The Spark of Living and Dying: The Aging Brain

March 30-31, 2012

Is there anything that can be done to reverse the processes of aging on the mind? How do we deal with living, dying, and our aging brain?

We already know that the brain is a mystery whose secrets scientists are just beginning to unravel. Within its folds, billions of neurons forge links with billions of other neurons creating countless connections between cells. Every cell is precisely placed, every link between neurons carefully organized. Nothing is random, nothing arbitrary. Everything that makes us human – our personality, memories, dreams, and our aspirations  - even whom we love - is encoded there and it is a spark of life transmitted between synapses that ignite our being. 

That spark continues throughout our life as our brain goes on producing new neurons, new hormones and new connections that tie our life experiences together to form the basis of our wisdom. Neuroscientists today understand that the normal aging process leaves most mental functions intact however, aging, along with a host of age related diseases, impacts that spark of life.  What can we do to prevent and enjoy life throughout the life span?

The symposium, created in collaboration with the sponsors listed below, will explore these questions and more.


  • Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts, Bradley University
  • College of Education and Health Sciences, Bradley University
  • Department of Theatre Arts, Bradley University
  • Department of Leadership in Education, Human Services and Counseling, Bradley University
  • Department of Art, Bradley University
  • Social Work Program, Bradley University
  • Center for Collaborative Brain Research (partnership among Bradley University, OSF Saint Francis Hospital and the Illinois Neurological Institute)
  • Division of Continuing Education and Professional Development, Bradley University
  • Mental Health America of Illinois Valley
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • ICAC, Bradley University
  • Barrett Trust