University of Texas at Dallas Center for Vital Longevity
Park Aging Mind Laboratory



The Synapse Project is designed to test the much debated theory that you can keep your mind healthy in old age by leading an engaged lifestyle – the so called “Use it or lose it” hypothesis. The study is unique in that participants who enroll actually change their lifestyle to a more active, learning-based style and are immersed over a period of months in cognitive, physical, and social activities which we believe will facilitate maintenance of a healthy mind and brain. It is funded by an R01 award and a Challenge Grant from the National Institute on Aging to Denise C Park. Dr. Linda Drew directs and leads research on the study. Dr. Rong Zhang of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, along with Drs. Karen Rodrigue and Kristen Kennedy direct the exercise component. The project was featured in the New York Times and Dr. Park was recently interviewed about this project on KERA Public Radio.

Related Articles

Grossmann, I; Na, J; Varnum, ME; Park, DC; Kitayama, S; Nisbett, RE. (2010). Reasoning about social conflicts improves into old age. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107:16: 7246–7250.

Park, DC. (2009). Working later in life may facilitate neural health. In Insel, T.R. (Eds.), Cerebrum: Emerging Ideas in Brain Science. : The Dana Foundation.

Park, DC; Reuter-Lorenz, P. (2009). The adaptive brain: aging and neurocognitive scaffolding. Annual review of psychology, 60: 173-96.