05:53am Saturday 19 August 2017

For Older Adults, Participating in Social Service Activities Can Improve Brain Functions

“This first of its kind 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.”

— Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH, Dean and DeLamar Professor of the Mailman 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. “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, and a leading geriatrician whose career has been dedicated to the science of healthy aging. “This first of its kind 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.” The study is published in the December issue of the Journals of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

A leading geriatrician, she has conducted ground-breaking work in community intervention studies. an epidemiologist and geriatrician whose career has been dedicated to the science of healthy aging.

You can learn more at the Bloomberg School of Public Health Web site.

About the Mailman School of Public Health
The only accredited school of public health in New York City and among the first in the nation, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health pursues an agenda of research, education, and service to address the critical and complex public health issues affecting millions of people locally and globally. The Mailman School is the recipient of some of the largest government and private grants in Columbia University’s history. Its more than 1000 graduate students pursue master’s and doctoral degrees, and the School’s 300 multi-disciplinary faculty members work in more than 100 countries around the world, addressing such issues as infectious and chronic diseases, health promotion and disease prevention, environmental health, maternal and child health, health over the life course, health policy, and public health preparedness. www.mailman.columbia.edu

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