A University of Texas at Dallas professor has been using a storefront in Casa Linda Plaza across from Doctors Hospital to study how activities like quilting and digital photography might improve brain function in older people.

Dr. Denise Park is the UTD T. Boone Pickens Distinguished University Chair in Clinical Brain Science, and one of the nation’s leading experts on the aging brain. Her National Institute of Health-funded study, called "Synapse", takes place over the course of 16 weeks, in which participants older than 60 spend 15 hours at the storefront each week. The basic goal is to answer the question of whether older adults can stave off cognitive decline as they age. To find out, Park splits the participants into groups according to activity, and measures brain function before and after the study to see how activity and socialization changed or improved their functioning.

Tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday, June 3), Park and a few of her study participants will be showcasing some of the project results (incudling quilts and digital photography created) and sharing insights from the ongoing study. The open house will take place from 3-5 p.m. at the Casa Linda Plaza storefront, 1152 N. Buckner, Suite 122A. She is trying to recruit a total of 360 Dallas residents older than 60 over the course of the study.

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