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We used to think that an aging brain was inevitable, and that nothing could be done to slow, stop, or even reverse the process. However, modern neuroscience gives us hope.

The latest research suggests there are significant steps we can take to slow the brain’s aging process. Interestingly, our brain can repair damaged neural pathways, and even build new ones throughout the course of our lifetime! 

As we age, we may notice that recalling names or words isn’t as easy as it used to be, or that paying attention or staying focused for periods of time is more challenging. 

We can’t avoid that our bodies and brains change as we age. Atrophy, or shrinking of the brain, is commonly seen in aging brains. Other things, such as changing hormones, decreased blood flow and deteriorating neural pathways, are also associated with age-related changes in the brain and body. So too is our response to stresses such as illness. Observed changes can even be linked to more serious concerns such as Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. 

While this sounds overwhelming, and perhaps even downright depressing, there is good news. We know that things like regular exercise, healthy eating, cognitive training and maintaining good mental health are all important factors in optimal brain functioning. Starting early to adopt these positive habits is important, but knowing where to begin can be challenging, especially in today’s society of quick-fixes, extreme diets and difficult-to-follow “health programs.” 

To start, you must have an accurate understanding of your current brain health with a comprehensive assessment. 

The Marcus Institute of Integrative Health – Jefferson Health has been at the forefront of providing comprehensive, state-of-the-art brain assessments using the latest technologies. Combined with years of research and clinical expertise on brain function, this has led to the establishment of the Marcus Institute’s Optimal Brain Program

The focus of the program is to conduct a multidimensional assessment of brain performance and resiliency.

A recent patient of the Optimal Brain Program, a former Navy SEAL, sought out this program because of its comprehensive approach, combining the latest brain imaging with advanced assessments of brain-body performance. Understanding that his brain health was inherently connected to his overall health, the patient knew that some of his body-related symptoms were likely impacting his brain function and vice versa. 

After participating in the one-day assessment, he expressed that the major differentiator between the Optimal Brain Program and his previous experience is the fact that the Marcus Institute’s team “didn’t just look at my symptoms and say, ‘How do we treat the symptom?’” They actually said, ‘Is there a root cause here? Is the root cause maybe in the brain?’ And then, ‘What do we do to find it?’” 

The Optimal Brain Program’s one-day assessment includes brain imaging protocols designed by world-renowned medical neuroscientist, Andrew Newberg, MD. Additional expertise may include evaluations designed by lead neurologist, Daniel Kremens, MD, an international leader in the field, as well as New York Times best-selling author on brain health, Sara Gottfried, MD. 

To learn more about the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health’s Optimal Brain Health Program, visit JeffersonHealth.org/MarcusBrain.

Daniel A. Monti, M.D., MBA

Daniel Monti is founding director and chief executive officer of the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health - Jefferson Health. He is professor and founding chair of the Department of Integrative Medicine...