Filed under Brain

Music, the Brain, Aging, and Memory Diseases

We live with music throughout our lives — it surrounds people no matter what their age. Children, of course, love to sing at almost as soon as they are born, but music, even for those who are not musicians, is a part of the air people breathe. Interestingly, music appears to become even more important as people age and contributes … Continue reading

Can You Positively Affect Your Cognitive Aging?

Earlier this summer I attended an engaging lecture given by Charles M. Reynolds, III, MD, a professor of Geriatric Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In his talk, Brain Health As You Age: You Can Make a Difference, Dr. Reynolds discussed information aging and the changes that occur in the … Continue reading

Music that Heals the Soul

Music by itself cannot heal a disease. No one these days, however, disputes that music can heal the soul, making illness more bearable. Some time ago I wrote about Alive Inside, a movie that documents the success of therapeutic music programs with elderly participants who have dementia of Alzheimers. The program, started by Dan Cohen, pairs … Continue reading

So How Does Music Connect With the Brain?

I’ve watched in wonder as music changes people — kids, adults, people who are ill, elders, and caregivers. Of course, the movie Alive Inside visually documents how music can affect people, even those with substantial memory loss. But what exactly is happening in the brain? In the process of wondering, I came across an excellent video … Continue reading

Alive Inside: This Movie Is Extraordinary!

You know a movie speaks to the audience when people just sit there as the credits start to roll rather than getting up and moving out. That’s what happened this evening when my husband and I went to see Alive Inside, the Sundance award-winning documentary about the role that music plays in the lives of elderly people who … Continue reading

Grandma by Jessica Shepherd: A Book Review

Recently I discovered a children’s book, Grandma, that tells a story, from a child’s point of view, about a much-loved grandmother who develops dementia. As an educator, I’ve often thought about the need for books that help children understand the disease while illustrating how to continue to love and support a family member who experiences dramatic memory changes. Only … Continue reading

Exercise, Computer Use, and Cognitive Impairment

A research study published in the May 2012 issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings finds an association between computer activities, physical exercise and reduced mild cognitive impairment. The article Computer Activities, Physical Exercise, Aging, and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Population-Based Study (PDF) reports on an ongoing population study that randomly sampled 926 individuals in Olmsted, Minnesota … Continue reading

Understand More About Age-Related Memory Loss

Just about everyone — aging parents and adult children — worry about memory loss, though many of us turn our angst into jokes about senior moments. This book looks interesting. While I don’t always learn cutting edge new information by reading these Harvard  health publications, I often find the chock full of information that keeps … Continue reading

Staying Sharp in Middle Age and Keeping It that Way

For weeks I’ve been intending to post a link to A Sharper Mind, Middle Age and Beyond, a New York Times article that appeared on January 19, 2012. The article, by Patricia Cohen, addresses mental fitness of  people as they age and  examines the reasons that brain power changes as people grow older. Especially interesting … Continue reading

Another Post on Dementia and The Iron Lady

Karin Kasdin writes on dementia and the Margaret Thatcher movie, The Iron Lady,  reflecting and reinforcing some of my thoughts in Dementia, Margaret Thatcher, and What It’s Really Like (January 15, 2012). Moreover, she writes more about privacy issues, includes an insightful quote from Meryl Streep, and deftly identifies the fear that many adult children experience — and I include myself here — when … Continue reading

Does Musical Training Influence Cognitive Aging?

Does musical training have any effect on the aging brain? Scientists at the University of Kansas Medical Center asked this question. They wondered whether the experience of learning and practicing an instrument and the resulting sensorimotor and cognitive abilities might help a person much later when aging changes begin to occur. In The Relation Between … Continue reading

Multitasking and the Aging Brain

Over the past 20 years multitasking has become a common 20th and 21st Century conversation for people of all ages. Technology, especially the many things we seem to do all at once with the help of our gadgets, makes us think that we are all pretty good multi-taskers. Unfortunately, research is showing we aren’t doing … Continue reading

Different People – Different Dementias

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a March 14, 2011 article, The Many Faces of Dementia which describes different types of the brain diseases as well as the importance of accurately and carefully diagnosing the type of brain abnormality that is affecting each person. Collecting information for a diagnosis involves not only the physician and patient, … Continue reading