: News

Filed Under:

Alzheimer's Disease and Ties to Tutoring

Play associated audio
Jessie Wells tutors - and exercises her brain - at an elementary school in Baltimore.
Stephanie Kaye
Jessie Wells tutors - and exercises her brain - at an elementary school in Baltimore.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University are studying the benefits of tutoring on the brain, in a project that combines science and volunteerism.

Jessie Wells is of "retirement age." Yet these days she can be found back in elementary school. She speaks slowly, saying "Which choice...best answers the question...or completes the statement?"

Wells is a volunteer with Experience Corps in Baltimore, part of the Hopkins project studying brain function of older adults. "My friends told me, 'The first year you retire, do absolutely nothing.' Volunteering is new for me."

Wells' volunteerism may help keep her brain active enough to ward off dementia and disease. V.J. Varma is the project's coordinator. "Working in schools and tutoring can be very beneficial for your brain health, and perhaps - perhaps - it can do very beneficial things in terms of reducing risk of Alzheimer's."

The Hopkins study is finding other benefits to tutoring that go beyond doing a solitary activity, like crossword puzzles or word problems. Dr. Michelle Carlson. "You see how the volunteers interact with the children. They're not doing it for their own personal health promotion. They're doing it in the service of others." An activity that Carlson says provides benefits for the tutors, as well as a new generation of developing minds.

Stephanie Kaye reports...

NPR

Texas Bookseller Picks 3 Summer Reads

Julia Green of Front Street Books recommends Moonlight on Linoleum by Terry Helwig, City of Women by David R. Gillham and The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.
NPR

He Used To Live On The Streets Of Mumbai. Now, His Cafe Welcomes Everyone

Amin Sheikh's new cafe is a rarity in class-stratified India: It's open to people from all walks of life. Sheikh is a former street child, and so are many of his employees.
NPR

For Many Black Voters, Trump's 'What Do You Have To Lose?' Plea Isn't Enough

Donald Trump promises to help bring jobs and security to black neighborhoods. But his poll numbers with African-Americans are in the low single digits, and many say his message is insulting.
NPR

WATCH: Squishy 'Octobot' Moves Autonomously

The robot designed by a team from Harvard University moves without the help of any rigid parts. Researchers say it is the first proof-of-concept design for an entirely soft, autonomous machine.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.