Time: September 16, 2009 from 12pm to 1pm
Location: B340 Rayburn House Office Building
City/Town: Washington, DC
Event Type: congressional, biomedical, research,caucus, briefing
Organized By: Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus

Dr. Shelley Carson
Harvard University

In her briefing for the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus, Dr. Carson examines the deterioration of memory in older adults in a new light — not that of a mind being ravaged by dementia, but instead a mind widening its ability to process more details than that of a younger brain. For decades, cognitive research on the older brain has focused on the decline of thinking abilities. Newer research, however, suggests that much of this observed decline may actually result from lifestyle changes or illness rather than from inevitable brain atrophy.

Dr. Carson highlights how scientists are now beginning to focus on ways that cognition can actually improve with age. Research suggests that brainpower is not declining but that more information is being processed. Dr. Carson reviews the research on age-related brain changes and brain plasticity, and discusses how these changes affect wisdom and creativity. She also discusses initiatives to maintain and even improve cognition in later years.