy life, lives her days to the fullest, and makes the most out of every moment.

Matters of the mind—my journey with the brain

By Betsy Nelson

Hearing that someone you love has Alzheimer’s Disease is life changing. That moment came for me in 2002 when I watched my mother go from a curious and engaged woman to someone who was lost and couldn’t speak. I was surprised to discover how little we know about the brain, the complex organ that monitors and controls all the functions of the body. Researchers are making progress, but there is still so much that needs to be understood.

Fast forward to 2009 and another life-altering diagnosis, this time someone I love was diagnosed with a brain disorder. We sought out numerous doctors and information from the National Alliance on Mental Illness to understand bipolar disorder. I read articles, books and studies about neurons, telomeres, plaque and tangles. We even attended the brain series at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Mini Medical School to learn more.

Back to school

back to school Betsy Nelson Brain Games HANAH ONE University of California, San Francisco, UCSF

Listening and learning soon turned to action.

I joined the UCSF Brain Health Registry in 2014 to help researchers more quickly find cures for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, depression, PTSD, and other brain disorders. There are more than 52,000 people participating in the project. Every 3-6 months we receive a reminder to check in, update our health information, and play the games. The brain-training program I use shares my performance information directly with the UCSF team.

I brain trained daily and tracked my progress. By April 2015, after continuous improvement for 18 months, I stalled in the 98-98.8 percentile for my age group.

Enter HANAH ONE. In February of 2016, I began adding HANAH ONE to my daily coffee, and by mid-March, I finally moved to the 99.1 percentile. While it may not sound like a huge change, it is in reality, very significant.

Adding HANAH ONE to my life was the only change I made during this period, and the only way to explain the peak in my performance. I’m not a scientist, but I do know the positive impacts it has had on me and my life. I still brain train almost every day, and I certainly never have my morning coffee without HANAH ONE.

Betsy's favorite coffee recipe 


  • 8 ounces locally roasted Indian Monsoon coffee
  • 1 tablespoon HANAH ONE
  • Pinch organic Turbinado sugar
  • Splash organic milk


  1. Make coffee in French press
  2. Pour into cup and add HANAH ONE, sugar and milk
  3. Find a brain game to sharpen your mind

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