As we age, our brains go through many changes. Neuropathways are built and re-built, memories are made and stored away, skills are learned. But all of that can be lost; and cognitive function becomes a concern in the later years of our lives.
Studying those changes is part of the role of a neuroscientist; and since November of 2019, Rachel Lazarus has been bringing her knowledge in the field to AARP’s Staying Sharp product. “I was strongly drawn to AARP's mission to empower all of us to choose how to live as we age,” says Lazarus, who received her PhD in June 2015. “I was also deeply impressed by AARP's Staying Sharp product, which is a personalized digital platform dedicated to educating users how holistic, lifestyle-based behaviors may influence cognitive changes as we age. They were looking for a neuroscientist to assess the effectiveness of the program—someone to characterize how Staying Sharp might affect cognitive health outcomes. I threw my hat in the ring and joined the team.”
A passionate lover of science, Lazarus also strongly believes that it should be accessible and understandable to everyone. As such, she greatly supports AARP’s mission with Staying Sharp. “I believe that the program represents the future of brain health: Proactive, rather than reactive, approaches in taking personal agency or is this accountability for how we experience cognitive aging,” she explains. “Rather than promising a ‘magic bullet’ or pill to ‘fix’ the aging brain, Staying Sharp provides an integrated approach to help our users learn, practice and apply everyday behavioral changes that may impact cognition. We are empowering our users to take control of their brain health while simultaneously translating the most up-to-date advances in age-related cognitive neuroscience for the public. It is a very exciting and fulfilling opportunity, both professional and personally.”
An active member of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce, Lazarus was named one of Alexandria Chamber's 40 Under 40 for 2020. “It has been a pleasure getting to know the other members of the Alexandria Chamber, particularly the other members in the 2020 40 Under 40 cohort!” she says. “In addition to learning about the remarkable accomplishments of my ‘classmates,’ the program has allowed me to engage in some great networking opportunities. Joining the Chamber plugs you into some of the most exciting developments happening all around the city, and there are tons of events for local professionals—all of whom care deeply about the City of Alexandria and its residents.”
For more information on the 40 Under 40 Awards Program and The Chamber ALX, contact