A new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) calls for increased research on assessing and maintaining cognitive health in older adults. The report, Cognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action, released April 14, 2015, also suggests that some interventions for healthy aging—exercise, reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, and regular discussions with health professionals about medications and chronic conditions—be promoted to help maintain cognitive health. A third area of focus among the report’s 10 recommendations is aimed at the conduct and dissemination of independent reviews and guidelines for products claiming to affect cognitive health. The IOM report and its recommendations follow deliberations of a panel convened by the IOM with support from the McKnight Brain Research Foundation, AARP, the Retirement Research Foundation, the National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Institute on Aging (NIA) of the NIH, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The goal was to examine the public health dimensions and state of knowledge of cognitive aging.
NIA maintains an active research portfolio in cognitive aging and provides a number of resources for the public and health care professionals in this area. Among these are:
- Understanding Memory Loss: This easy-to-read booklet explains the difference between mild forgetfulness and more serious memory problems; describes the causes of memory problems and how they can be treated; and discusses how to cope with serious memory problems
- List of Current NIA-Funded Age-Related Cognitive Decline Clinical Trials: This list of ongoing clinical trials contains links to information about trials, the trial location, and who to contact for additional information.
- Brain Health Resource: This presentation toolkit offers current, evidence-based information and resources to facilitate conversations with older people about brain health. Designed for use at senior centers and in other community settings, it contains a PowerPoint presentation, an educator guide, handouts, and a resource list. Materials are written in plain language and explain what people can do to help keep their brains functioning best as they age.