Join me in this podcast where we travel with Dr Lea T. Grinberg, a professor at the University of California San Francisco, to Brazil to explore her career and her path towards creating the Brazilian Aging Brain Study Group in São Paulo and her own laboratory. Dr Grinberg dives into the hardships and the rewards involved with creating a brain bank and sharing brain tissues. This initiative had a great impact on research opportunities in Brazil and research output from Brazil because it was the first community-based autopsy service, which allowed them to observe and examine people’s brain at different stages of dementia. Today, many groups around the globe work and study the Brazil brain bank!
In our everyday lives, we all process and recognize hundreds of different objects (colors, shapes, animals, faces…), and although we may not think about it, developing this ability is actually an intricate learning process. Much like people, machines can be taught object recognition by mimicking the learning process of the human brain. This process, called Deep Learning, is an application of artificial intelligence that, although designed to learn through a specific set of data at first, can continue to learn on its own and improve from experience, without being explicitly programmed to do so.
In Canada, 38% of adults between the age of 20 and 79 years old suffer from hearing loss, and many never receive treatment. Furthermore, scientists have found that hearing loss often precedes diagnoses of age-related dementia by 5 to 10 years, suggesting that difficulty in hearing may contribute to cognitive decline – an interesting link that is supported by imaging studies showing functional and anatomical changes in the brains of older adults.
Aging is a normal part of life, and just like the rest of the body, the brain changes as we get older. In normal aging, most people will eventually experience some changes in the way they think, like slower processing speeds or certain types of memory loss, although skills and knowledge tend to remain stable or are even improved over time.
Although physical distancing does not necessarily mean social distancing, as it was first referenced in the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are often one and the same. Being social usually means spending time with others in a shared physical space, which is undeniably different than the virtual interactions that have become the accepted norm. Seeing our friends and family from behind a monitor is especially dissatisfying when we are only kilometers apart, and while having hundreds of social media “friends” means that we are in many ways more connected than ever, greater use of social media has actually been linked to increased loneliness.
Aging is often associated with memory loss for personal events and their rich contextual detail (known as episodic memory). Episodic memory is the type of memory that allows you to remember where you parked your car in a mall parking lot, or whether or not you took your medication earlier in the day. It is also intricately involved with your personal identity, enables you to learn from past experiences, and helps you plan for your future.