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ANCHOR LEAD: OLDER FOLKS WHO HELP KIDS HELP THEMSELVES, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Older people who volunteer to help young children improve their reading ability and achieve academic success in a national program called Experience Corps improve their own thinking skills, a Johns Hopkins study led by Michelle Carlson has found.

CARLSON:  We used a type of neuroimaging called functional magnetic resonance imaging to look at the brain in action prior to and then six months after participation in this experience corps senior service program.  We also looked at a group of matched controls to see whether or not they would benefit from just six months of living their lives.  We did show that the experience corps volunteers demonstrated both better executive functions meaning that they were better at selecting and targeting goal-directed information and they showed changes in the area of the brain associated with that ability.   :33

Carlson says the volunteers had long told her the experience removed cobwebs from their brains, and now there’s proof.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

 



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