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your Brain

at work
Making the science of cognitive fitness work for you

Putting It All
Together
Enrich Your Life,
Enrich Your Brain
About This Report

Your Brain at Work: Making the Science of Cognitive Fitness Work for You
has been developed as part of a nationwide workplace program co-sponsored by the
Mature Workforce Initiative of The Conference Board and The Dana Alliance for
Brain Initiatives with support from The Atlantic Philanthropies.

The Mature Workforce Initiative is committed to helping employers engage and develop
mature employees within the rapidly changing multigenerational workplace. Our evolving
work is validated by frequent interaction with our 2,000 member companies as we respond
to their emerging business issues. Funding for the Initiative is generously provided by
The Atlantic Philanthropies.

The Conference Board is one of the world's pre-eminent business membership and
research organizations. Best known for the Consumer Confidence Index and the Leading
Economic Indicators, The Conference Board has, for more than 90 years, equipped the
world's leading corporations with practical knowledge through issues-oriented research
and senior executive peer-to-peer meetings.

The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives is a nonprofit organization of more than
265 neuroscientists who are committed to advancing public awareness of the progress
and promise of brain research and to disseminating information about the brain in an
accessible fashion. The Dana Alliance, supported entirely by the Dana Foundation, does
not fund research or give grants.

The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to bringing about lasting changes in the
lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people through grant-making. Atlantic focuses on
critical social problems related to aging, disadvantaged children and youth, population
health, and reconciliation and human rights.
introduction

Put your brain to work


and it will work for you
W e’ve all seen the news: we can affect how our brains work.
Neuroscience tells us that we can increase our chances
of maintaining our mental edge and functional independence
throughout our lives. How? By working to keep our brains fit the
way we work to keep our bodies healthy.

What you do every day matters to If you already have a wellness or fit-
your brain. The choices you make, ness program at work, this material
your level of physical and mental can add a brain health component
activity, your social life, diet, and to it, or become the basis for a new
sleep habits—all these things can wellness program. On your own, you
affect cognitive fitness: a state in can use this booklet as a personal
which we are performing well men- cognitive fitness tool kit.
tally, emotionally, and functionally.
Your Brain at Work includes basic
Your Brain at Work connects the brain facts, a readiness quiz to deter-
latest research to practical sugges- mine what sort of brain lifestyle
tions for incorporating healthy brain you’re living, chapters on brain
habits at work and at home. Good health, and an action plan to help
choices can help you maintain cog- you use this information wisely and
nitive vitality in every area and at well. Brain health is a lifelong com-
every stage of your life. mitment, and it’s never too early to
begin. Or too late. Practicing cogni-
Because you are working, you’ve tive fitness will help you stay on top
already taken the first step. A brain of your game, on the job and off.
at work is a brain that works. The
mental and social stimulation of the In this booklet, we are going to
workplace help keep your brain fit. show you how.

Your Brain at Work 1


contents

4 8 12 16

20 24 26 30

Table of Contents
3 Readiness Quiz 24 Feed Your Brain
Food for thought: diet matters
4 Meet Your Brain
If you don’t know your cerebrum 26 Stress Management
from your cerebellum, have no Relax! It’s only your brain we’re
fear talking about

8 What Does It Mean to Be 30 Sleep, Rest Well


“Brain Fit”? To sleep, perchance to retain new
It’s true after all: use it or lose it information

12 Move Your Body 36 How Can You Put It All


When you work out your body, Together?
your brain benefits Enrich your life, enrich your brain
16 Meet, Greet & Be Social 40 Summary: It’s Never Too
Your brain needs social Late or Too Early to Begin
connections
41 An Action Plan for Brain
20 Work Your Brain Health
They’re called brainteasers for a
reason… 43 Glossary

2 Your Brain at Work


your brain

Readiness Quiz
Answer these questions, and read on to find out why your answers are
important, and where they put you on the continuum of brain health. At the
end of the book, you’ll get an action plan that will help you incorporate diet,
exercise, and cognitive stimulation into a healthier brain lifestyle.

1. How much did you move today? Include every time you were ambulatory,
from jogging on a treadmill to walking around your office. ____________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

2. How many social interactions did you have today? Include contacts with
your co-workers. _______________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

3. Did you practice any new skills on the computer at work today? Work a
crossword puzzle? Do an ordinary task in a new way? ________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

4. If you are like most people, you probably do three things at once. But do
you know what recent studies have revealed about multitasking? ______
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

5. Did you eat any blueberries today? Fish aside, do you know what foods
are brain-healthy? ______________________________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

6. How much sleep did you get last night? Was it uninterrupted sleep? Do
you often feel drowsy during the day? _____________________________
______________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________

Your Brain at Work 3


your brain

Meet Your Brain


motor cortex
cerebral cortex
sensory areas

frontal lobes
parietal lobes

occipal lobes

temporal lobes
cerebellum

Some of the brain areas involved in cognitive processes are shown


here (and described at right).

Credit information: Image courtesy NINDS/National Institutes of Health.

4 Your Brain at Work


your brain

If you don’t know your cerebrum from


your cerebellum, have no fear

I n the past decade alone, neuroscience has revolutionized


our understanding of the normal structure and function-
ing of the brain, how it changes as we age, and what can
go wrong in neurologic or psychiatric disease states. At the
same time, the brain is truly one of the last frontiers in
biological science, still rife with mysteries about its inner
workings.

Cerebral cortex: the brain’s Parietal lobe: perceives and


heavily folded outer layer of gray interprets bodily sensations such
matter, critical to cognitive as touch, pressure, pain, and
processing temperature

Sulci: the shallow grooves in the Temporal lobe: involved in


cortex; the central sulcus divides memory processing and
the two hemispheres interpreting sounds

Gyri: the ridges on the cortex Occipital lobe: seat of the


visual cortex, which detects and
Cerebellum: facilitates interprets visual stimuli
movement, coordination, balance,
and posture, and appears to be Hippocampus: part of the brain
involved in some types of learning that developed early in
evolutionary history; involved in
Frontal lobe: controls higher learning and short-term or
thought processes and executive working memory
function
Motor cortex: part of the
cerebral cortex that controls
movement

Your Brain at Work 5


your brain

What’s clear is that each of us has Each new experience we encounter,


a brain that is unique. The overall if it is repeated often enough, will be
anatomy and location of key brain represented in the brain with its
structures is similar across the own signature pathway of nerve
population, but the pattern of connections. These connections
connections among nerve cells — interlink and may overlap with many
the synapses by which brain cells (sometimes many thousand) other
talk to one another — is the singular pathways that are in some way
product of our individual life associated with that experience.
experiences. This is why repeating something we
want to learn, or associating it with
Each of our brains, no matter our other things that will jog our memo-
age, is a work in progress. It ry, can improve the “laying down”
responds and adapts and literally and later recall of the thing we’re
rewires itself in accordance with trying to remember.
what we put into it — what we learn,
what we say, what we do, how we Synapses that don’t continue to be
interact with others, and even what activated fade away. If your boss’
we eat. Scientists call this “plastici- number changes, or your parents
ty.” It’s the reason we can affect move, the associated neural real
our cognitive function when we take estate will likely be up for sale, at
the steps to do so. least after a while. This is the “use
it or lose it” concept.
Take learning, for example. When we
learn something new, and we learn Some things may be indelibly
it well, our brain literally creates a carved into our neural circuits — like
particular pattern of synaptic con- real estate permanently designated
nections for that learning. It’s as if for a specific use. You may still
the phone number of your boss or remember the phone number of the
the route to your parents’ house home you grew up in, even if you
stakes out its own piece of real haven’t used it in years. So, too,
estate in the brain — but it’s more emotionally charged memories may
of a highway than a building lot. be especially strong and enduring.

6 Your Brain at Work


your brain

Drive a Cab,
Expand Your Brain
A classic example from the the brain’s motor cortex that
annals of brain science maps activity in the hand
showing how experience can among musicians who play
shape the brain is a 2000 string instruments or the piano;
study performed on London it is even possible to determine
cab drivers,1 who have highly what instrument an individual
refined abilities for navigating a plays by looking at the pattern
large, complex city. Using mag- of structural change in the
netic resonance imaging (MRI), motor cortex.2 Other studies
researchers at University suggest that practicing a skill
College, London, found that cab in the mind’s eye only — visual-
drivers’ hippocampuses — part izing a specific series of finger
of the brain involved in spatial movements, for example, rather
memory and navigation — were than actually performing them
significantly larger compared — has a corresponding effect
with those of other people. The on brain structure in the rele-
longer the taxi driver had been vant region.
on the job, the larger his hip-
pocampus was. Such studies have become
classic examples of how one’s
A number of studies have docu- life experiences literally shape
mented changes in the part of and reshape the brain.

Your Brain at Work 7


What Does It Mean to Be
“Brain Fit”?

Notes from the lab 1. Increased mental activity


2. Increased physical activity
Research studies in many coun- 3. Increased levels of social
tries have found four factors that engagement
may predict maintenance of
cognitive function. 4. Control of vascular risk by:
a. Controlling weight
b. Monitoring cholesterol
c. Monitoring blood pressure
d. Not smoking
brain fitness

It’s true after all: use it or lose it

E veryone knows what a fit body looks like, but fit brains,
which don’t boast rippled muscles or six-packs, are
tougher to distinguish. Brain fitness is a state of mind in
which we are performing well cognitively and emotionally.
When we’re cognitively fit, we’re maintaining our mental
edge, staying sharp, aging successfully. Brain fitness is not
only the absence of disease, either Alzheimer’s or other types
of dementia; it is also the preservation of emotional and cog-
nitive well-being throughout our working years and beyond.

Your brain at work is in a win-win Developing a healthy brain attitude


situation. Any cognitive stimulation and lifestyle has benefits at every
you receive in your workplace is stage of life, in virtually every aspect
like a daily workout for your brain. of our lives. The sooner we begin,
And the more fit your brain is, the the better, but we can reap the
better prepared you are likely to be benefits regardless of when we
to cope efficiently with the daily start, just as physical exercise can
challenges of life and work. improve physical health at any age.
Whether you are in your 30s or your
50s or even older, you may be able
to improve your cognitive vitality.

Your Brain at Work 9


brain fitness

The Fundamentals of
Cognitive Fitness
The basics of cognitive fitness lie in The bottom line is that a brain-
fundamental healthy-brain practices, healthy lifestyle is a combination of
such as physical activity, social many factors, each of which has its
interaction, mental stimulation, a own benefits to the brain. When
brain-friendly diet, healthy sleep combined, the benefits are likely to
patterns, and stress management. be additive: The more brain-healthy
practices you follow, the greater the
Benefits from such practices range benefits.
from cellular and biochemical
changes at the level of neurons and Of course, no one can guarantee
synapses to “whole-brain” changes, that adopting a brain-healthy
such as denser neural networks or lifestyle will absolutely ensure good
more efficient neural processing. cognitive health until your dying day,
These kinds of physiological alter- but the potential benefits of shaping
ations may be manifested as up your brain are increasingly well-
improved cognitive functioning — documented. In the following pages,
better memory, faster learning, we’ll show you how to put these
greater attention and focus — and scientific findings to work for you.
as emotional well-being.

“If we maintain cognitive function over


time, then we are more likely to be
functionally independent.”
Marilyn Albert, Ph.D., Professor of Neurology and
Psychiatry, Director of Cognitive Neuroscience,
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

10 Your Brain at Work


brain fitness

physical
activity

Cognitive fitness is
a state of mind in
which we are social
performing well interaction
mentally, emotionally,
and functionally.
Attaining it entails
following healthy- mental
brain practices, such stimulation
as exercising the
mind and body,
staying socially
connected, eating diet
and sleeping well,
and managing stress.

adequate
sleep

stress
management

Your Brain at Work 11


Physical Activity
Move Your BODY!
Notes from the lab
What if simple exercise could boost
the rate at which your brain makes
new neurons? Columbia University
researchers have found provocative
evidence that structured aerobic exer-
cise does exactly that3 – and we’re
not just talking about rodents on a
wheel.

Neuroscientist Scott Small and his


colleagues put 11 adults through 40
minutes of aerobics four times a week
for 12 weeks, then measured blood
flow in the participants’ brains.
Small’s team wanted to know whether
the exercise would help generate new
neurons in the hippocampus (a
process called “neurogenesis”), as
had previously been shown to occur in
animals.

Since there’s no way to measure neu-


rogenesis directly in humans, the
researchers did a parallel study in
mice, examining their brains after they
were allowed to exercise freely for
two weeks (mice actually like exer-
cise). They found blood flow changes
in the animals’ brains that correlated
with the degree of neurogenesis that
had occurred. Then they compared
these changes to those in the
humans’ brains.

The patterns matched closely, convincing scientists that they were seeing the first surro-
gate representation of increased neurogenesis in the human hippocampus. What’s more,
the blood flow changes in the brain correlated with both cardiopulmonary and cognitive
fitness. Conclusion: increased blood flow to the hippocampus may trigger or support new
neuron growth, which in turn may improve learning.
brain fitness

When you work out your body,


your brain benefits

I f you haven’t yet heeded the message to get moving,


here’s one more good reason to do so: Increasing your
level of physical activity is one of the best things you can do
for your brain. You don’t have to run a marathon or develop
Popeye-like muscles; even a half-hour of moderate physical
activity (think: walking briskly) will help. Strive for that
much every day.
How Exercise Helps
The last few years have seen an explosion of scientific evidence for the brain
benefits of exercise, leaving little doubt that increasing physical activity is
Job No. 1 for everyone interested in maintaining cognitive function.

Studies in humans and animals have found that exercise:


Enhances memory and learning, Enlarges blood vessels to pump
demonstrated by better perform- more blood and oxygen into the
ance on a range of cognitive brain.
tests. Increases levels of brain-derived
Improves mood and counteracts neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a
depression. There is substantial growth factor that supports and
evidence for the antidepressive nourishes brain cells.
qualities of regular aerobic exer- Ramps up the rate at which new
cise, and government-funded nerve cells are generated in the
clinical trials are underway to hippocampus, and increases
investigate exercise as a treat- the volume of the hippocampus.
ment for depression, alone or in Increases the number of glia,
combination with antidepressant brain cells that support neurons
medications. and speed neural processing.

Your Brain at Work 13


brain fitness

How much exercise is needed?

The answer continues to be debat- any exercise is better than none.


ed, but most experts agree that If you can’t find an hour to devote to
striving for at least 30 minutes of it, think piecemeal: Start with three
moderate exercise daily, four or 10-minute walks over the course of
more days a week, is sufficient to the day. Aerobic exercise such as
improve brain health. Most human swimming, cycling, or brisk walking
studies on the brain benefits of that raises the heart rate for a sus-
exercise have had people doing aer- tained period is best, probably
obic exercise for 45 minutes to an because it floods the brain with
hour, three or four days a week, but oxygen-rich blood.
it’s important to keep in mind that

“There is increasing research in human


and animal studies to suggest that physical
activity and exercise will protect your mind
and brain throughout your lifetime.”
Art Kramer, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology,
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

14 Your Brain at Work


brain fitness

No time in your workday for


working out?
Be creative.
Fit in a little exercise whenever you can,
even while at work. For example:

Use work breaks or lunch Park your car a distance from


times to go for a walk. your workplace and hoof it.

Stand up and walk around


while talking on the phone; If you work at home, walk
you can also do leg lifts, around the block.
extensions, or arm curls to
work your muscles.

Visit co-workers in person Skip the elevator and take


instead of phoning or the stairs.
emailing.

Use the restroom that is Use commuting time to


farthest from your desk. practice deep breathing and
good posture.

Your Brain at Work 15


Social Interactions
Meet, Greet, & Be Social

Notes from the lab


What’s in a leader’s brain? What’s differ- of spikes and squiggles on a printout.
ent about the brain of a visionary leader?
Can the characteristics of leadership be Thatcher analyzes the data to identify
defined and mapped onto the brain? If so, features that distinguish leaders. Based
can we change our own brains to resem- on early results that have not yet been
ble those of outstanding leaders? published in a peer-reviewed scientific
journal, leaders seem to have “a more
That is the theory behind emerging neuro- highly developed right hemisphere” and
science research driven largely by busi- better-coordinated neuron firing there,
ness management experts seeking new suggesting more efficient neural process-
ways to foster leadership skills. ing, according to Thatcher. Differences
Neuroscientist Robert Thatcher and were particularly pronounced toward the
Arizona State University business profes- back of the right brain, an area associated
sor Pierre Balthazard are among those with social skills, self-awareness, and
trying to harness the brain’s inherent awareness of the subtleties of other peo-
plasticity to build a better business leader. ple’s emotions. This suggests that “the
Their idea is to map patterns of electrical social side of leadership” may be critical,
activity across brain regions to see how Thatcher says.
leaders differ, then develop training pro-
grams targeted at those areas. The researchers recently scanned West
Point cadets to investigate whether mili-
Subjects undergo psychological assess- tary leaders are unique. And Balthazard
ment to identify leadership attributes, then is working on training programs to help
answer questions while having an elec- people attain a more “leader-like” brain
troencephalography (EEG) scan. EEG uses through a combination of traditional lead-
noninvasive electrodes to read brain elec- ership education and EEG biofeedback
trical activity and translate it into a series applications.
brain fitness

Your Brain Needs Social Connections

H umans are social animals. Study after study has shown


that staying socially connected — that is, spending time
with friends and acquaintances and participating in many
social activities — is one of the fundamental tenets of cogni-
tive health. Conversely, being socially isolated is associated
with a host of health problems and shorter lifespan overall.

Think about it: When you’re actively When you have a strong social
engaging with other people, you’re network, you are likely to have
using your brain (How can I get him people you’re looking out for, and
on my team?). When you’re meeting people who are looking out for you
new people, you’re using your brain — someone to lean on in times of
(What was her name?). People are need. This gives us a sense of
good for brain health because they purpose and belonging, and may
are unpredictable. They keep us on better equip us to cope with the
our toes. And we can learn some- curve balls life sometimes throws.
thing from every person we meet.
Staying socially active, in the
How Social Interaction office or in the neighborhood, is
May Help also closely linked with feelings of
Scientists don’t completely “self-efficacy,” the sense that what
understand how social interactions we do in life makes a difference,
contribute to cognitive fitness. that our life has meaning. This is
One theory is that social networks another important component of
help us manage stress better. cognitive fitness.

Your Brain at Work 17


brain fitness

Building Your Social Network


If you’re working in anything
other than a one-person office,
you’ve probably got a fair
amount of social interaction
built right into your workplace.
Use this to your advantage.
Engage with co-workers out-
side of the office; schedule
weekly “coffeehouse” sessions
after work, or put together an
“Greater social informal sports league, such
as bowling or softball, to get
resources, as people active and engaging
defined by social with another.
networks and Some other ideas:
social engagement,
are associated with
reduced cognitive
decline…” If you telecommute or work
in a field job, there are still
Conclusion from the
Chicago Health and Aging many ways to build in social
Project, funded by the interaction:
National Institute on Aging

18 Your Brain at Work


brain fitness

Volunteer with a local charity, school, or social organization. You’ll


meet new people and feel good about helping fulfill a need in your
community.

Take a course or workshop that puts you in touch with other like-
minded people.

Join a book club, garden club, professional association, or some


other kind of group to pursue professional affiliations or an
activity you enjoy.

Stay in touch! Look up friends you’d like to reconnect with.

Plan regular visits with your extended family or your circle of


friends — say, Sunday night potluck dinners.

Engage people — even if it’s the deli worker who serves you
coffee each day.

Greet the mail carrier or delivery person, and get to know


each other.

Find out who else in your neighborhood works from home and
plan regular get-togethers for coffee or lunch and celebrations,
such as holidays or birthdays.

Do your work at a local library or community workspace a few


times a week. Chances are you will meet other regulars and get
to know the librarians, too.

Your Brain at Work 19


Mental Stimulation
Work Your Brain

Notes from the lab


Can training your brain really stave off cognitive decline? Spectacular claims abound, but
rigorous clinical trials are harder to come by. Some convincing scientific evidence for the
benefits of cognitive training comes from a large government-funded study known as
ACTIVE, or Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly.

In a 2006 report,4 ACTIVE researchers demonstrated that participating in a short-term but


structured cognitive training program significantly improved cognitive skills closely related
to the skill set targeted, and that the benefits persisted even after five years.

“The improvements seen after the training roughly counteract the degree of decline in cog-
nitive performance that we would expect to see over a seven-to-fourteen year period among
older people without dementia,” the study’s lead investigator said.

ACTIVE included 2,802 adults 65 and older who were randomly assigned to participate in
one of three cognitive training programs that taught them strategies for improving memory,
reasoning, or speed of processing. A fourth group of “controls” received no training.

The training interventions involved up to 10 sessions over a six-week period. A proportion of


the study participants also received four “booster” sessions over the course of the five-year
study period. Each participant underwent cognitive testing before and after the interven-
tions, and annually thereafter.
brain fitness

They’re called brainteasers for a reason...

I t makes perfect sense that working your brain can help


keep it sharp. Brain research is beginning to support that
notion with solid scientific evidence.
One of the largest studies investi- improve in the skill areas in which
gating risk factors for Alzheimer’s they were trained. Moreover, the
disease (the Religious Orders Study, improvements persisted long after
whose participants are Catholic the training stopped, suggesting a
nuns, priests, and brothers, age 65 long-term benefit (see page 20).
and older), found that people who
engaged more frequently in activi- How Mental Activity
ties involving significant information May Help
processing — things like listening to How mental activity improves
the radio, reading newspapers, cognition (and reduces dementia
playing puzzle games, and going risk in later life) is not entirely clear,
to museums — had a much lower but a leading theory is that it sets
incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.5 up a “cognitive reserve” in the brain.
Similar results have been found in Intellectual stimulation drives the
other studies. brain to develop denser synaptic
connections. This in effect makes
More recently, a large clinical trial the brain more flexible, enabling it
investigated whether a structured to use alternate neural pathways to
cognitive training program for older adapt to changing demands and
adults could affect mental function- possibly offering some measure of
ing. Participants were trained in protection from normal or disease-
memory, reasoning, and speed of related cognitive changes.
processing. The majority did indeed

“When we stimulate our brain by


actively thinking, we are sculpting
our own neural architecture.”
Jordan Grafman, Ph.D., Chief, Cognitive Neuroscience Section,
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Your Brain at Work 21
brain fitness

Putting Your
Brain to Work

Despite the infant state of research in this area, “brain training” gim-
micks and gadgets abound. But be careful: Very few of these products
or services have been subjected to rigorous scientific studies.

Brain scientists who have spent years (or decades) studying cognitive
improvement strategies tend to be conservative. The database is grow-
ing, but there’s much more to be learned, including which types of activ-
ities are most beneficial and why. Based on what is known, it’s possible
to formulate a few general principles. One is to engage in activities that
stimulate and challenge you. Hopefully, those activities include your job.
At home, your options are more varied. If Sudoku challenges you, do
Sudoku. If reading a fascinating novel does, read a novel.

22 Your Brain at Work


brain fitness

Some other tips

Find ways to put your brain to work every day, such as balancing
your checkbook without a calculator or using a map to figure out
directions, rather than getting them online.

At work, learn a new software program or volunteer for a new


assignment.

The brain loves novelty, so seek out something new: a new hobby
or craft, a new language, or a subject you’ve never been exposed
to before. Adult education courses are good places to start. Many
employers now offer online training on many topics. Take a self-
directed class and learn a new skill.

Break out of your normal routine. This can be as simple as using


your nondominant hand to eat your dinner or taking a different
route to work — anything that gets your brain off autopilot.

Play challenging games like Scrabble®, Concentration, or Bridge.

Take up a musical instrument and either teach yourself to play or


obtain some professional instruction.

Explore new places and/or cultures, whether they are nearby or


far away.

Surround yourself with stimulating people and situations; visit


museums and art galleries; attend concerts and sporting events.

Your Brain at Work 23


brain fitness

Diet and Nutrition


Feed Your Brain
Here’s some food for
thought: diet matters

I t’s notoriously difficult to


determine which compo-
nents of our abundant, varied
Western diets are healthful
and which are not, as evi-
denced by the conflicting,
shifting dietary advice prom-
ulgated by an ever-changing
array of experts. This is an
area in which the science is
continuing to emerge —
meaning that what we know
today may change tomorrow.
Still, there are some general
guidelines that most experts
in this area agree on.

24 Your Brain at Work


brain fitness

“Do what your mother told you to do:


Eat all those healthy fruits and vegetables!”
Claudia Kawas, M.D., Associate Director of the Institute for
Brain Aging and Dementia, University of California, Irvine

Vegetables In a large government-funded study, women in their 60s who ate


more green leafy and cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, or cabbage) did
much better on cognitive tests6 10 years later. The women who ate the most of
these vegetables were mentally “younger” by one to two years than those who ate
the fewest.

Fatty fish Certain fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to
have beneficial brain effects. Best sources are salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Some
manufactured foods are now fortified with omega-3 fats.

Whole grains A diet rich in whole grains, such as brown rice and whole wheat
bread or pasta, supports overall cardiovascular health, which is closely linked to
brain health.

Blueberries This fruit is a potent source of antioxidants, which counteract cell-


damaging “free radicals” throughout the body. Other sources of antioxidants are
most berries, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pomegranates, ginger, legumes, and colorful
vegetables. Antioxidant supplements have not been proven to offer the same health
benefits as antioxidant-rich foods.

Red wine Many studies have shown that alcohol, used in moderation (up to1–2
glasses a day), may be beneficial to the brain.

Your Brain at Work 25


Stress Management
Notes from the lab
Meditation is a proven stress manage- Other research indicates that regular
ment technique, and has been shown to meditation can actually change the struc-
improve cardiovascular health and even ture of the brain in areas associated with
boost immune function. But what can it attention and sensory processing. A brain
do for your brain? Landmark studies with imaging study led by Sara Lazar 8 at
Tibetan Buddhist monks uncovered Massachusetts General Hospital showed
intriguing clues. that areas of the cerebral cortex, the
outer layer of gray matter in the brain,
Richard Davidson and colleagues at the were thicker in participants who were
University of Wisconsin showed that experienced in a practice called insight or
“expert meditators” have a higher level of “mindfulness” meditation. The thickening
the brain waves associated with advanced was most pronounced in older subjects,
mental activity such as attention, learning, suggesting that meditation could reduce
and conscious perception.7 The distinct the thinning of the cortex that typically
rhythms persisted even when participants occurs with aging.
were not actively meditating, suggesting
that long-term meditation alters baseline
brain activity.
brain fitness

Relax!
It’s only your brain we’re talking about

N one of us can expect to do away with stress entirely


in our lives. But we can learn to manage it and take
positive steps to blunt its impact.

Often, we feel stressed when we some things in life that we simply


lose a sense of control over our have no control over.
lives. In today’s global economy,
Americans are working harder and One thing we can exert some con-
longer than ever before. Our daily trol over is attitude. No matter what
work requires relentless multitask- is going on around us, and how
ing, and we face constant change as much chaos seems to surround us,
companies adapt to fierce competi- we can still choose to focus on the
tion and advances in technology. positive aspects of a situation and
Navigating the demands of our work minimize the negative.
and our personal lives leaves many
of us feeling like we are not particu- Your Brain on Multitasking
larly successful in either. Taking Multitasking has become a way of
action to regain control — or choos- life — and work — for many of us. We
ing to let go of control — is the first check email while on a conference
step. This may require taking a hard call. Review slides during a meeting.
look at what’s going on in our lives, Talk on a cell phone while we’re
assessing where we give up control, driving. Doing two or three things at
and deciding how much we need to once may have become so second-
have control, in any particular area. nature we don’t even realize we’re
Then we can prioritize, and we can doing it. We may not be able to
either try to change the underlying imagine how we would get through
situations that leave us feeling out our day if not for this capacity
of control or accept that there are to juggle.

Your Brain at Work 27


brain fitness

It may surprise you to learn that ways: without any distractions and
multitasking is not the most effi- with the distraction of a series of
cient use of brain power. A series of beeps that they were asked to
studies in recent years has used count silently. Learning the task
brain imaging to understand how with the distraction created a less
the brain handles discrete tasks robust memory of the task, reducing
that are performed simultaneously. participants’ subsequent knowledge
The results suggest that multitask- when questioned about the task
ing has a cost in terms of efficiency, at a later time.
learning, and neural activity devoted
to each task. Earlier published studies show that
switching from one task to another
One of the most recent studies, costs the brain time — the more
from Vanderbilt University,9 complex the tasks, the more time it
suggests that the brain’s executive takes the brain to switch — and that
control center in the frontal lobes when the brain engages in two
is incapable of processing two deci- tasks simultaneously, it devotes less
sion-making operations at once, neural activity to each task, essen-
effectively creating a bottleneck in tially dividing its processing power
information processing that delays rather than doubling it.
the execution of the second task
until the first one is complete. The bottom line from these studies
is that multitasking is inefficient at
Separately, researchers at the best, at least from a brain-processing
University of California – Los point of view. Focusing on one task
Angeles reported a 2006 study10 at a time is likely to produce better —
finding that multitasking adversely and faster — results.
affects the brain’s learning systems.
Study participants, who were all in
their 20s, learned a task in two

28 Your Brain at Work


brain fitness

Good Stress/Bad Stress with a serious stressor, the brain


Stress is a double-edged sword triggers the adrenal glands to
in terms of its cognitive impact. release powerful stress hormones
On one hand, mild stress — like an such as cortisol and adrenaline.
approaching deadline — tends to Repeated or long-term exposure
improve cognitive performance, to these hormones — as happens in
focusing our attention on the task chronic stress or conditions such
at hand. But when stress becomes as post-traumatic stress disorder —
chronic or unmitigated, it can dam- is toxic to nerve cells in the
age the brain and impair memory. hippocampus.
That’s because when we are faced

Stress Managment Techniques


• Deal with situations directly. or decisions. Remind yourself that
Instead of complaining, focus on it’s not personal, it’s business.
finding a solution. • Listen to calming music. If you can
• During stressful moments like bring in an iPhone, do it.
work deadlines or commuter traf- • Avoid caffeine – coffee, tea,
fic jams, take a series of deep chocolate, etc. Caffeine can make
breaths. With regular practice, this you jittery and increase your
technique may help you relax dur- stressful feelings.
ing stressful situations.
• Control what you can in your work
• Spend time with co-workers away environment. Start each day by
from work. Getting friendly may making a plan. Set up systems to
make working together easier. stay on top of email and voice
• Take a break from stress. Walk mail. Reduce noise with head-
around the block or have lunch phones. Get rid of desk clutter.
away from work – in a park or at a Make a to-do list. Getting organ-
nearby restaurant. Whether you ized may make you feel more in
are alone or with a friend, that control at work.
time may help reduce the tension • If your workload is unmanageable,
you’re feeling. ask your manager to help you set
• Try to be objective when dealing priorities.
with difficult people, situations,

Your Brain at Work 29


Sleep,
Rest Well

Notes from the lab


The idea that sleep is neces- Mehta’s team captured
sary to consolidate what we a startling “dialogue” of
learn into long-term memories electrical communication
has gained significant ground between the cortex and the
in recent years, despite the hippocampus, in which the
difficulty of proving the cortex initiated a pattern
hypothesis. While it’s clear of nerve firing immediately
that people remember better echoed by hippocampal
if they have a full night’s neurons (see image at right).
sleep, why this is so has
remained largely a mystery. The work demonstrates a
novel dialogue between the
Recent work by Brown hippocampus and cortex dur-
University neuroscientists ing sleep, which the authors
offers fresh clues.11,12 Mayank believe plays a key role in
Mehta and colleagues record- memory formation.
ed electrical activity from the
brains of mice anesthetized to Surprisingly, the cortex
mimic the deepest sleep seemed to be driving this
states of humans, when mem- dialogue, as if it were phoning
ory storage is believed to a subordinate to order up the
occur. (The hippocampus is files it anticipated needing
responsible for new learning, later. Mehta speculates that
but scientists believe that this is the brain’s way of
long-term memories are wiping clean the white-board
stored in the cortex, and that of the hippocampus to make
a “filing” process happens way for the next day’s new
while we sleep.) information.
brain fitness

To sleep, perchance to retain new information

G etting a good night’s sleep — 7 to 8 hours for most adults —


is essential to performing at our best. If you find yourself
regularly having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, there
are some things you can do to address the problem.

How Sleep May Help tests — and the deficits may not
What the brain does during sleep is be reversible even after the partici-
one of the enduring questions in pants are allowed to sleep.
neuroscience research, and we
don’t have all the answers yet. But a If, after a week or two, you still can’t
growing body of evidence suggests sleep, see your doctor. You could
that a full night of restful sleep is have a sleep disorder, such as
critical for memory consolidation obstructive sleep apnea or restless
and retaining information. In stud- legs syndrome. Identifying and
ies, people who are deprived of treating the cause of your sleep dis-
sleep generally score significantly turbance can help get you back on
worse on memory and cognitive the road to a good night’s sleep.

While you were sleeping… experi-


ments in sleeping mice show a
remarkable degree of synchroniza-
tion between patterns of nerve fir-
ing in the brain’s cortex (blue trace)
and hippocampus (red trace), with
hippocampal activity immediately
following cortical oscillations. In the
background is a hippocampal neu-
ron of the type from which data
were recorded. This study was
undertaken by Brown neuroscientist
Mayank Mehta, in collaboration
with Thomas Hahn and Bert
Sakmann.
(Image: Mehta/Hann/Sakmann/
Brown University).

Your Brain at Work 31


brain fitness

These tips can


help you get
a good night’s sleep
Go to bed and get up at about the same
time every day, even on weekends.

Don’t eat or drink large amounts


before bedtime.

Avoid nicotine and caffeine.

Exercise regularly.

Make your bedroom cool, dark,


quiet, and comfortable.

32 Your Brain at Work


brain fitness

Sticking to a schedule helps reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle


and can help you fall asleep better at night.

Eat a light dinner about two hours before sleeping. If you’re prone to
heartburn, avoid spicy or fatty foods, which can make your heartburn
flare and prevent a restful sleep. Also, limit how much you drink before
bed. Too much liquid can cause you to wake up repeatedly during the
night for trips to the bathroom.

These are addictive stimulants that can keep you awake. Smokers
often experience withdrawal symptoms at night, and smoking in bed is
dangerous. Avoid caffeine for eight hours before your desired bedtime.
Your body doesn’t store caffeine, but it does take many hours for it to
eliminate the stimulant and its effects.

Regular physical activity, especially aerobic exercise, can help you fall
asleep faster and make your sleep more restful. Don’t exercise within
two hours of your bedtime, however. Exercising close to bedtime may
keep you awake longer.

Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Adjust the lighting, tempera-
ture, humidity, and noise level to your preferences. Use blackout cur-
tains, eye covers, earplugs, extra blankets, a fan, a humidifier, or other
devices to create an environment that suits your needs.

Continued on page 34
Your Brain at Work 33
brain fitness

a good night’s sleep


Continued from page 33

Sleep primarily at night.

Choose a comfortable mattress


and pillow.

Start a relaxing bedtime routine.

Go to bed when you’re tired, and turn


out the lights.

Use sleeping pills only as a last resort.

Source: Mayo Clinic (www.mayoclinic.com)

34 Your Brain at Work


brain fitness

Daytime naps may steal hours from nighttime slumber. Limit daytime
sleep to less than one hour and don’t nap later than 3 p.m. If you work
nights, keep your window coverings closed so that sunlight, which adjusts
the body’s internal clock, doesn’t interrupt your sleep. If you have a day
job and sleep at night but still have trouble waking up, leave the window
coverings open and let the sunlight wake you up.

Features of a good bed are subjective and differ for each person. But
make sure you have a bed that’s comfortable. If you share your bed, make
sure there’s enough room for two. Children and pets are often disruptive,
so you may need to set limits on how often they sleep in bed with you.

Do the same things each night to tell your body it’s time to wind down.
This may include taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listen-
ing to soothing music. Relaxing activities done with lowered lights can
help ease the transition between wakefulness and sleepiness.

If you don’t fall asleep within 30 minutes, get up and do something else.
Go back to bed when you’re tired. Don’t agonize over falling asleep.
The stress will only prevent sleep.

Check with your doctor before taking any sleep medications. He or she
can make sure the pills won’t interact with your other medications or with
an existing medical condition. Your doctor can also help you determine
the best dosage. If you do take a sleep medication, reduce the dosage
gradually when you want to quit, and never mix alcohol and sleeping
pills. If you feel sleepy or dizzy during the day, talk to your doctor about
changing the dosage or discontinuing the pills.

Your Brain at Work 35


How Can You Put It All Together?

Notes from the lab


Even if life sometimes feels like a rat race, people as a rule are a bit more evolved than
rodents. But at the most fundamental levels of brain function – the dance of molecules,
proteins, and electrical signals that drive cell-to-cell communication in the brain – we’re not
so different from our four-legged friends. It’s reasonable to presume that generally, what’s
good for their brains is good for ours as well.

So what can we learn from decades of animal research chronicling the brain benefits of
“enriched environments” that we can put to use in our lives? If we could create the perfect
enriched environment in which to work, what would it include?

Think about how you can adapt your own work-style (and life in general) to incorporate prin-
ciples of good cognitive health in each of these areas:

• Working more physical activity into your day, including aerobic exercise, stretching, and
moving your body whenever possible.
• Stimulating and challenging the mind by learning something new and seeking out novel
experiences or different ways of doing routine things.
• Maintaining plenty of interaction with other people, including meaningful social engage-
ment and connections with friends and loved ones.
• Managing stress and finding positive ways of coping with high-stress periods.
• Being mindful of your diet and sleep habits, working in brain-healthy foods on a daily basis,
and giving your brain the sleep it needs to stay alert and attentive.
brain fitness

Enrich Your Life, Enrich Your Brain


If you had your own personal cognitive fitness trainer,
what kind of a training program would he/she put you on?

C learly, cognitive fitness is multidimensional. It’s


more than physical activity. It’s more than mental
stimulation. And it’s more than social interaction, diet,
stress management, or adequate sleep. Each of these
factors is important, but even more important is putting
them all together.

Just as taking care of your body The Team Approach


involves more than exercise to Brain Health
alone, taking care of your brain While no single activity is going to
demands a multifaceted give you total cognitive fitness,
approach. The more you do to activities that combine physical
take charge of brain health, the exertion with new learning and
more you are likely to benefit. social engagement are likely to
offer additive benefits beyond
activities that focus on only one
The good news is of these factors.
that by making simple
changes in your
day-to-day life, you
can reap the benefits
of cognitive fitness.

Your Brain at Work 37


brain fitness

A number of studies have Experience Corps,13 which recruits


suggested that participating in older adults as volunteer mentors
group dance lessons improves for elementary-school students
cognitive functioning. For example, in13 cities across the country. The
researchers at McGill University in volunteers play roles designed to
Montreal presented data at a 2005 have a high impact on children’s
scientific meeting showing that educational outcomes, providing the
older adults who learned Argentine participants an opportunity to make
tango dancing experienced improve- a real difference in a child’s life. At
ments in cognition and day-to-day the same time, Experience Corps
task performance. Tango combines increases the volunteers’ social,
social integration (dancing with a cognitive, and physical activity.
partner; participating in a group
class) with mental challenge (learn- Preliminary results from the study
ing complicated dance steps) and show that the older adults partici-
physical exercise requiring balance pating in Experience Corps scored
and coordination. significantly better on cognitive
tests than a group of control sub-
One of the largest studies to look jects who did not participate. They
at the benefits of combining also got physically stronger, had
various factors known to affect higher levels of physical activity, and
cognitive fitness is a clinical trial by expanded their social networks.
Johns Hopkins University called

38 Your Brain at Work


brain fitness

Learn Faster, When researchers look at the


Remember Better brains of animals raised in these
Such studies extend a long histo- complex environments, they find
ry of research examining animals increased numbers of synapses,
that are raised in so-called larger blood vessels, higher lev-
enriched environments — cages els of neuron-supporting brain
that are filled with toys, running chemicals, and other physiologi-
wheels, and tunnels, and that are cal changes indicative of
shared with other animals. Mice improved neural functioning.
or rats who are exposed to such Enrichment of this sort even
stimulating environments, which boosts the number of new neu-
give them ample opportunity for rons that are generated in the
exercising voluntarily, playful hippocampus, a phenomenon
exploration, and interacting with that is associated with better
others of their species, show sig- learning.
nificant benefits over animals
raised in standard cages without
the extra stimulation.
Specifically, they learn to run a
maze faster and more accurately
and to better remember the best
path through the maze.

Your Brain at Work 39


summary

It’s Never Too Late


or Too Early to Begin
When should you start training your brain?
Yesterday!

A s cognitive fitness research progresses and expands, we can


expect more specific guidelines on just what types of work and
leisure activities are most beneficial, how often to do them, and why
they affect brain health. In the meantime, it is encouraging to know
that, just by making simple changes in your day-to-day life, you can
take control of your brain health and reap the benefits of cognitive
fitness.

It’s never too late or too early to begin. And the sooner you start,
the more you stand to gain.

We hope this booklet has helped you identify goals for making your brain
fit for life – by spending more time on such brain-boosting activities as
exercise and socializing, or even learning something new. Now let’s focus
on steps to help you reach those goals. You will find a convenient action
plan format at the end of this discussion. Fill it out by using the following
steps.

40 Your Brain at Work


brain work

Your Cognitive Fitness Strategy


An Action Plan for Brain Health
Write it down. day?
Putting your goals in writing makes • Did I “walk and talk” at work,
them more meaningful. Adding why rather than emailing or phoning?
you want to achieve each goal is a
Cognitive Stimulation
real motivator.
• What did I learn today?
Take baby steps. • What routine task did I approach
You’ll feel overwhelmed if you try to differently today?
address every aspect of brain health • Did I challenge my mind? Did I do
at once. Set priorities. anything just for fun?
Give yourself a timeframe. Diet
And remember: That implies giving • I ate ___ servings of fruits and veg-
yourself enough time to work at and etables today.
master your goals. • 3 brain-healthy things I ate today
Be realistic. are: _________________________
People who try to do too much too Stress Management
soon often get discouraged and give • How was my stress level today?
up altogether. Don’t be a victim of • What caused me the greatest
your own ambition. If your goals stress today? What triggered it?
seem impossible, revise them. • How did I cope? How did I relax?
Now, determine your baseline. Think Sleep
about how you measure up against • How well did I sleep last night?
the healthy brain practices below. How long? Did I awaken during
Social Interaction the night?
• Who did I see today, and for what • If sleep was poor, do I know why?
purposes? • Did I feel drowsy during the day?
• What did I do to reconnect with • Did I nap?
someone I care about today? How you answer these questions
Physical Activity may help you determine which
• How many minutes did I walk areas of brain health you need to
today, including around the office? focus on as you map out your cogni-
• How did I work exercise into my tive fitness plan.

Your Brain at Work 41


brain work

Your Action Plan for Brain Fitness


Goals: __________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________

Action steps: ____________________________________________________


________________________________________________________________

Timeline (when you will assess your progress): ________________________


________________________________________________________________

Revise goals or set new ones: ______________________________________


________________________________________________________________

Whatever your cognitive fitness focus turns out to be – more exercise, more
stimulation, more social contact – you can pursue your goals at work as well as
at home. Use these ideas to fill your work week with brain-boosting activities.

Monday Conduct a “walking meeting” Thursday Card games are a great way
at the office, rather than a sit-down to exercise your brain. Challenge a
session with a colleague. colleague at lunch.
Tuesday Shake things up! Volunteer to Friday Sharpen your communications
collaborate on a project you don’t skills by answering your emails with a
know much about, or learn a new soft- phone call instead of pushing the
ware program. “Reply” button.
Wednesday Bring a bag of blueberries
to enjoy during a coffee break.

Additional resources about cognitive fitness and healthy brain practices.


You’ll find suggestions for additional reading at the end of this booklet. They can
help you gain a deeper understanding of the many issues raised here, or help
you find out more about what actions you can take to improve your brain at
work and keep it fit for life.

42 Your Brain at Work


brain work

Glossary
Alzheimer’s disease (page 9): a degenerative central nervous system, neurons are responsible
brain disease of unknown cause and the most for the transmission of nerve impulses. Unlike any
common form of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease other cell in the body, neurons consist of a central
usually starts in late middle age or in old age as cell body as well as several threadlike “arms”
memory loss involving recent events, then pro- called axons and dendrites, which transmit nerve
gresses over the course of five to ten years to a impulses. Scientists estimate there are more than
profound intellectual decline characterized by 100 billion neurons in the brain.
dementia and personal helplessness.
Neuroscience (1): the study of the brain and nerv-
Antioxidant (25): A substance, such as vitamin E, ous systems, including their structure, function,
vitamin C, or beta carotene, thought to protect and disorders. Neuroscience as a discipline has
body cells from the damaging effects of oxidation. emerged only in the last few decades.

Cardiovascular (25): of, pertaining to, or affecting Obstructive sleep apnea (31): recurring interrup-
the heart and blood vessels. tion of breathing during sleep because of obstruc-
tion of the upper airway by weak or malformed
Cognitive function (1): a general term pertaining
pharyngeal tissues. It occurs especially in obese
to functions of the brain, including thinking, per-
middle-aged and elderly men, and results in hypo-
ceiving, recognizing, conceiving, judging, sensing,
xemia and in chronic lethargy during the day.
reasoning, and imagining.
Plasticity (6): in neuroscience, refers to the brain’s
Dementia (9): general mental deterioration from a
capacity to change and adapt in response to devel-
previously normal state of cognitive function or
opmental forces, learning processes, or aging, or in
psychological factors (not to be confused with
response to an injury in a distinct area of the
mental retardation or developmental disability).
brain.
Alzheimer’s disease is one form of dementia.
Restless legs syndrome (31): feeling of uneasi-
Dendrites: short nerve fibers that project from a
ness and restlessness in the legs after going to
nerve cell, generally receiving messages from the
bed (sometimes causing insomnia); may be
axons of other neurons and relaying them to the
relieved temporarily by walking or moving the legs.
cell’s nucleus.
Self-efficacy (17): an individual's estimate or per-
Glia [glial cells] (13): the supporting cells of the
sonal judgment of his or her own ability to succeed
central nervous system, which protect and nourish
in reaching a specific goal.
neurons and are increasingly believed to be direct-
ly involved in the modulation of nerve signaling. Synapse (6): the junction where an axon
approaches another neuron or its extension (a
Hippocampus (7): structure located deep in the
dendrite; see definition above); the point at which
brain and involved in memory and learning.
nerve-to-nerve communications occurs. Nerve
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (7): A brain- impulses traveling down the axon reach the
imaging technique that measures metabolic activi- synapse and release neurotransmitters into the
ty in neurons and constructs an anatomical image synaptic cleft, the tiny gap between neurons.
based on the data. Functional MRI is an adaptation
Transcendental meditation (26): a technique,
of the technique that can identify which areas of
based on ancient Hindu writings, by which one
the brain are active during specific tasks, thereby
seeks to achieve a relaxed state through regular
providing data on brain function in addition to
periods of meditation during which a mantra is
anatomy.
repeated.
Neurons (10): nerve cells. The basic units of the

Your Brain at Work 43


brain fitness

Acknowledgements Publishing Department


The following individuals and groups contributed Peter Drubin
extensively to the production of this guide. Sana Olkovetsky
Chuck Mitchell
The Conference Board Susan Stewart
Mature Workforce Initiative Team
Linda Barrington, Ph. D. The Dana Alliance for Brain
Lorrie Foster Initiatives
Diane Piktialis, Ph. D. Barbara E. Gill
Jeri Sedlar Laura Reynolds
Mary Young, Ph. D. Sarah Thompson

Wennie Lee Brenda Patoine, writer


Katherine Solis Katherine L. Bick, Ph. D., scientific advisor

Your Brain at Work MetLife


Links/other resources www.MetLife.com
Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives Download a copy of Met Life’s Ten Tips for
http://www.dana.org/about/dabi Maintaining a Healthy Brain.
Learn more about this nonprofit organization of
more than 265 pre-eminent neuroscientists, National Institutes of Health
including ten Nobel laureates, dedicated to www.Nih.gov
advancing education about the brain. Links to all of the NIH websites, and a list of
web-based health resources, listed by topic.
The Brain Center
http://www.dana.org/braincenter.cfm National Health and Wellness Bureau
Your gateway to the latest research on the human http://www.nhwb.org/
brain. Information on Employee Wellness programs.

Brain Information and Brain Web National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
http://www.dana.org/brainweb/ www.nhlbi.nih.gov
Visit this section to access links to validated sites A quiz on the role of exercise in heart and overall
related to more than 25 brain disorders. health.

Brain Resources for Seniors National Sleep Foundation


http://www.dana.org/seniors/ www.sleepfoundation.org
Older adults and caretakers can find a central General information on the importance of good
bank of sites about brain health, education, and sleep and tips and resources.
aging.
My Pyramid (the United States Department of
Brain Awareness Week Agriculture)
http://www.dana.org/brainweek/ http://www.mypyramid.gov/
Learn more about this international event organ- Customize your own “food pyramid” and get tips
ized by the Dana Alliance. for healthy eating.

44 Your Brain at Work


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Eur J Neurosci 2006; 24(6):1832–1834.
3. Pereira, Huddleston, Brickman, Sosunov, McKhann, Sloan, Gage, Brown, Small. An in vivo correlate of
exercise-induced neurogenesis in the adult dentate gyrus. Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences of the USA 2007; 104(13):5638-43. Epub ahead of print March 20, 2007.
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