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UCLA conference to address technology's impact on successful aging Oct. 29

While aging impacts everyday living in many ways, the latest technologies in the medical, consumer and lifestyle fields have the potential to help older adults live better for longer.

The UCLA Center on Aging's third annual "UCLA Technology and Aging Conference: Science Changing Lives," will feature national academic and industry leaders who will explore cutting-edge innovations affecting every aspect of life, from video games for seniors and remote health monitoring to medical robotics and the latest imaging tools for diagnosis and disease management.

The one-day symposium takes place Friday, Oct. 29, at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

Designed for older adults, their families and caregivers, the conference will provide information about the latest developments to help enhance the quality of life of seniors. Many speakers at the conference have been featured in the national media for their research and work.

"Every year, we explore how the latest technological innovations and medical advances can help us age more successfully," said Dr. Gary Small, UCLA's Parlow-Solomon Professor on Aging and director of the UCLA Center on Aging. "It's a great opportunity to learn from leading experts in the field."

Dr. Joseph F. Coughlin, founder and director of the AgeLab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will present the morning keynote address.

During lunch, Small, who is also a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, will give an overview of how technology has enhanced the field of psychiatry and what to expect in the future.

An afternoon keynote by Gerald Kominski, professor of health services and director of the Health Economics and Evaluation Research Program at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, will address how health care reform will impact the lives of seniors.

Conference breakout sessions will take place throughout the day and will focus on developments in disease management and treatment, adaptive and assistive devices, and the impact of information technology on well-being.

Panels will include:

Technology Addiction How to Digitally Detox The constant availability of the Internet, e-mail, texting and video gaming has led to a new form of compulsive and dependent behavior. Panelists will explore the similarities between these and other forms of addiction and obsessive-compulsive tendencies and offer strategies to help adapt to the modern age. (Dr. Gary Small, UCLA Center on Aging; Dr. Gloria Mark, Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine; Dr. Timothy Fong, UCLA Impulse Control Disorders Clinic)

Remote Health Sensors: Tele-Health Monitoring and Diagnosis Experts will demonstrate the latest devices for monitoring stroke patients, a sophisticated electronic shoe to help balance and coordination, and technology for at-home transmission of medical data for diagnosis and disease management. (Dr. Majid Sarrafzadeh, UCLA Wireless Health Institute; Dr. Bruce Dobkin, UCLA Neurologic Rehabilitation and Research Unit; Dr. Nick Terrafranca, MediSens; Dr. Michael Ong, UCLA Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research; Lorraine Evangelista, UCLA School of Nursing)

Medical Bionics and Robotics The panel will examine the latest in robotic heart surgery, real-time tactile feedback for prostheses, advances in urologic surgery and devices such as a pacemaker for the bladder. (Dr. Erik Dutson, UCLA Center for Advanced Surgical and Interventional Technology; Dr. Richard Shemin, UCLA chief of cardiothoracic surgery; Dr. Larissa Rodriguez, UCLA Division of Female Urology, Reconstructive Surgery and Urodynamics)

Busting Anti-Aging Myths Do reservatol, antioxidants and vitamin C help you live longer? A leading expert separates fact from fiction in presenting the latest on longevity and diet. (Dr. David Heber, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition)

A New Generation of Gamers Learn about the latest innovative adaptations to traditional video games that can be used safely by "gamers" of all ages, including seniors. (Belinda Lange, University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies)

Advances in Imaging: Latest Tools to Diagnose and Treat Disease Learn about the latest updates in computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scanning, including techniques for cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary imaging and vascular radiology. (Dr. J. Pablo Villablanca, UCLA chief of diagnostic neuroradiology; Dr. Cheryl Hoffman, UCLA Department of Radiology, Interventional Radiology Section; Dr. Paul Finn, UCLA chief of diagnostic cardiovascular imaging)

Staying in Home vs. Assisted Living According to statistics, 95 percent of seniors elect to stay in their own homes, but is that the right choice? Two national experts debate the issue of staying in the home with delivered services versus moving into a residential assisted-living building designed to cater to social and service needs. (Victor Regnier, ACSA Distinguished Professor, University of Southern California School of Architecture; Jon Pynoos, professor of gerontology, policy and planning, University of Southern California Andrus Gerontology Center)

Brain Fitness: Improving Cognitive Performance and Brain Health Growing scientific evidence suggests physical and mental exercise can improve brain health and cognitive function. Experts will review the latest research supporting brain fitness, highlight new cognitive training devices and discuss the challenges of determining the effectiveness of these technologies. (Dr. Gary Small, UCLA Center on Aging; Dr. Bill Reichman of Baycrest, an academic health science center focused on aging in Toronto; Steven Aldrich, Posit Science; Gary and Rita Considine, creators of the brain game "Mind Power")

Ending Back Pain Nine out of 10 adults will experience back pain in their lifetime. This session will explore the latest advances in treatment for eliminating back pain, including techniques and advances in surgery, spinal imaging, injection therapy and novel rehabilitation methods. (Dr. Jeffrey Wang, UCLA Orthopedic Surgery; Dr. David Fish, UCLA Injection Therapy; Sean Hampton, UCLA physical therapist)

Memory Boot Camp How good is your memory? Test your skills in this interactive session and learn methods for stimulating your memory from experts at the UCLA Center on Aging. (Dr. Linda Ercoli and Dr. Karen Miller, UCLA Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute)

Cutting-Edge Devices Swallow a capsule to image a digestive tract or replace the need for a heart transplant with a mechanical pump called the Heart Mate II. Panelists will discuss the latest advances in minimally invasive procedures and new treatments. (Dr. Rome Jutabha, UCLA Center for Small Bowel Diseases; Dr. W. Robb MacLellan, UCLA Division of Cardiology; Dr. Eric Esrailian, UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases)

Physical Exercise and Cognitive Health Can working out really increase your brain function? Experts will examine evidence of the positive effects that exercise and environmental enrichment can have on brain activity. (Dr. Carl Cotman, Institute of Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, University of California, Irvine; Dr. Amelia Russo-Neustadt, department of biological sciences, California State University, Los Angeles; Dr. Nicole Berchtold, Mind Research Unit, University of California, Irvine; Dr. Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, UCLA Department of Physiological Science)

The Friday, Oct. 29, conference will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Skirball Cultural Center. For a full program, registration and more information, please call 310-794-0777 or visit


Contact: Rachel Champeau
University of California -- Los Angeles

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