Dr Alan Gow on BBC Radio Scotland - What Keeps You Sharp?

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Alan Gow, Associate Professor in Psychology, was recently featured in a Brainwaves radio programme on BBC Radio Scotland, discussing his research on the impact of our lifestyle on the brain as we age.

Alan's research through The Ageing Lab at Heriot-Watt looks at whether taking up a new activity slows decline in thinking and memory skills – our mental or cognitive abilities – as we grow older.

Alan has presented his work in unusual ways – including shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival's Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas. Clips from his most recent show – What Keeps You Sharp? – provided the backdrop for the radio programme.

Talking with presenter Pennie Latin, Alan discusses how different types of thinking skills might change as we age, and the approach the research takes in exploring people's understanding of those changes, what influences mental decline, and the steps we can take to preserve our thinking skills into old age. Topics up for discussion included the influence of lifestyle versus genes, what activities are most beneficial and to what extent what we eat and drink affects our brain ageing.

It's a genuinely fascinating listen, providing insight into the factors affecting mental decline through the ageing process. If you missed the show, it's available for download.

Alan's current research into whether taking up a new activity might help our thinking skills as we age is currently recruiting new participants in the Edinburgh & Lothians areas. If you're aged 65 or over, or know someone who is and may be interested, contact healthyageing@hw.ac.uk