Staying Sharp: how to help your brain age gracefully

The Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology (CCACE) and Age UK have launched a new suite of resources on how to protect our thinking skills

The “Staying Sharp” resources, featuring top tips and animated videos, have been developed to showcase evidence about what protects our brains and our thinking as we age. Most of us are aware of how to work towards safeguarding our physical health as we age, but the less-widely-discussed challenge of maintaining cognitive skills such as memory, attention, and reasoning, is equally important.

Much of the research underpinning the new Staying Sharp resources comes from the Lothian Birth Cohorts of 1921 and 1936. These are long-term follow-up studies of people who, aged 11, had their IQs tested as part of the Scottish mental Surveys in 1932 and 1947. Tracing, recruiting and re-testing people who had taken part in the Surveys offers a rare opportunity to examine the how our brains and thinking skills change across most of the human life course.

The Lothian Birth Cohorts are therefore an incredible resource and continue to provide an important baseline for studying ageing and the brain. Since June 2016, LBC member John Scott has a model of his brain as part of the permanent exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland, highlighting the importance of this ageing research to over 2 million visitors per year.

Staying Sharp will complement existing material by teaching people about our brains, our thinking skills and how they change with age, and what we can do to look after them. It will be a valuable resource for any concerned with ageing and the brain. The initiative will share research, help us understand our cognition, and provide tips to promote healthy cognitive function throughout our lives.

The resources are available to view now on Age Uk’s website.

Age UK is a charity dedicated to improving experience in later life. They work to address some of the challenging experiences faced with age, and to inspire and enable those facing these challenges.

Staying Sharp