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Healthy Brains, Healthy Cities

Van Alen

Four leading researchers share insights about science, the brain, and our environment. Asked about indicators of good brain health from cognitive performance to emotional well-being, these experts discuss methods and technologies that can assess how environments influence brain function, and how people in urban areas can boost their brain health by rethinking relationships to places they live, work and play. Expert Panel Includes:
  • Sandra Chapman – Founder and Chief Director, Center for BrainHealth®, University of Texas at Dallas
  • Richard Davidson – Founder and Director, Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Frederick Marks – President, Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, and Visiting Scholar, Salk Institute
  • John Medina – Professor of Bioengineering, University of Washington School of Medicine

Q: What is a “healthy” brain?

SANDRA CHAPMAN:A healthy brain is one that allows us to thrive, not just to survive in our daily lives. It’s what allows us to make life decisions, solve problems, interact adeptly with others and really enjoy emotional balance. At Center for BrainHealth, we developed “pillars” of brain health that we measure. One is cognition, and when I say cognition, that’s not simply IQ: It’s really the ability to innovate, to synthesize. It’s what you’re trying to do right now [in this interview]: very quickly taking divergent ideas and boiling them down to the essence, looking for a takeaway point by strategically focusing on the most relevant information. It’s more than memory, more than speed of processing. It really is the ability to think and solve the problems that we’re faced with every day.Another pillar is psychological well-being. If you’ve got some type of mental health disorder or you’re severely depressed, say frozen in bed, you have diminished brain health. Another area is the complexity of what you do—in other words, what is the level of productivity of what you’re doing. And another key area is socially adeptness. Being socially adept is probably one of the most important things to our cognition. It’s the most complex and most important. Read full story on Van Alen

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Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD

Chief Director Dee Wyly Distinguished Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences Co-Leader, The BrainHealth Project


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