Discuss Healthy Brain Aging over “Breakfast with the Docs”

Healthy brain aging will be discussed with Dr. Erin Hill at the Oak Park Arms retirement community. Erin K. Hill, Psy.D., ABPP-CN, will lead a discussion on healthy brain aging at “Breakfast with the Docs” at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, May 23, at the Oak Park Arms retirement community, 408 S. Oak Park Ave.

It is inevitable that brains age along with the rest of the body. Studies show that as people enter their 30s, the brain’s weight, network of nerves and its blood flow begin to decrease. Brain cells, called neurons, lose the tree-branch-like connections between them, which are essential to thought. The brain can adapt, however, and grow new patterns of nerve endings.

Surprisingly, the notion that education and thriving careers impact brain health is a misconception. While careers have been proven to help brain health, those effects are not sustained after retirement. Instead, those who are socially, mentally and physically stimulated show greater cognitive performance with a brain that appears younger than its years.

While more research is being done on how to keep the brain resilient and decrease cognitive decline, the tools necessary to keep brains healthy later in life might already be right under people’s noses.

Things people can do to keep the brain young include:
•    aerobic exercise
•    maintain a healthy diet
•    perform activities that speed up brain activity (puzzles, ping pong, etc)
•    reduce and manage stress
•    get enough and proper sleep

Other lifestyle choices such as smoking and consumption of alcohol also affect the total health of the brain, and body.

Two nutrient patterns – one found in fruits and vegetables and the other an omega-3 pattern high in fatty acids found in fish -  have been found by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University to promote brain health.

Research on vitamins and nutrient patterns have shown to slow the aging process of the brain, and that there might be a link between the ability to learn new information, brain mass and vitamins.

Games which stimulate short term and long term memory, decision making and strategizing all strengthen different areas of the brain.

Dr. Hill is a clinical neuropsychologist, board certified through the American Board of Professional Psychology. She earned her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Roosevelt University. She completed her internship training in neuropsychology at Henry Ford Health Center and her clinical neuropsychology fellowship training at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.

Prior to joining Sage Neuropsychology Consultants, Dr. Hill managed a private neuropsychology practice in Brookline, MA. In addition, she served on the board of directors of the Massachusetts Neuropsychology Society.

The Oak Park Arms is a rental retirement community which provides independent and assisted living apartments and a full schedule of activities and services. Furnished apartments are also available for a short-term stay – a weekend, a week, a month or longer.

The event is free and open to the public. And it’s not called “Breakfast with the Docs” for nothing: participants who attend will also be served a healthy breakfast.

For more information, or to reserve a seat, call Jill Wagner at 708-386-4040.


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