Brain Aging (and what you can do about it)

Thad Polk
Thad Polk
University of Michigan

Thad Polk is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan. His research combines functional imaging of the human brain with computational modeling and behavioral methods to investigate the neural architecture underlying cognition. Professor Polk regularly collaborates with scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas and at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, where he is a frequent visiting scientist. His teaching has been recognized by numerous awards, and he was listed as one of The Princeton Review’s “Best 300 Professors in the United States.”

Overview

Aging is associated with subtle declines in some cognitive abilities, but not others. As we age, we become a little more forgetful, we get distracted more easily, and we can’t process information quite as quickly as we once did. At the same time, world knowledge, emotional processing, and what’s sometimes called “wisdom” tend to remain stable, or even improve, with age. Why is that?

In this talk, Professor Thad Polk, a leading researcher on the neuroscience of aging, will address that question by explaining what happens to our brains as we age. In addition to discussing specific brain regions whose function tends to decline with age, he’ll also present evidence that our brains reorganize themselves in order to compensate for age-related declines, so that we can continue to function as effectively as possible as we get older. Finally, he’ll describe some scientifically verified approaches that can help you and your brain age a little more gracefully.

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