This Is Your Brain's Health Center

So, you're busy reading this blog at your desk (or on your phone ... at a stop light ... or in the HOV lane). At the same time you're replying to an e-mail, checking your voice mail, answering a coworker's question and doing whatever it is you do to make a living when you're not skipping work on a day like this. Bet you're pretty proud of your ability to multitask.

Don't be. You may have a good brain, but it's not that good. In fact, isn't it time you did a little something for your gray matter to ensure it stays healthy? We have just the thing: For $600 and two hours of your time, a scientist at the UT Dallas Center for Brain Health will administer a test that will figure out where your inefficient habits lie and how to fix them.

The physicals are part of a new effort to draw attention to the 10-year-old center on Mockingbird Lane, founded by Dr. Sandra Chapman. Among the purposes of the center, according to Chapman, is to teach you how to make your brain work most efficiently, whether you're a genius or, on the other end of the scale, a journalist.

Former First Lady Laura Bush was on hand at a private launch party at the center last night to introduce the cause of brain health to more than 300 young professionals. Said Bush, it's important for people to start thinking about the health of their mind while they're still young -- "and not just in your old age, when you hope you still have it." Big laughs.

To help raise money and awareness for the center, a new organization has been launched -- the Think Ahead Group, or TAG. The new organization aims to reach out to the younger generation. One way to attract them is to promise greater efficiency in the workplace by participating in a brain health physical.

The most common bad brain habit is multitasking. Most everybody does it, and some people even claim to be good at it. "Everybody thinks they can multitask, but really the brain can only focus on one thing at a time," Audette Rackle, clinical researcher, told a group of eager participants during an abridged demonstration of the brain physicals. It's not an IQ test, but that assurance didn't stop the young participants from believing it was. "I hope I'm smart enough," said Ellen Porter, 31, as she stepped up to participate in the demonstration.

"It's like training your brain to excel in business," said Rackle. "Think smarter, not harder."

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Kimberly Thorpe
Contact: Kimberly Thorpe