Blog: The Brain Dialogues, filtered by tag: Dr Nicole Kochan

Does Social Interaction Reduce Risk of Dementia?

DR ANNE-NICOLE CASEY How people interact with and perceive one another, and each person’s thoughts and feelings about the quality of those interactions and relationships, can affect physical and mental health and well-being. Social cognitive function, which broadly refers to the way our brain processes social information, is recognised as an important marker of how efficiently our brain processes information in general1. Interestingly, the number of individuals with whom a person interacts frequently is associated with their short-term memory capacity2. Some studies report that having larger… Read More

Can an Old Dog Learn New Tricks? Neuroplasticity and Improving Your Memory in Older Adulthood

DR NICOLE KOCHAN, PhD It is common thinking that as we age our memory function deteriorates.  But over the past 20 years, research indicates that even the older brain has a degree of plasticity.  This means that the brain has the ability to make new connections between its neurons (or brain cells) in response to various types of stimulation or learning experiences, which in turn can help improve memory and other cognitive skills.  It has also been shown that older adults who regularly engage in complex mental activities have a lower risk of dementia.  The more, the better! Based on current… Read More
4 Aug 2014

Raising Researchers

KATE CROSBIE What makes a good researcher? Perseverance, creativity and problem solving all come to mind, but what about time and support? In 2008, CHeBA won an NHMRC Capacity Building Grant for the prevention and management of mental disorders in older Australians, funded to run from 2009 until 2015. One aim of this funding was to provide promising researchers with a sufficient period of training and apprenticeship to help them emerge as independent leaders in their respective fields. But is “capacity building” just another meaningless buzzword? With no definitive understanding of the… Read More