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The aging brain: A conversation with a cognitive psychologist

Stanford Neurosciences Institute, Gunnar Ridderstrom

By Paul Costello

My colleague Tracie White recently wrote about cognitive psychologist Ruth O’Hara’s research on worrying and its impact on cognition, memory and effective disorders in older adults. As White described:

Worrying actually helps alleviate the negative effects on memory and cognitive processing caused by depression and anxiety in older adults, according to a new study published recently in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

The results of the study surprised researchers who now surmise that worry, particularly obsessive worrying, could be considered as a separate emotional trait from anxiety and depression when determining best treatment options for those with mental health disorders.

In this 1:2:1 podcast, I spoke with O’Hara, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, about the research as well as her lifelong pursuit of understanding the mysteries of the aging brain and neuropsychiatric disorders. Having reached the age of 65 this past September, I’m especially curious (maybe more than curious) about how to keep the brain healthy and avoid cognitive impairment as much as is possible. You may be, too.