PSYC E-1612 Brain Health and Performance
The brain plays a critical role in every area of an individual's life, from learning, working, and playing, to personality, aptitude, and memory. The profound implications of lifelong neurogenesis (creation of new neurons), lifelong neuroplasticity (rewiring the brain through experience), and cognitive reserve (delaying the onset of degenerative symptoms via a brain health lifestyle) are too often taken for granted in our culture. It is not just about eating blueberries, taking a walk, or doing a daily puzzle. What we do at every stage of life has an impact on our brain performance. This course offers core information on the brain, brain health, performance, and optimal functioning, as well as practical ways to promote brain-healthy living to prevent injury, diseases, and other brain health problems for individuals and communities. Topics include brain anatomy and function (including plasticity and neurogenesis); common myths about the brain and brain health; the brain and brain body connection; and how to protect and promote the developing, maturing, and aging brain (for example, physical activity, nutrition, sleep, social engagement, how positive and negative thoughts affect brain functioning, stress resilience, and cognitive stimulation). Throughout the semester, students are introduced to and have the opportunity to experience evidence-based brain health and performance assessments, protocols, and tools to optimize brain health and enhance brain performance.