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The beginning of a new year usually starts with resolutions–to eat healthier, to exercise more, or to improve quality of life in some way. Keeping your brain healthy, understanding how the brain works, and learning how to maximize brain function should be added to that list! Good mental health or “cognitive fitness” are as important to a good overall quality of life as physical health– in fact, the two are related!
You can get started on your brain-y new year’s resolution by reading our Successful Aging & Your Brain booklet, which explains how people of all ages can improve their brain fitness (pages 18 to 32) while also focusing on how the brain (specifically memory) works and what types of brain diseases and disorders can affect adults later in life. The ways to keep your brain healthy can be broken down into four steps–or factors–of successful aging that have been scientifically proven to make a difference.
Our short Successful Aging & Your Brain video outlines the four factors that contribute to a brain-healthy lifestyle.
New lesson plans about the brain are now available for teachers and students! Each lesson plan has an accompanying PowerPoint presentation for students and an interactive activity that allows them to get hands-on with how the brain works. The lesson plans also include student objectives and background information, and are paired with relevant Dana Alliance fact sheets (for 3rd to 5th grade students).
Guest blog by Brenda Patoine
Underage drinking is a significant public health problem in the United States. While rates of underage drinking have declined steadily in the past decade or so, the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that among US youth 12 to 20 years old surveyed about their alcohol use in the past 30 days, 20% reported drinking alcohol and 13% reported binge drinking. Adolescents account for approximately 11 percent of total alcohol consumption in the U.S., according to a CDC fact sheet on underage drinking.
Because the teenage brain is at a highly vulnerable stage of development, early drinking may set the stage for later alcohol abuse. The frontal cortex doesn’t fully develop until around age 25, and emerging data suggest that this executive area of the brain is particularly susceptible to damage from alcohol use during adolescence.
Since May of 2016, I’ve had the good fortune to interview the authors of our monthly Cerebrum articles for a podcast. Why a podcast? We suspect that visitors to Dana Foundation website—with already quite a bit to read—would welcome an audio option. We also thought it would be valuable to hear some of the top researchers in the field offer their opinions and explain some of the complex advances and public policy issues that they write about in Cerebrum, the Dana Foundation’s magazine-style series.