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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What Do "Rethinking Drinking" and "How to Improve Brain Function in Older Adults" Have in Common?


29 Kislev 5770

Interesting question up there, huh?

Here's the answer: Both topics are being addressed by medical researchers today because new information about better solutions for the future is available.

"Rethinking Drinking" is the title of a meeting taking place among National Institutes of Health researchers today. Other medical researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are advising the public about "How to Improve Brain Function in Older Adults" in their press releases today.

About the bubbly: NIH doctors will answer some questions about holiday drinking in light of recent research regarding:

-- Who is at risk of negative outcomes from drinking and why?

-- Where does risk kick in?

-- Does at-risk drinking indicate that the drinker is an alcoholic?

-- How can holiday party guests and hosts recognize risky drinking patterns and prevent short- and long-term consequences of alcohol abuse?

For more information from The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the primary U.S. agency for conducting and supporting research on the causes, consequences, prevention, and treatment of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and alcohol problems, see

I'm confident that we'll be
learning of their remarks
before New Year's weekend.

Now, on to full inclusion in society for all generations:

The Hopkins folks indicate that " Volunteer service, such as tutoring children, can help older adults delay or reverse declining brain function, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), the researchers found that seniors participating in a youth mentoring program made gains in key brain regions that support cognitive abilities important to planning and organizing one's daily life. The study is the first of its kind to demonstrate that valuable social service programs, such as Experience Corps -- a program designed to both benefit children and older adults' health -- can have the added benefits of improving the cognitive abilities of older adults, enhancing their quality of life. The study is published in the December issue of the Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

"We found that participating in Experience Corps resulted in improvements in cognitive functioning and this was associated with significant changes in brain activation patterns," said lead investigator Michelle C. Carlson, PhD, associate professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of Mental Health and Center on Aging and Health. "Essentially the intervention improved brain and cognitive function in these older adults."

"As life expectancies increase, it's important, from a public health standpoint, to delay the onset of diseases associated with aging," said senior author Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH, dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. "This study suggests that new kinds of roles for older adults in our aging society can be designed as a win-win, for addressing important societal needs, such as our children's success, and simultaneously the health and well-being of the older volunteers themselves."

OK, readers, you know what to do (even if you must make repeated efforts to succeed): Stock up on delicious, satisfying beverages that don't threaten to ruin or end lives, and seek creative opportunities for including every generation in fulfilling, enjoyable activities. EVERYONE involved can benefit from that!

EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical (and Social!) Challenge.

Yocheved Golani
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