Friday, April 25, 2014

Aging brains on the job

UI neuroscientist Steven Anderson offers perspective on Iowa’s aging workforce

By: Mary Geraghty Kenyon | 2014.04.18 | 07:00 AM

Two demographic trends in Iowa—an aging population and workers staying on the job later in life—will have a significant impact for employers and employees in the years ahead. University of Iowa neuroscientist Steven Anderson will offer his perspective during an April 29 presentation in Des Moines.

The event continues the UI’s popular Hawkeye Lunch and Learn series, which has been drawing capacity crowds since its January debut. Anderson will speak on, "The Aging Brain in the Workplace: How's That Going to Work?" from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, at the UI John and Mary Pappajohn Education Center, 1200 Grand Ave. in Des Moines.

Guests are invited to bring their lunches—desserts and drinks will be provided. The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. RSVP online.

People are living longer and working later in life than ever before, and Iowa has one of the oldest populations in the nation. It is natural for workers and employers to wonder about the impact of aging on job performance.

"Aging of the mind and brain is a particularly important determinant of performance," Anderson says, "but it’s also a complicated and sometimes sensitive topic. In truth, aging of the mind brings both challenges and benefits for the workplace."

Anderson will describe the latest findings from neuroscience regarding physical changes to the brain as we get older, the effect of an aging brain on cognition, and the impact this has on job performance.

Anderson’s study of the human brain spans two decades, and much of his clinical work, research, and teaching is dedicated to improved diagnosis and management of age-related neurological conditions.

The Hawkeye Lunch and Learn series offers monthly events in Des Moines and Iowa City designed to connect Iowa communities, university faculty, and government and industry leaders. The Provost’s Office of Outreach and Engagement sponsors the series. Upcoming events in Des Moines include:

  • May 27: "Working with Women on the Inside," Rachel Williams, associate professor of women's studies
  • June 17: University of Iowa Mobile Museum
  • July 22: Sean O'Harrow, director, UI Museum of Art
  • Aug. 12: "Magical Mythical Tour: In Search of the Beatles," Donna Parsons, UI Honors Program
  • Sept. 23: "The Internet: Past, Present and Future," Dan Reed, UI vice president for Research and Economic Development

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, contact the Office of the Provost in advance at 319-335-3565.


Linda Snetselaar, Provost's Office of Outreach & Engagement, 319-384-1553

Erika Christiansen, Provost's Office of Outreach & Engagement, 319-335-0219