This past Saturday, around 250 people attended the free Staying Sharp forum in Lexington, KY. The program was a great success, and people in the audience expressed appreciation for the free access to information about the aging brain. During the audience Q&A and after the program a number of audience members spoke up about their desire for similar programs in the Lexington area in the future.
From 9 am to 10 am on Saturday, a steady stream of people entered the Regency Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency at Lexington Center. They could pick up free pamphlets and other information on tables set up outside the ballroom on the way in or after the program.
I and others representing the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives were there, as well as folks from the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and from AARP Kentucky. The Sanders-Brown Center on Aging played a major role in helping to organize this event, including furnishing the session's moderator, Dana Alliance member Linda Van Eldik, Ph.D., and two of the panelists, Frederick Schmitt, Ph.D., and Donna Wilcock, Ph.D. The other panelist, Gregory Cooper, M.D., Ph.D., is from Lexington’s Baptist Neurology Center.
The panelists engaged the audience with expert information, advice, and the occasional joke. One particular piece of advice that many in the audience appeared to find particularly interesting and encouraging were the benefits of adult education. Dr. Schmitt and Dr. Cooper highlighted the benefits of adult education for successful aging. The panelists discussed how adult education not only benefitted the aging brain through the process of learning, but also through socializing by learning with others. The forum covered topics pertinent to the aging brain, including discussion of memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, successful aging, and the importance of clinical trials, like those being conducted at the Sanders-Brown Center. Even after 90 minutes of discussion, nearly the entire audience stuck around to hear the questions that a long line of attendees posed to the panelists.
For more information on previous and upcoming Staying Sharp sessions, visit the Staying Sharp website. Also, check out some of the media coverage and interviews with Dr. Van Eldik that preceded the forum, including a story on WKYT on Alzheimer’s and a radio interview with on WUKY.