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Volunteering Improves Brain Function

By December 14, 2009

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It seemed to make sense that volunteering and being engaged would help brain function, but now there is some solid research to back up what is common sense. A study out of John Hopkins University showed that brain aging can be slowed or reversed through a program that pairs seniors with children to tutor them in reading and math.

The program is called "Experience Corps" (see link below) and the study is in the Journal of Gerontology (December 2009). In the study, seniors are paired with K-3 children for 15 hours per week of tutoring both one-on-one and in small groups. Using neuroimaging, Michelle Carlson (an associate professor) was able to show that seniors' brain function improved after participating in the program. A larger study is in process to learn more about the benefits of programs like Experience Corps on seniors' brains.
 
Volunteering has Health Benefits for Seniors - Volunteering and Senior Health


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