Conference to explore successful aging in a high-tech world - May 9

March 24, 2008

What are the greatest challenges we face as we age? Will our health care and lifestyle improve? What is clear is that advances in technology will impact how older adults interact within their environment in every way - from social relations to health care delivery. In one of the first conferences of its kind, the UCLA Center on Aging will present a one-day symposium featuring national academic and industry leaders who will discuss the interface between aging and new technology. The event will take place May 9 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

The UCLA Technology and Aging Conference: Successful Aging in a High-Tech World, will explore cutting-edge innovations in the medical, consumer and lifestyle fields that help people live better longer. We hope that this conference will capture the imagination of forward-thinking consumers, clinicians and business leaders who want to better understand how advances in technology and medicine will impact us as we age, said Dr. Gary Small, UCLA's Parlow-Solomon Professor on Aging and director of the UCLA Center on Aging.

Keynote speakers will include Joseph Coughlin, the founder and director of MIT's AgeLab, and high-tech industry maverick Eric Dishman, director of product research and innovation at Intel Corp. Many other speakers at the conference have been featured in the national media for their work and research on aging issues. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, who holds appointments in the department of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences and the department of physiological science, will open the conference by addressing issues related to circadian biology and how it affects the aging population. Breakout sessions and speakers from UCLA and around the country will cover the latest technological developments in a wide range of fields, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, arthritis, nutrition, diabetes, audiology, exercise technology, brain games, joint replacement and ophthalmology.

Legendary actor and author Kirk Douglas and Dr. Bruce Dobkin, medical director of the UCLA Neurologic Rehabilitation and Research Unit, will address the effects of stroke and discuss rehabilitation options. Their candid lunchtime conversation will touch on the personal and professional impact of stroke disease and the role technology can play in recovery. Following lunch, Douglas will be available to sign his books My Stroke of Luck and Let's Face It.

Dr. Gerald S. Levey, vice chancellor for medical sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, will introduce the two luncheon speakers and moderate the talk. Small, a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, will present new brain-scanning technologies that can detect early and subtle signs of age-related neurodegeneration and help track the effectiveness of interventions designed to protect a healthy brain from future decline. In another session, Small will be joined by Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, chief of the division of biological psychiatry at Duke University, to demonstrate how activities to keep the brain alert and fit have evolved from working crossword and Sudoku puzzles to playing electronic brain games that help maintain peak mental function.