Brain Awareness Week: Staying Sharp

Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

As Brain Awareness Week comes to a close here at Highlight HEALTH, we wanted to leave you with a video from the Dana Foundation that addresses the science behind the healthy brain practices that may help us stay sharp as we get older — the lifestyle factors that may contribute to the maintenance of cognitive function.

Don’t forget that we’re giving away several publications for Brain Awareness Week; in particular, the bookmark was created to be paired with the Staying Staying Sharp booklet (link below) and video (below).

Brain Awareness Week

Dr. Jordan Grafman, chief of the Cognitive Neuroscience Section at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and a member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, is your guide as we cover what to expect from the aging brain and what you can do to “stay sharp”.

This 29-minute video uses footage of neuroscience experts from live Staying Sharp forums to address topics such as changes in the aging brain, memory, and the science behind the healthy brain practices that may help us stay sharp.

Throughout this program we draw on insights from top neuroscientists committed to helping more people know about what happens to our brain as we age and the brain-healthy behaviors that we can incorporate into our daily lives.

Brain-healthy lifestyle

Studies that look at “successful aging” consistently identify a few fundamental qualities of a brain-healthy lifestyle. The overall message is to stay active: mentally, physically and socially.

Here’s a checklist of things to do for a brain-healthy lifestyle:

  • Exercise your body regularly and get involved in physically active leisure pursuits
  • Keep your mind exercised! Engage in active learning throughout life and pursue new experiences
  • Stay socially engaged with friends, family and community groups
  • Maintain a positive attitude and a sense of control over your life
  • Take steps to manage stress
  • Eat a brain-healthy, balanced diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Consider taking a multivitamin supplement that includes antioxidants and folate
  • Watch your weight: lose any extra pounds
  • Watch your cholesterol: lower it if it’s high
  • Keep your blood glucose and blood pressure under control
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Get proper medical attention and treatment for any underlying health problems

You can read more about the steps you can take to improve your brain fitness today in the Dana Foundation’s booklet Staying Sharp: Successful Aging and Your Brain.

The Staying Sharp program is a joint project of NRTA: AARP’s Educator Community and the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives. To receive a free DVD of this program, please contact

About the Author

Walter Jessen is a senior writer for Highlight HEALTH Media.