News and Events

Age Boom Academy alumnus, Chris Farrell digs into the question of how aging affects political leanings in his July 21st piece "How Older Voters Will Vote in the 2016 Election."  Farrell cites psychologist Ursula M.

Ursula M. Staudinger, director of the Columbia Aging Center, appears above with TOP team members at their recent retreat (third from left).

 

Transitions and Old Age Potential

You are cordially invited to this event.  Please see this link for details on how to register.

Saturday, June 11, 2016 at 12:30pm
 
The Centrality of Civic Engagement and Work for Aging Well

Linda Fried, MD, MPH
Dean of the Mailman School of Public Health and DeLamar Professor of Public Health Practice
Senior Vice President, Columbia University Medical Center

Six Projects Funded to Build Aging Science

at Columbia University

A Research Program to Explore the Modifiability of Aging 

NEW YORK (June 7, 2016) — The Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center announced the recipients of its second cohort of Faculty Research Fellowships, competitive awards to foster and extend understanding of aging. Around the globe, people are living longer and longer lives. With this funding, the Center seeks to expand knowledge about how to improve human aging and optimize these additional years of life.

From June 13-15, the Columbia Aging Center partners with the Columbia Business School in their Executive Education program: “Leveraging Neuroscience to Power Organizational and Individual Performance.”

Mailman School of Public Health Dean and Columbia Aging Center Faculty Member, Linda P. Fried, MD, contributed to the recently released Milken Institute publication "The Future of Aging: Realizing the Potential of Longevity." In her piece -- Three New Decades to Do Good -- Dr.

May 19, 2016  The Columbia Aging Center’s John W. Rowe, MD, will speak in Greenwich in celebration of Older Americans Month. He will be the featured speaker for the Inaugural Signature Lecture Series on Aging presented by the Greenwich Commission on Aging.

Dr. Rowe will address how dramatic increases in life expectancy and aging raise the question of how best to re-engineer America’s core societal institutions, such as education, work, retirement, leisure and health care to assure that society can support the future elderly population.

May 12, 2016  Dr. Ursula Staudinger is featured in Anil Ananthaswamy's piece about the wisdom of the aging brain. The article discusses the general and personal wisdom and the mechanics of the mind. and spoke to Dr. Ursula Staudinger about wisdom, aging and the mechanics of the mind. 

Aging diminishes what Baltes and Staudinger called the “mechanics” of the mind—which depend on the biology of the brain, such as the number of neurons, the connectivity, metabolism, and the speed at which the brain can process new information. The mechanics of the mind reach their peak around the age of 25 to 30, and then decline steadily.

Many studies have shown that the aging brain gets slower. For instance, the ability to carry out mental operations definitely declines. As does our capacity for episodic memory and executive function (which is necessary for planning, multitasking, and verbal fluency, among other tasks), due to dysfunctions in the medial temporal lobe memory system and the frontostriatal networks, important for executive function.

But all’s not lost. “What doesn’t go down is reasoning and cognition that is based on knowledge and experience,” says Staudinger. This ability, which reaches its peak between the ages of 40 and 50, and then stays stable and declines only during the final years of one’s life, could contribute to wisdom, as long as we stay mentally active and engaged. Evidence from studies of rhesus monkeys supports this observation. This involves structures called dendritic spines, which protrude from one neuron’s dendrite toward another neuron’s axon. These spines have a neck and a head. Those with long necks and small heads decline with age, but the shorter, stubbier “mushroom spines,” hypothesized to be “locus of long-term memories,” don’t decline. That potentially explains why our ability to learn new things suffers as we age, yet abilities that depend on lifelong learning (such as playing a musical instrument) don’t. 

Visit their website to read the whole piece

On May 16th at 11 am, the Columbia Aging Center welcomes Thomas Rapp, PhD, Harkness fellow at Harvard's School of Public Health in the Department of Health Policy and Management.  Dr. Rapp's talk "Impact of State Medicaid Generosity for Home- and Community-Based Services on Nursing Home Entry" will be held in ARB Room 416. Please RSVP to cmh2197@columbia.edu if you wish to attend this talk by Thomas Rapp on Monday, May 16th at 11 a.m. in ARB Room 416, 722 West 168th Street.

An International Conference on Demography was held earlier this year in Opole, Poland, which is one of the so-called demographic regions of the European Union. With high emigration and low birth rates, Opole faces an uncertain future as several other areas in Poland. What impact does demographic change have on society and the labor force? And how can demographic change be tackled? These questions were of great interest to the guests present from business, politics and science.

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