Michelle Carlson, PhD, uses wearables and data to measure cognitively enriching activity in daily life and design interventions to buffer the brain and delay dementia.
dementia prevention; cognitive aging; executive function; cognitive activity; physical activity; lifestyle interventions; neuroimaging; GPS; accelerometry
Experiences & Accomplishments
University of Minnesota
Dr. Carlson is a Professor in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (SPH) in Baltimore, MD, core faculty member in the Center on Aging and Health at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, and holds joint appointments in the Johns Hopkins SPH Department of Epidemiology and the School of Nursing’s Center on Innovative Care in Aging. Dr. Carlson seeks to buffer the aging brain and body through lifestyle. She examines the relationships between modifiable lifestyle and vascular risk factors and risk for age-related cognitive and functional declines and Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Carlson leads these investigations using both observational studies and randomized controlled trials, including the Women’s Health and Aging Study (WHAS) II Cognition Study, the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) now in its 30th year, the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEMS) trial, and the Baltimore Experience Corps Trial (BECT) where she evaluated the impact of school-based volunteer service on older adults’ cognitive, functional, and brain health. She now leads a 12-year follow-up study of volunteer-related benefits in cognitive aging and healthcare utilization. Recently, this intervention work has expanded to reach the sedentary and physically restricted through a, safe and immersive 3-D game promoting cognitive and physical activity in an underwater environment. Additionally, we are identifying how environments help and hinder physically, socially and cognitively enriching activity. This work will inform intervention design and social policy to delay dementia and disability, particularly in underserved populations at elevated risk for health disparities.