Brain Health Across the Lifespan
Brain fitness: a solution for healthy aging
The loss of brain health commonly associated with aging can be devastating. Beyond the personal toll on patients and their families, deteriorating cognitive and mental health affects all of us and represents a substantial challenge to our healthcare system and communities. Now is the time to change how science and society think about aging, cognitive and mental disease, focusing on what we are calling lifelong brain fitness.
Vastly more advanced than any supercomputer, the complexity and versatility of the human brain is awe-inspiring. Of all its abilities, learning from new experiences might be the most powerful and astounding feature. But how does learning occur? And how do we remember what we learn?
We know that our experiences shape the way we learn. If we are familiar with a task, like cooking, learning a new recipe is easier than it was when we were a novice. New research from the University of California, Davis, shows that experience also changes the way our neurons become plastic and form new memories.
Charles DeCarli, neurologist and director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center, and Kimberley McAllister, director of the Center for Neuroscience and professor in the neurology and neurobiology, physiology and behavior departments, are taking an interdisciplinary approach to rethink how brain health is defined as champions of the Healthy Brain Aging Initiative: Brain Health Across the Lifespan Big Idea for UC Davis.
Information abounds on the kinds of exercise that can keep your body strong, but what will keep your mind healthy? That’s a question researchers Charles DeCarli and Kimberley McAllister hope to answer with the Healthy Brain Aging Initiative: Brain Health Across the Lifespan, a long-term research project under development among numerous UC Davis departments. Another long-term research project, Healthy Aging in a Digital World, investigates using technology to provide efficient care across a person’s lifespan.
As you gather with children this Father’s Day weekend, consider how far you would go to ensure their well-being: If your child had cancer or diabetes, would you wait until the disease were critical before you called doctors to intervene?