Sarah Lenz Lock
Sarah Lenz Lock is Senior Vice President for Policy in AARP’s Policy, Research and International Affairs (PRI) where she helps position AARP as a thought leader addressing the major issues facing older Americans. Ms. Lock leads AARP’s policy initiatives on brain health and care for people living with dementia, including serving as the Executive Director of the Global Council on Brain Health, an independent collaborative of scientists, doctors, and policy experts convened by AARP to provide trusted information on brain health.
Ms. Lock coordinates AARP’s role in the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, and helps to assure policy alignment within AARP. From 2007 to 2013 she served as Vice President, Office of Policy Integration of AARP, where she directed the office responsible for the development of AARP’s public policies. Previously, Ms. Lock was Senior Attorney/Manager at AARP Foundation Litigation conducting impact litigation on behalf of older persons, working on health care issues related to Medicare, Medicaid, managed care, long term care, and prescription drugs. She has authored numerous amicus briefs in appellate courts all over the country on health care issues impacting older Americans.
Sarah is a member of the American Society on Aging and the National Academy of Social Insurance. Sarah serves on the HHS Administration on Community Living Aging and Cognitive Health Technical Expert Advisory Board, the Dementia Friendly America National Council, and the Health and Aging Policy Fellow Program National Advisory Board Member. She formerly served as a Commissioner for the American Bar Association’s Commission on Law and Aging.
Prior to joining AARP, Sarah served as a Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice handling complex litigation against federal agencies such as NIH, FDA, the Air Force and Army, and EPA. She provided legal advice and assisted in policy development for numerous federal agencies on issues that included information technology, transportation, security and terrorism, and tort reform. She also taught at the Attorney General’s Advocacy Institute for Civil Trial Advocacy.
Sarah began her career as a Legislative Assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives to Congressman Michael D. Barnes working with the Federal Government Service Task Force, and worked at the law firm of Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn.
Ms. Lock received a B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College, and a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law where she was a member of the law review.
Brain Food: GCBH Recommendations on Nourishing Your Brain Health
The Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) examined the state of science on the impact diet has on brain health in adults age 50 and older. GCBH experts carefully considered what can be confidently concluded about whether and how dietary patterns and food choices influence brain health. This presentation will provide an overview of the specific recommendations on which foods to encourage, include or limit as people age. Moreover, we will present 12 practical tips aimed at promoting healthy eating habits and supporting overall brain health.
A heart-healthy diet is also a brain-healthy diet. The GCBH found that a plant-based diet rich in green leafy vegetables and berries contributes to better brain health, while a diet high in red meat, saturated fats, sugar and salt can harm your brain health. Instead, our experts encourage people choose a variety of fruits and vegetables and healthy grains. Our experts also advise that you swap out butter and red meats for more olive oil and omega-3 rich fish.
To complement the GCBH’s report, AARP surveyed a nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 adults age 40 and older to understand the relationship between their eating habits and their mental well-being and brain health. The survey identifies what older Americans say they are eating now, their willingness to eat a healthier diet when they know it can impact their brain and the barriers preventing them from eating healthier choices.
In sum, these GCBH recommendations are based on current peer-reviewed evidence suggesting that the recommended foods are beneficial to cognitive health. However, the data does not conclusively support that eating any of the recommended foods can prevent cognitive decline. Additional research in this area is recommended and we will also discuss knowledge gaps in the field of nutrition and brain health.