Mental Health and Aging
Center on Aging & Health
As the U.S. population of older adults booms over the coming decades, there will be an increasing demand for knowledge that can be leveraged to promote quality of life and prevent disability. The faculty members in the Department of Mental Health’s Program in Cognitive Aging and Mental Health are highly committed to observational and intervention research aimed at enhancing cognitive and mental health.
The Program faculty members conduct research using large-scale, longitudinal observational and intervention study designs, including: dietary supplemental, cognitive training, and cognitively enriching “everyday” interventions to promote cognitive, brain, and functional health; late-life sleep disturbances as predictors of cognitive and functional impairment and decline; the natural history and consequences of mental disorders in diverse aging adults; genetics of cognitive decline and Alzheimer disease; real-time assessment of lifestyle activity as future targets of intervention; environmental and pharmacologic risk modifiers of cognitive, brain and functional aging and dementia risk; and prevention of late-life mental health problems.
Future Plans for the Program
- Developing population-based public health interventions for older adults
- Developing new models of civic engagement for later life
- Expanding our work on neuroimaging and biomarkers; stress- and anxiety-related disorders; later life alcohol and drug problems
- Developing new epidemiologic strategies to explore and test pharmacological, dietary, and behavioral interventions to prevent and delay progression of Alzheimer’s disease
- Expanding capacity to conduct high-throughput genomic research to identify the genetic determinants of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease
- Applying state-of-the-art functional neuroimaging methods as sensitive, intermediate outcomes in the evaluation of mental health interventions