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KU talk in Topeka explores ‘mental gymnastics’

Monday, March 02, 2015

LAWRENCE – In the age of technology at our fingertips, brain games and brain training are frequently promoted as interventions to slow cognitive decline and reduce risk of developing dementia. A University of Kansas gerontology expert will offer guidance through the growing landscape of so-called “mental gymnastics” in a public presentation in Topeka.

Susan Kemper, professor of psychology, will explore the myths and reality of keeping a nimble mind during “Use it or Lose it” from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 5, at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, 1515 SW 10th Ave., Topeka.

Kemper will discuss research evaluating claims that computer games can reduce cognitive decline and dementia risk. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.2 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease. Of those, 5 million are 65 and older.

Kemper is Roy A. Roberts Distinguished Professor of Psychology and a senior scientist at the Gerontology Center at the KU Life Span Institute. She has studied effects of aging across the life span, focusing on the role of working memory in language processing by young and older adults and language acquisition by children. Her “The Language Across the Lifespan Project” research ranges from studies of how older adults’ memory affects speech production to studies of how to enhance older adults’ comprehension through “elderspeak,” a set of special speech modifications designed for older adults.

The presentation is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the KU College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. For more information, contact Brandon Woodard at brandon.woodard@ku.edu or at 785-864-4815.