Gene Cohen, MD, MPH, the multi-talented geriatric researcher, participated in the Positive Aging Conference I attended in Florida. Here's some take-aways from his talks:
The new "senior moment" can involve taking new risks, an inner comfort to try something new, as Cohen's in-laws did. Confronted with being stranded, temporarily without access to Gene or his wife, they entered a pizza shop that delivered, ordered a pizza, on condition they themselves would be delivered along with their pizza!
There's increasing synchrony in the bilateral use of the 2 brain hemispheres. Any activity that optimally uses both parts of the brain is like "chocolate for the brain."
There are positive brain changes in how it processes emotions. There's a lengthening of the fuse, typically seen as "mellowing."
Brain plasticity - increase in number and size of the dendrites results in more possibilities to learn.
Optimal activities vary with individual, but goal is to get your brain "mentally sweating" to keep it in shape.
There are fewer receptor sites, but they are more sensitive. So, there's a built-in physiological way that the brain has of compensating.
To discover more about what Gene Cohen has found about the brain's capacities as we age, seeThe Mature Mind:The Positive Power of the Aging Brain.