Brain Exercise Initiative (BEI) at Penn

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The Brain Exercise Initiative (BEI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit focused on preventing memory loss through brain exercise. Research by neuroscientist Dr. Ryuta Kawashima found that doing simple math and reading aloud for just 30 minutes a day, five times a week, significantly improved cognitive and physical abilities in those with Alzheimer’s. In Japan, these activities are currently being done in over 1400 care centers with over 15,000 patients. Inspired by Dr. Kawashima’s work, BEI was established as an intergenerational nonprofit in which university students would hold brain exercise programs at retirement homes. BEI creates daily packets which include simple math, writing, and “read-alouds” that each individual completes with the guidance of university students. Several retirement homes have integrated the program into their center, and chapters are currently being founded at different universities. Not only does the Brain Exercise Initiative hope to improve the memory of those who have Alzheimer’s, but we also create an invaluable, all-too-rare avenue for intergenerational service, discussion, and collaboration.

The Penn chapter of the Brain Exercise Initiative is a student organization at the University of Pennsylvania that seeks to further these goals by sharing these exercises and working towards intergenerational understanding by serving those affected by Alzheimer’s in the Philadelphia area and beyond.

Here is some of the research that has been done already:

We currently have chapters at 80+ universities including UCLA, Columbia, Cornell, Notre Dame, Brown and numerous others. We go to retirement homes and do simple math (addition, subtraction etc), reading aloud and writing (trivia) exercises with the elders.

If you have an interest in neuroscience and Alzheimer’s and enjoy volunteering with elders, this is the club for you!


Most Recent
Question: Where are the info sessions? - Cody Eskandarian

They'll be online at this Zoom link: 

To stay up to date on info, consider joining our listserv ( and following us on Instagram (@bei.atpenn) :D

- Amy Wu
~1 people found this question helpful~
Question: I am an online student interested in neuroscience that lives in New Hampshire. Would I be able to be a part of this group and participate in volunteer work in my state? - Courtney Mitchell

Definitely! We offer a virtual program where students call video call or voice call residents at the community homes and facilitate their exercises that way, as well as just calling them to check in and chat. You'll still be able to volunteer without physically being at Penn. 

- Sruthi Srinivas
~0 people found this question helpful~

Basic Info

12 Registered (> 100 Members)

Currently Accepting Members

Application Required

Fall Semester


How to Get Involved

Follow us on Instagram @bei.atpenn for updates! :)

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