March 8, 2006
Contact: Jerry Carey
Phone: (856) 566-6171
BAM! Program Kicks Off Brain Awareness Week
STRATFORD - "BAM!" isn't just a cooking show catchphrase. It's also an acronym for an innovative community education program that teaches older individuals how to optimize their brain function and stave off memory problems. "Brain and Memory" was developed by staff members from the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging at the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine, and it has already assisted nearly 1,000 residents throughout the state.
"We created activities and brain exercises that teach older individuals everyday strategies that can help them retain information, " said Claire DiVito, education coordinator at NJISA. "It's not just tricks and tips, though. We also focus on the mind-body connection, and how things like nutrition, exercise and successful disease management influence memory and learning."
The NJISA will celebrate the beginning of National Brain Awareness Week with a special BAM! presentation for parishioners at St. Gregory's Church, on the White Horse Pike, in Magnolia, on Monday, March 13, from 7:30 to 9 p.m.
During the program, clinicians will NJISA discuss the latest medical understanding of how brains function, particularly the relationship between learning new information and memory. Those attending will be taught how the brain changes with age and how to distinguish between normal and abnormal memory lapses.
"Memory isn't just one function, it's actually a complex interaction of learning, storing and retrieving new information," said Dr. Steven Dinsmore, a neurologist at NJISA. "Learning new information is the most important - and the most fragile - of these three functions. As we grow older, our bodies and our brains change and the changes that occur to the brain can make it more difficult for our brain to learn new information in the same way, or at the same rate as when we were younger. Our goal with the BAM! program is to show older individuals that they can take practical steps to counteract the memory changes they are experiencing as they age."