The Aging Brain

Watch The Aging Brain

  • 2016
  • 1 Season

Thad A. Polk, professor of psychology and faculty member at the University of Michigan, stars in The Great Courses Signature Collection's The Aging Brain. The show is a comprehensive exploration of one of the most intriguing and complex organs in the human body: the brain. Over the course of 12 episodes, Professor Polk delves into the science behind the way our brains change as we age, explores the latest research on brain health and resilience, and offers practical advice for maintaining optimal cognitive function in our later years.

The Aging Brain begins by setting the stage for the rest of the course, with an overview of the anatomy and function of the brain. Professor Polk breaks down the different regions of the brain and explains how they work together to control everything from our senses to our emotions. He highlights the role of neurons, synapses, and neurotransmitters, and outlines the importance of brain plasticity in supporting healthy cognitive function.

From there, the show delves into the ways in which brain function changes over the course of a lifetime. Professor Polk explores the effects of aging on memory, attention, and problem-solving ability, and discusses the impact of factors like genetics and lifestyle on brain health. He also covers common cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer's disease and offers insights into the latest research on diagnosis and treatment.

Throughout the show, Professor Polk emphasizes the importance of maintaining brain health throughout our lives. He offers practical tips for doing so, including strategies for improving memory, exercises to promote brain plasticity, and suggestions for implementing healthy lifestyle choices. He also debunks some common myths about aging and cognitive decline, and emphasizes the importance of staying engaged with life and learning new things as we grow older.

One of the strengths of The Aging Brain is the way in which Professor Polk presents complex scientific concepts in a clear and accessible way. He uses engaging visuals and relatable examples to help viewers grasp the intricacies of brain function and the effects of aging. His explanations are backed up by the latest research, and he frequently draws on case studies and real-world examples to illustrate key points.

The show is also notable for its emphasis on practical, actionable advice. Professor Polk doesn't just present information; he offers concrete steps that viewers can take to promote brain health and support cognitive function. The focus on real-world strategies makes the show particularly valuable for anyone interested in preserving their brain function and cognitive abilities as they age.

Overall, The Aging Brain is an engaging and informative exploration of one of the most fascinating and important topics in neuroscience. Professor Polk is an engaging and knowledgeable guide, and his ability to distill complex scientific concepts into accessible explanations makes the show a valuable resource for anyone interested in learning more about the brain and how it changes over time. Whether you're approaching middle age or already into your golden years, The Aging Brain offers valuable insights and actionable advice for maintaining optimal cognitive function and living your best life as you age.

The Aging Brain is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (12 episodes). The series first aired on November 1, 2016.

The Aging Brain
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The Science of Immortality
12. The Science of Immortality
November 1, 2016
Is it possible to live forever? Would we even want to? Conclude the course with a look at cutting-edge research involving gene therapy and stem cells that may help us mitigate or even €œcure€ the effects of aging. The science is still emerging, but the possibilities are fascinating.
Aging Well: Diet and Stress
11. Aging Well: Diet and Stress
November 1, 2016
Explore the benefits of eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids and low in processed foods-like the Mediterranean, DASH, and MIND diets. Then, delve into the physiological effects of stress, trace the damage it creates throughout the body, and learn how to reduce stress to increase longevity.
Aging Well: Staying Active
10. Aging Well: Staying Active
November 1, 2016
Get ready for good news to help stave off mental decline! Here, you€™ll analyze the effects of physical, social, and mental activity on the aging brain. Ample evidence from communities with longer-than-average lifespans shows that getting plenty of exercise and maintaining a vibrant social life can help keep the mind sharp and the spirit young.
Parkinson€™s Disease and Stroke
9. Parkinson€™s Disease and Stroke
November 1, 2016
Continue your study of age-related brain diseases with an investigation of Parkinson€™s disease and stroke. What are they? How do they affect a person€™s behavior? And can they be treated? Examinations of these questions and more take you through neurochemistry, stem cell research, and strategies you can use to reduce your risk.
Dementia and Alzheimer€™s Disease
8. Dementia and Alzheimer€™s Disease
November 1, 2016
Find out what medical scientists mean by €œdementia,€ which results from disease and is not a normal part of healthy aging. The most prominent disease that causes dementia is Alzheimer€™s, so Professor Polk walks you through its history, symptoms, and palliative treatments, as well as the current state of Alzheimer€™s research.
Strategies for an Aging Memory
7. Strategies for an Aging Memory
November 1, 2016
How does memory work? Can aspects of it be improved? This eye-opening lecture offers a test of two different strategies for memorization: sheer repetition on the one hand, and visual-spatial storytelling on the other. Once you understand how memory works, you€™ll investigate four key principles that you can apply to improve your own memory.
Emotional Aging
6. Emotional Aging
November 1, 2016
Many studies agree that people older than 65 typically experience a greater sense of emotional well-being than younger people. See what scientific research shows about our evolving emotional landscape, and why older people tend to be happier than the young.
Aging and Brain Function
5. Aging and Brain Function
November 1, 2016
Turn from the brain€™s structure to its activity. After reviewing how we study brain function via fMRI, Professor Polk shows you how brain activity changes as we age-and how these changes impact our memory, our ability to multitask, and more. Then, learn some good news about how the brain compensates for these changes.
Aging and Brain Structure
4. Aging and Brain Structure
January 1, 1970
See how the cognitive changes of aging relate to the biological changes discussed in the previous lectures. It turns out that regions of the brain associated with processing speed, executive function, and episodic memory are more susceptible to aging, which may explain why these cognitive functions are particularly susceptible to decline.
Is Aging a Disease?
3. Is Aging a Disease?
November 1, 2016
Scientists debate whether aging is actually a disease, but the effects of aging indisputably resemble the symptoms of a disease. Here, examine three major mechanisms behind these effects: energy consumption, free radicals, and damage to our DNA. Then consider whether there could be a way to €œcure€ these effects.
Why Don€™t We Live Forever?
2. Why Don€™t We Live Forever?
November 1, 2016
Take a look at how our genes influence the aging process. Professor Polk explores several theories for why we age and eventually die, then delves into the genetic mechanisms involved in aging. Find out how replication damages cells and why there is a limit to the number of healthy replications our cells can make.
The Aging Mind: What Changes?
1. The Aging Mind: What Changes?
November 1, 2016
Aging affects us all, and it€™s important to know how our cognitive functions change over our lives. The course opens with an examination of how fluid processing skills-such as episodic and working memory-tend to decline over time, whereas crystallized intelligence (how-to skills and accumulated knowledge) remains stable or even improves.
Where to Watch The Aging Brain
The Aging Brain is available for streaming on the The Great Courses Signature Collection website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch The Aging Brain on demand at Amazon and Kanopy.
  • Premiere Date
    November 1, 2016