ANCHOR LEAD: DEMONSTRATING IMPROVED BRAIN FUNCTION IN VOLUNTEERS INVOLVED A TECHNIQUE WE’LL BE HEARING MUCH MORE ABOUT. ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Functional MRI is an imaging technique that allows assessment of the brain at work, and has a number of advantages. Michelle Carlson, a researcher at Johns Hopkins, has used fMRI, as it’s abbreviated, to demonstrate the benefits of adult volunteerism on the brain.
CARLSON: What’s nice about functional MRI is it doesn’t involve any radioactive tracers so its noninvasive and it really capitalizes on the natural magnetic properties of the blood. It’s exciting to be able to use a noninvasive to explore, to really get into the brain indirectly and see how enriched environments, how enriched activity and a sense of purpose really getting up out of bed every morning because these kids need them, how that engagement model is having direct measureable effects on their brain activities. :31
Carlson’s study showed that older adults who joined Experience Corps, a national program pairing them with young children in order to improve reading and other skills, improved their own cognitive abilities. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.