Meet the Experts on Aging Well: Dr. Paul Nussbaum
Our Meet the Experts on Aging Well series celebrates the life’s work of our nation’s leading experts on aging.
When you read about Dr. Paul Nussbaum, it’s easy to feel a little “star-struck” by the dazzling array of honors and awards he’s earned, by the sheer number and caliber of international organizations (including the United Nations) that consider him the preeminent expert and “face of brain health” or by the impactful contributions he has already made to make the best research in his field of neuroscience accessible to the general public. However, you’re only star-struck until you hear him speak.
Dr. Nussbaum, Ph.D., ABPP, is a board-certified clinical psychologist specializing in neuropsychology. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Neuropsychology and the American Academy of Clinical Psychology, and serves as an Adjunct Professor of Neurological Surgery at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is the founder of Brain Health Center, Inc., which works with individuals and companies, organizations, and schools across the world to integrate mind-body-spiritual wellness with clinical approaches for a holistic program to create overall balance and brain health based upon his Brain Health Lifestyle ®.
Dr. Nussbaum serves as Chief Scientific Officer for many diverse companies and has published many peer reviewed articles, books, and white papers within the scientific community. He serves on the editorial boards for several scientific and clinical journals. He is an in-demand keynote speaker and popular lecturer for all ages.
Dr. Nussbaum is also an internationally recognized as a leader in Brain Health for his Brain Health Lifestyle ®. His 2010 book Save Your Brain is considered by AARP to be one of the top five books on brain fitness. He is a co-founder of Rosetta Stone-Fit Brains, where he serves as Chief Science Officer. Fit Brains has more than 10 million users and has been ranked the #1 education app in more than 90 countries worldwide. You can try the Fit Brains brain health lifestyle app by downloading it to your mobile phone or tablet.
On paper he’s amazing. However, in person he’s extraordinary.
What you notice right away is that despite his many accomplishments, the achievements Dr. Nussbaum is most passionate about, most enthusiastic about — are yours. Dr. Nussbaum never ceases to marvel at “the single greatest system ever designed in the history of the universe-your brain. Your brain is responsible for your every thought, emotion, and behavior.” He notes that sadly, “we humans do not know much about our brains and it is time to change that.”
It’s educating you on the power of your brain and all of its glorious possibilities that keep him enthusiastically sharing his hopeful message anywhere and everywhere he gets the chance. He is one of the most outspoken in the medical community to embrace new ideas around the mounting evidence that “the human brain (like the animal brain) can generate new brain cells.” Dr. Nussbaum and his colleagues are learning more about the possibility that “the human brain is now thought to have “neural plasticity” or be a system that is highly dynamic, constantly reorganizing, and malleable. It is shaped by environmental input. Our brains need exposure to environments that are enriched, complex and novel. ” His Brain Healthy Lifestyle® is based upon the belief that “exposure to enriched environments across your lifespan will lead to new brain cell development and increased cellular connections (“Synaptic Density”). Synaptic Density or Brain Resilience that may help to delay the onset of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and related dementias.”
This is big news for a generation of Americans facing ever growing numbers of persons impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease (1 new person is diagnosed every 67 seconds), and coping with the emotional, financial and healthcare toll of the disease as it becomes the 6th leading cause of death in our country per the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2015 Facts and Figures Report.
Dr. Nussbaum has spent his life and career helping others improve their brain health and helping educate all of us on the brain’s critical role in our overall well-being. He notes, “Humans are the only animal that can make themselves miserable or ecstatic based upon their thoughts. The body follows the brain.”
How we build brain resilience and better brain health is surprisingly achievable and what has served to make Dr. Nussbaum’s philosophy’s popular with millions worldwide. It’s his faith in you, in each of us, to make the little changes that cumulatively lead to a big difference in our overall well-being that make you think of him like both a personal coach and your own individual brain health booster. He passionately believes that “it is most important that we all work to maintain access to our life stories because there are little ones that want to learn from you.”
When I first met Dr. Nussbaum almost 15 years ago, I was so inspired by his hopeful message and empowering platform that I’ve continued to re-read his book often and even asked him to write the forward to my book, which he kindly did. What I loved about him was not only his effective brain health ideas but his sincerely caring and respectful approach. He doesn’t dictate how you should improve your overall wellness, instead he gives you the tools to decide that for yourself, he nurtures your desire to make the changes that will lead you to better outcomes, and he cheers wildly when you begin to work on some of these things because that’s what he’s doing in his own life too. His advice doesn’t feel prescriptive as much as it does collaborative. You get the sense that you’re in this together, working to improve brain health side by side and now there are 10 million of us doing just that. You get the feeling that he’s the kind of person that when he asks “How ARE you?” it’s only because he really wants to know.
Whether he is filling stadiums with 18,000 eager listeners at one of his lectures or talking to you one on one, his message is just as impactful and personal. He has an amazing relatability that breaks the language of neuro-science into understandable ideas that inspire you to incorporate more and more of his Brain Health Lifestyle® activities based upon what areas you wish to improve.