Blog

Brain Plasticity and Exercise

By marnold | June 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

->One thing we say repeatedly during our BrainFlex sessions is that age doesn’t matter when it comes to learning. Although it may take us a little longer to learn things, we are still able to learn throughout our lifetime. (Repetition is key!) ->Researchers across the globe agree that we are able to learn throughout our lifetime, which is what the term Brain Plasticity means. (We can grow new neural pathways as long as we are committed to doing so.) ->Most researchers also agree that we must make a concerted effort and remain committed to all of the components important to brain health if we are to experience the best outcomes from life-long learning. These are: Exercise, Healthy Diet, Brain Stimulation, Social Connection, and in recent years, we’ve learned the importance of Good Sleep Patterns and having a Positive Attitude. Although each of these important components are required to ‘age well’, for the purpose of bog chat, I’d like to focus on just one. Exercise: This is one area of research where the positive impact on brain health is the most consistent and undeniable. ->Exercise improves our flow of oxygen throughout our body, which in turn, benefits both the body and the brain, including memory. ->Exercise has been shown in repeated studies to provide our brains with ‘fight’, some researchers describe this fight as ‘reverse aging’. ->Exercise creates an overall feeling of well-being through the release of ‘feel good’ chemicals. (neurotransmitters) ->Exercise increases the number of dendrites in the brain. Dendrites are extensions of our nerve cells.  Their job is to receive electrical impulses from other cells and then communicate those messages to other parts of the brain cell.E

The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains By: Alvaro Fernandez

By | August 5, 2016 | 0 Comments

Article By: Alvaro Fernandez Let’s review some good lifestyle options we can follow to maintain, and improve, our vibrant brains. Learn what is the “It” in “Use It or Lose It”. A basic understanding will serve you well to appre­ci­ate your brain’s beauty as a liv­ing and constantly-developing dense for­est with bil­lions of neu­rons and synapses. Take care of your nutri­tion. Did you know that the brain only weighs 2% of body mass but consumes over 20% of the oxy­gen and nutri­ents we intake? As a gen­eral rule, you don’t need expen­sive ultra-sophisticated nutri­tional sup­ple­ments; just make sure you don’t stuff your­self with the “bad stuff”. Remem­ber that the brain is part of the body. Things that exer­cise your body can also help sharpen your brain: phys­i­cal exer­cise enhances neurogenesis. Prac­tice pos­i­tive, future-oriented thoughts until they become your default mind­set and you look for­ward to every new day in a con­struc­tive way. Stress and anx­i­ety, no mat­ter whether induced by exter­nal events or by your own thoughts, actu­ally kills neu­rons and pre­vent the cre­ation of new ones. You can think of chronic stress as the oppo­site of exer­cise: it pre­vents the cre­ation of new neurons. Thrive on Learn­ing and Men­tal Chal­lenges. The point of hav­ing a brain is pre­cisely to learn and to adapt to chal­leng­ing new envi­ron­ments. Once new neu­rons appear in your brain, where they stay in your brain and how long they sur­vive depends on how you use them. “Use It or Lose It” does not mean “do cross­word puz­zle num­ber 1,234,567″. It means, “chal­lenge your brain often with fun­da­men­tally new activities”. We are (as far as we know) the only self-directed organ­isms in this planet. Aim high. Once you grad­u­ate from col­lege, keep learn­ing. Once you become too com­fort­able in one job, find a new one. The brain keeps devel­op­ing, reflect­ing what you do with it. Explore, travel. Adapt­ing to new loca­tions forces you to pay more atten­tion to your envi­ron­ment. Make new deci­sions, use your brain. Don’t Out­source Your Brain. Not to media per­son­al­i­ties, not to politi­cians, not to your smart neighbor… Make your own deci­sions, and mis­takes. And learn from them. That way, you are train­ing your brain, not your neighbors’. Develop and main­tain stim­u­lat­ing friend­ships. We are “social ani­mals”, and need social inter­ac­tion. This, by the way, is why ‘Baby Ein­stein’ has been shown not to be the panacea for chil­dren development. Laugh. Often. Especially to cog­ni­tively com­plex humor, full of twists and sur­prises. Bet­ter, try to become the next Jon Stewart Now, remem­ber that what counts is not read­ing this article-or any other-, but prac­tic­ing a bit every day until small steps snow­ball into unstop­pable, inter­nal­ized habits…so, pick your next bat­tle and try to start improv­ing at least one of these 10 habits today. Revisit the habit above that really grabbed […]

The Neural Retraining System

By | June 8, 2016 | 0 Comments

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs and to determine whether making a lifestyle change or decision based on this information is appropriate for you.

Neuroplasticity allows the brain to be strengthened at any age.

By | May 21, 2016 | 0 Comments

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs and to determine whether making a lifestyle change or decision based on this information is appropriate for you.

A Few Facts: The Impact of Socialization on Senior Wellness

By | January 5, 2016 | 0 Comments

A FEW FACTS:  SOCIALIZATION and SENIOR WELLNESS “Strong social ties can preserve our brain health as we age.” (The American Journal of Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health study). “Social isolation may be an important risk factor for cognitive decline in the elderly.” (Tara Parker-Pope, Socializing Appears to Delay Memory Problems, The New York Times, Well, June 4, 2008) “Elderly people who are socially isolated and lonely may be at greater risk of early death” –March 25 (HealthDay News) “Lack of social contact might be an even bigger risk factor than loneliness.” –March 25  (HealthDay News) “Social contact is a fundamental aspect of human existence.  Being socially isolated may lead to the development of serious illness and a reduced life span” (Andrew Steptoe, director of the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care at University College London.)   The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs and to determine whether making a lifestyle change or decision based on this information is appropriate for you.

Research Supports Engaging in Specific Activities May Lead to Decrease in Cognitive Decline

By | December 20, 2015 | 0 Comments

Can brain exercises keep your brain healthier as you age and prevent memory loss? Can they even prevent or delay dementia such as Alzheimer’s?                  We need more studies to know for sure. But a number of studies show the benefits of staying mentally active. Mental engagement is consistently linked with a decreased risk of a decline in thinking skills. So games, puzzles, and other types of brain training may help slow memory loss and mental decline. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about the impact of brain exercises on memory and dementia. Can brain exercises prevent memory loss or dementia?                          Researchers still need to do more study. But there appears to be a consistent link between brain training and a decreased risk of mental decline. Some studies have shown brain training can have long-lasting positive effects. That was seen, for example, in a study called ACTIVE — the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly study. The study involved 2,802 adults aged 65 and older. Participants attended up to 10 brain-training sessions over a 5- to 6-week period. The sessions included training in strategies for: • Memory • Reasoning • Speed of processing information People who took the training showed improvements in those areas that lasted for at least 5 years. Even better? This translated into improvements in their everyday lives, such as the ability to manage money and do housework. But what about prevention of Alzheimer’s and other dementias? Does brain training help?                                                                                                      A study published in 2010 looked at this question and found that staying mentally active delayed cognitive (thinking) decline. After onset of Alzheimer’s, however, mental decline sped up in people who were mentally active. How could this be true? It’s possible that being cognitively active initially bolstered the brain, so symptoms didn’t show up until later in the disease process after it reached a kind of tipping point. The silver lining here? People who are mentally active may spend a shorter part of their lives in a state of decline, even if they develop Alzheimer’s. How does brain activity help? Animal studies have shown that mental stimulation may help protect the brain by: • Decreasing the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, such as increases in certain proteins (plaques and tangles) • Supporting new nerve cell growth • Prompting communication between nerve cells By keeping your brain active with brain exercises or other engagement, you may help build up a reserve of brain cells and connections. You might even grow new brain cells. This is one explanation for the link between Alzheimer’s and lower levels of education. Experts think that extra stimulation from education may protect the brain by strengthening brain cell connections. Of course, neither education nor brain exercises provide an insurance policy against Alzheimer’s. But they may help delay the onset of symptoms, prolonging a higher […]

Mind Diet – Part 2

By | December 15, 2015 | 0 Comments

Fatty Fish Seafood like salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, and sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, powerful and versatile nutrients that are essential for a healthy mind. About 40% of the fatty acids in brain cell membranes are DHA, one of the main omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil. Experts believe it’s probably necessary for transmitting signals between brain cells. Researchers at Tufts University found that people who ate fish 3 times a week and had the highest levels of DHA in their blood slashed their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 39%. Eat it: At least twice a week (limit albacore tuna to no more than 6 ounces a week to minimize mercury exposure). Leafy Green and Cruciferous Veggies Pile salads,stir-fries, and side dishes with broccoli,cauliflower, cabbage,kale, bok choy, and brussels sprouts. They’re filled with antioxidants like vitamin C and plant compounds called carotenoids,which are particularly powerful brain protectors. Antioxidants prevent damage from free radicals, which are waste products your body makes when cells use fuel to create energy. Your brain is especially vulnerable to damage from free radicals because it uses a lot of fuel (it’s only about 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy).Since your mind makes a lot of these toxic by-products, ample antioxidants help to disarm and defuse them. While all antioxidants (from a variety of plants) are good for your brain,these cruciferous veggies are especially effective. A Harvard Medical School study of more than 13,000 women found that those who ate the most lowered their brain age by 1 to 2 years. Eat it: Daily, as part of a well-rounded mix of other colorful veggies. Avocado,Oils, Nuts, and Seeds They all contain another important antioxidant: vitamin E. n one study, researchers found that people who consumed moderate amounts vitamin E-from food, not supplements-lowered their risk of AD by 67%. Eat it: Frequently; shoot for 15 mg of E a day, the equivalent of 2 ounces of almonds. Chocolate Sweeten your brain-boosting diet with the dark kind (at least 70% cocoa); it contains flavonoids, another class of antioxidants that some research links to brain health. Other flavonoid-rich foods include apples,red and purple grapes, red wine, onions, tea, and beer. Eat it: Frequently, as part of a healthy total calorie intake. Up to half an ounce daily has also been shown to lower blood pressure. Berries Research indicates these antioxidant powerhouses may protect your brain, although the mechanism isn’t fully understood. Some scientists think they help to build healthy connections between brain cells. Eat them: Daily, added to yogurt,oatmeal,or cereal for breakfast or an afternoon snack. Whole grains Fiber-rich oatmeal,oat bran,brown rice, and so on help stabilize blood glucose (sugar) levels, compared with refined carbs like white bread and sugary foods. Your body digests these simple […]

Activities To Change Your Brain

By | December 14, 2015 | 0 Comments

By Rick T. on 05/12/2013 in Brain Fitness Neurogenesis is the process by which the brain generates new neurons and new connections It happens that as we get old, the neurogenesis process in our brains decreases. This affects our life by making us more difficult to learn new things (and by hence, change our opinions or views of the world). The reason why neurogenesis decreases with age has two sides: first, neurogenesis decreases due to several physiological issues (motivated by genes) with age. Second, not making use of the neurogenesis (by learning or doing new things) atrophies neurogenesis. You can do little to avoid the first reason: you should have a healthy life. Doing sports and eating properly can minimise the effect of genes in neurogenesis. However, the effect on that is very small. You can however, work on the atrophy of neurogenesis and have a high impact on it by performing new things. This could be as simple as going to work along a different path, or having a different drink at the bar, or changing your weekend. However, you can do the best impact in your neurogenesis by learning new things. If you don’t know what to learn, below, you will find a list of challenging tasks that you can learn and maintain your neurogenesis alive. Look through the list, and choose something that suits you. And when you have mastered it, come back here and pick another thing. Learning new things, from now on, should be a constant in your life! Learn New Languages Learn to play an instrument Learn an artistic skill Learn about computers Learn a new sport Study a different career Learn a dancing style Learn social skills Learn to play a new table game Prepare for a mental competition In addition to the list above, you must realize that learning Insanity Mind will increase your neurogenesis. There are two reasons: one, it will teach you new things and challenge in all the main skills of the brain (memory techniques, mental calculus, speed reading…). Second, once you master the Insanity Mind method you will have a very powerful box of mental tools ready to be used to learn other things (like the ones in the list above). The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs and to determine whether making a lifestyle change or decision based on this information is appropriate for you.

Physical Exercise and Brain Health

By | November 12, 2015 | 0 Comments

Physical Exercise and Brain Health By: Dr. Pascale Michelon What is the connection between physical and mental exercises? Do they have addictive effects on brain health? Are they redundant? Let’s start by reviewing what we know about the effects of physical exercise on the brain. The effect of physical exercise on cognitive performance Early studies compared groups of people who exercised to groups of people who did not exercise much. Results showed that people who exercised usually had better performance in a range of cognitive tasks compared to non-exercisers. Laurin and colleagues (2001) even suggested that moderate and high levels of physical activity were associated with lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The problem with these studies is that the exercisers and the non-exercisers may differ on other factors than just exercise. The advantage that exerciser show may not come from exercising but from other factors such as more resources, better brain health to start with, better diet, etc. The solution to this problem is to randomly assigned people to either an aerobic training group or a control group. If the exerciser group and the non-exerciser group are very similar to start with and if the exerciser group shows less decline or better performance over time than the non­-exerciser group, then one can conclude that physical exercise is beneficial for brain health. In 2003, Colcombe and Kramer, analyzed the results of 18 scientific studies published between 2000 and 2001 that were conducted in the way described above. The results of this meta-analysis clearly showed that fitness training increases cognitive perfor­mance in healthy adults between the ages of 55 and 80. Another meta-analysis published in 2004 by Heyn and colleagues shows similar beneficial effects of fitness training on people over 65 years old who had cognitive impairment or dementia. What is the effect of fitness training on the brain itself? Research with animals has shown that in mice, increased aerobic fitness (running) can increase the number of new cells formed in the hippocampus (the hippocampus is crucial for learning and memory). Increased exercise also has a beneficial effect on mice’s vascular system. Only one study has used brain imaging to look at the effect of fitness on the human brain. In 2006, Colcombe and colleagues randomly assigned 59 older adults to either a cardiovascular exercise group, or a nonaerobic exercise control group (stretching and toning exercise). Participants exercised 3h per week for 6 months. Colcombe et al. scanned the participants’ brains before and after the training period. After 6 months, the brain volume of the aerobic exercising group increased in several areas compared to the other group. Volume increase occurred principally in frontal and temporal areas of the brain involved in executive control and memory processes. The authors do not know what underlying cellular changes […]

Socialization of Seniors Impact Quality of Life and Health

By | October 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

A vast body of evidence demonstrates the physical benefits of a healthy social life. Conversely, loneliness and social isolation have been clearly linked to poor health outcomes. Numerous studies have shown that socially isolated seniors even have a shorter life expectancy. “A Review of Social Isolation” by Nicholas R. Nicholson published in The Journal of Primary Prevention, is a definitive scholarly article on social isolation and a comprehensive “study of studies.” Its introduction observes bluntly that “social isolation has been demonstrated to lead to numerous detrimental health effects in older adults, including increased risk for all-cause mortality, dementia, increase risk for re-hospitalization, and an increased number of falls.” Social isolation among seniors is alarmingly common, and will continue to increase in prevalence as the older population grows. “A Review of Social Isolation” notes that the prevalence of social isolation among community dwelling older adults (seniors who live at home rather than senior communities) may be as high as 43%. With the sheer number of older persons projected to increase exponentially in the near future, social isolation will likely impact the health, well-being and quality of life of numerous older person now and in the foreseeable future. Considering the demonstrated risks and the increasing prevalence of this issue, it’s certainly worth addressing how we can promote social integration at the larger social level, among our older loved ones, and even ourselves – for it has been shown that family caregivers are themselves at a high risk of social isolation Here are some ways to promote social health and connectedness: 1. Make Transportation Available Lack of adequate transportation is a primary cause of a social isolation. Because many seniors do not drive, this is a big issue for them, so anything that helps seniors get around and make independent choices about travel promotes their social health. On the level of society, creating a solid public transportation infrastructure and providing special transportation options to seniors and disabled people will help promote their social integration. For example, our blog recently reported that giving free buses to seniors promotes their health. On the level of our family, offering rides to older loved ones and helping them to learn to use public transportation will help them maintain social connections and a healthy sense of independence. 2. Promote Sense of Purpose Seniors with a sense of purpose or hobbies that really interest them are less likely to succumb to the negative effects of social isolation. Besides providing a sense of purpose,many hobbies and interests are inherently social in nature. Anything that involves a group, for example, playing bridge, could be said to be socially healthy. If a senior is bereft of ideas for what to do, there are always planned events at the local senior center. Volunteering is also great way of maintaining and expressing […]

Brain Plasticity and Exercise

By marnold | June 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

->One thing we say repeatedly during our BrainFlex sessions is that age doesn’t matter when it comes to learning. Although it may take us a little longer to learn things, we are still able to learn throughout our lifetime. (Repetition is key!) ->Researchers across the globe agree that we are able to learn throughout our lifetime, which is what the term Brain Plasticity means. (We can grow new neural pathways as long as we are committed to doing so.) ->Most researchers also agree that we must make a concerted effort and remain committed to all of the components important to brain health if we are to experience the best outcomes from life-long learning. These are: Exercise, Healthy Diet, Brain Stimulation, Social Connection, and in recent years, we’ve learned the importance of Good Sleep Patterns and having a Positive Attitude. Although each of these important components are required to ‘age well’, for the purpose of bog chat, I’d like to focus on just one. Exercise: This is one area of research where the positive impact on brain health is the most consistent and undeniable. ->Exercise improves our flow of oxygen throughout our body, which in turn, benefits both the body and the brain, including memory. ->Exercise has been shown in repeated studies to provide our brains with ‘fight’, some researchers describe this fight as ‘reverse aging’. ->Exercise creates an overall feeling of well-being through the release of ‘feel good’ chemicals. (neurotransmitters) ->Exercise increases the number of dendrites in the brain. Dendrites are extensions of our nerve cells.  Their job is to receive electrical impulses from other cells and then communicate those messages to other parts of the brain cell.E

The Ten Habits of Highly Effective Brains By: Alvaro Fernandez

By | August 5, 2016 | 0 Comments

Article By: Alvaro Fernandez Let’s review some good lifestyle options we can follow to maintain, and improve, our vibrant brains. Learn what is the “It” in “Use It or Lose It”. A basic understanding will serve you well to appre­ci­ate your brain’s beauty as a liv­ing and constantly-developing dense for­est with bil­lions of neu­rons and synapses. Take care of your nutri­tion. Did you know that the brain only weighs 2% of body mass but consumes over 20% of the oxy­gen and nutri­ents we intake? As a gen­eral rule, you don’t need expen­sive ultra-sophisticated nutri­tional sup­ple­ments; just make sure you don’t stuff your­self with the “bad stuff”. Remem­ber that the brain is part of the body. Things that exer­cise your body can also help sharpen your brain: phys­i­cal exer­cise enhances neurogenesis. Prac­tice pos­i­tive, future-oriented thoughts until they become your default mind­set and you look for­ward to every new day in a con­struc­tive way. Stress and anx­i­ety, no mat­ter whether induced by exter­nal events or by your own thoughts, actu­ally kills neu­rons and pre­vent the cre­ation of new ones. You can think of chronic stress as the oppo­site of exer­cise: it pre­vents the cre­ation of new neurons. Thrive on Learn­ing and Men­tal Chal­lenges. The point of hav­ing a brain is pre­cisely to learn and to adapt to chal­leng­ing new envi­ron­ments. Once new neu­rons appear in your brain, where they stay in your brain and how long they sur­vive depends on how you use them. “Use It or Lose It” does not mean “do cross­word puz­zle num­ber 1,234,567″. It means, “chal­lenge your brain often with fun­da­men­tally new activities”. We are (as far as we know) the only self-directed organ­isms in this planet. Aim high. Once you grad­u­ate from col­lege, keep learn­ing. Once you become too com­fort­able in one job, find a new one. The brain keeps devel­op­ing, reflect­ing what you do with it. Explore, travel. Adapt­ing to new loca­tions forces you to pay more atten­tion to your envi­ron­ment. Make new deci­sions, use your brain. Don’t Out­source Your Brain. Not to media per­son­al­i­ties, not to politi­cians, not to your smart neighbor… Make your own deci­sions, and mis­takes. And learn from them. That way, you are train­ing your brain, not your neighbors’. Develop and main­tain stim­u­lat­ing friend­ships. We are “social ani­mals”, and need social inter­ac­tion. This, by the way, is why ‘Baby Ein­stein’ has been shown not to be the panacea for chil­dren development. Laugh. Often. Especially to cog­ni­tively com­plex humor, full of twists and sur­prises. Bet­ter, try to become the next Jon Stewart Now, remem­ber that what counts is not read­ing this article-or any other-, but prac­tic­ing a bit every day until small steps snow­ball into unstop­pable, inter­nal­ized habits…so, pick your next bat­tle and try to start improv­ing at least one of these 10 habits today. Revisit the habit above that really grabbed […]

The Neural Retraining System

By | June 8, 2016 | 0 Comments

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs and to determine whether making a lifestyle change or decision based on this information is appropriate for you.

Neuroplasticity allows the brain to be strengthened at any age.

By | May 21, 2016 | 0 Comments

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs and to determine whether making a lifestyle change or decision based on this information is appropriate for you.

A Few Facts: The Impact of Socialization on Senior Wellness

By | January 5, 2016 | 0 Comments

A FEW FACTS:  SOCIALIZATION and SENIOR WELLNESS “Strong social ties can preserve our brain health as we age.” (The American Journal of Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health study). “Social isolation may be an important risk factor for cognitive decline in the elderly.” (Tara Parker-Pope, Socializing Appears to Delay Memory Problems, The New York Times, Well, June 4, 2008) “Elderly people who are socially isolated and lonely may be at greater risk of early death” –March 25 (HealthDay News) “Lack of social contact might be an even bigger risk factor than loneliness.” –March 25  (HealthDay News) “Social contact is a fundamental aspect of human existence.  Being socially isolated may lead to the development of serious illness and a reduced life span” (Andrew Steptoe, director of the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care at University College London.)   The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs and to determine whether making a lifestyle change or decision based on this information is appropriate for you.

Research Supports Engaging in Specific Activities May Lead to Decrease in Cognitive Decline

By | December 20, 2015 | 0 Comments

Can brain exercises keep your brain healthier as you age and prevent memory loss? Can they even prevent or delay dementia such as Alzheimer’s?                  We need more studies to know for sure. But a number of studies show the benefits of staying mentally active. Mental engagement is consistently linked with a decreased risk of a decline in thinking skills. So games, puzzles, and other types of brain training may help slow memory loss and mental decline. Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about the impact of brain exercises on memory and dementia. Can brain exercises prevent memory loss or dementia?                          Researchers still need to do more study. But there appears to be a consistent link between brain training and a decreased risk of mental decline. Some studies have shown brain training can have long-lasting positive effects. That was seen, for example, in a study called ACTIVE — the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly study. The study involved 2,802 adults aged 65 and older. Participants attended up to 10 brain-training sessions over a 5- to 6-week period. The sessions included training in strategies for: • Memory • Reasoning • Speed of processing information People who took the training showed improvements in those areas that lasted for at least 5 years. Even better? This translated into improvements in their everyday lives, such as the ability to manage money and do housework. But what about prevention of Alzheimer’s and other dementias? Does brain training help?                                                                                                      A study published in 2010 looked at this question and found that staying mentally active delayed cognitive (thinking) decline. After onset of Alzheimer’s, however, mental decline sped up in people who were mentally active. How could this be true? It’s possible that being cognitively active initially bolstered the brain, so symptoms didn’t show up until later in the disease process after it reached a kind of tipping point. The silver lining here? People who are mentally active may spend a shorter part of their lives in a state of decline, even if they develop Alzheimer’s. How does brain activity help? Animal studies have shown that mental stimulation may help protect the brain by: • Decreasing the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, such as increases in certain proteins (plaques and tangles) • Supporting new nerve cell growth • Prompting communication between nerve cells By keeping your brain active with brain exercises or other engagement, you may help build up a reserve of brain cells and connections. You might even grow new brain cells. This is one explanation for the link between Alzheimer’s and lower levels of education. Experts think that extra stimulation from education may protect the brain by strengthening brain cell connections. Of course, neither education nor brain exercises provide an insurance policy against Alzheimer’s. But they may help delay the onset of symptoms, prolonging a higher […]

Mind Diet – Part 2

By | December 15, 2015 | 0 Comments

Fatty Fish Seafood like salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, and sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, powerful and versatile nutrients that are essential for a healthy mind. About 40% of the fatty acids in brain cell membranes are DHA, one of the main omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil. Experts believe it’s probably necessary for transmitting signals between brain cells. Researchers at Tufts University found that people who ate fish 3 times a week and had the highest levels of DHA in their blood slashed their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 39%. Eat it: At least twice a week (limit albacore tuna to no more than 6 ounces a week to minimize mercury exposure). Leafy Green and Cruciferous Veggies Pile salads,stir-fries, and side dishes with broccoli,cauliflower, cabbage,kale, bok choy, and brussels sprouts. They’re filled with antioxidants like vitamin C and plant compounds called carotenoids,which are particularly powerful brain protectors. Antioxidants prevent damage from free radicals, which are waste products your body makes when cells use fuel to create energy. Your brain is especially vulnerable to damage from free radicals because it uses a lot of fuel (it’s only about 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy).Since your mind makes a lot of these toxic by-products, ample antioxidants help to disarm and defuse them. While all antioxidants (from a variety of plants) are good for your brain,these cruciferous veggies are especially effective. A Harvard Medical School study of more than 13,000 women found that those who ate the most lowered their brain age by 1 to 2 years. Eat it: Daily, as part of a well-rounded mix of other colorful veggies. Avocado,Oils, Nuts, and Seeds They all contain another important antioxidant: vitamin E. n one study, researchers found that people who consumed moderate amounts vitamin E-from food, not supplements-lowered their risk of AD by 67%. Eat it: Frequently; shoot for 15 mg of E a day, the equivalent of 2 ounces of almonds. Chocolate Sweeten your brain-boosting diet with the dark kind (at least 70% cocoa); it contains flavonoids, another class of antioxidants that some research links to brain health. Other flavonoid-rich foods include apples,red and purple grapes, red wine, onions, tea, and beer. Eat it: Frequently, as part of a healthy total calorie intake. Up to half an ounce daily has also been shown to lower blood pressure. Berries Research indicates these antioxidant powerhouses may protect your brain, although the mechanism isn’t fully understood. Some scientists think they help to build healthy connections between brain cells. Eat them: Daily, added to yogurt,oatmeal,or cereal for breakfast or an afternoon snack. Whole grains Fiber-rich oatmeal,oat bran,brown rice, and so on help stabilize blood glucose (sugar) levels, compared with refined carbs like white bread and sugary foods. Your body digests these simple […]

Activities To Change Your Brain

By | December 14, 2015 | 0 Comments

By Rick T. on 05/12/2013 in Brain Fitness Neurogenesis is the process by which the brain generates new neurons and new connections It happens that as we get old, the neurogenesis process in our brains decreases. This affects our life by making us more difficult to learn new things (and by hence, change our opinions or views of the world). The reason why neurogenesis decreases with age has two sides: first, neurogenesis decreases due to several physiological issues (motivated by genes) with age. Second, not making use of the neurogenesis (by learning or doing new things) atrophies neurogenesis. You can do little to avoid the first reason: you should have a healthy life. Doing sports and eating properly can minimise the effect of genes in neurogenesis. However, the effect on that is very small. You can however, work on the atrophy of neurogenesis and have a high impact on it by performing new things. This could be as simple as going to work along a different path, or having a different drink at the bar, or changing your weekend. However, you can do the best impact in your neurogenesis by learning new things. If you don’t know what to learn, below, you will find a list of challenging tasks that you can learn and maintain your neurogenesis alive. Look through the list, and choose something that suits you. And when you have mastered it, come back here and pick another thing. Learning new things, from now on, should be a constant in your life! Learn New Languages Learn to play an instrument Learn an artistic skill Learn about computers Learn a new sport Study a different career Learn a dancing style Learn social skills Learn to play a new table game Prepare for a mental competition In addition to the list above, you must realize that learning Insanity Mind will increase your neurogenesis. There are two reasons: one, it will teach you new things and challenge in all the main skills of the brain (memory techniques, mental calculus, speed reading…). Second, once you master the Insanity Mind method you will have a very powerful box of mental tools ready to be used to learn other things (like the ones in the list above). The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs and to determine whether making a lifestyle change or decision based on this information is appropriate for you.

Physical Exercise and Brain Health

By | November 12, 2015 | 0 Comments

Physical Exercise and Brain Health By: Dr. Pascale Michelon What is the connection between physical and mental exercises? Do they have addictive effects on brain health? Are they redundant? Let’s start by reviewing what we know about the effects of physical exercise on the brain. The effect of physical exercise on cognitive performance Early studies compared groups of people who exercised to groups of people who did not exercise much. Results showed that people who exercised usually had better performance in a range of cognitive tasks compared to non-exercisers. Laurin and colleagues (2001) even suggested that moderate and high levels of physical activity were associated with lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The problem with these studies is that the exercisers and the non-exercisers may differ on other factors than just exercise. The advantage that exerciser show may not come from exercising but from other factors such as more resources, better brain health to start with, better diet, etc. The solution to this problem is to randomly assigned people to either an aerobic training group or a control group. If the exerciser group and the non-exerciser group are very similar to start with and if the exerciser group shows less decline or better performance over time than the non­-exerciser group, then one can conclude that physical exercise is beneficial for brain health. In 2003, Colcombe and Kramer, analyzed the results of 18 scientific studies published between 2000 and 2001 that were conducted in the way described above. The results of this meta-analysis clearly showed that fitness training increases cognitive perfor­mance in healthy adults between the ages of 55 and 80. Another meta-analysis published in 2004 by Heyn and colleagues shows similar beneficial effects of fitness training on people over 65 years old who had cognitive impairment or dementia. What is the effect of fitness training on the brain itself? Research with animals has shown that in mice, increased aerobic fitness (running) can increase the number of new cells formed in the hippocampus (the hippocampus is crucial for learning and memory). Increased exercise also has a beneficial effect on mice’s vascular system. Only one study has used brain imaging to look at the effect of fitness on the human brain. In 2006, Colcombe and colleagues randomly assigned 59 older adults to either a cardiovascular exercise group, or a nonaerobic exercise control group (stretching and toning exercise). Participants exercised 3h per week for 6 months. Colcombe et al. scanned the participants’ brains before and after the training period. After 6 months, the brain volume of the aerobic exercising group increased in several areas compared to the other group. Volume increase occurred principally in frontal and temporal areas of the brain involved in executive control and memory processes. The authors do not know what underlying cellular changes […]

Socialization of Seniors Impact Quality of Life and Health

By | October 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

A vast body of evidence demonstrates the physical benefits of a healthy social life. Conversely, loneliness and social isolation have been clearly linked to poor health outcomes. Numerous studies have shown that socially isolated seniors even have a shorter life expectancy. “A Review of Social Isolation” by Nicholas R. Nicholson published in The Journal of Primary Prevention, is a definitive scholarly article on social isolation and a comprehensive “study of studies.” Its introduction observes bluntly that “social isolation has been demonstrated to lead to numerous detrimental health effects in older adults, including increased risk for all-cause mortality, dementia, increase risk for re-hospitalization, and an increased number of falls.” Social isolation among seniors is alarmingly common, and will continue to increase in prevalence as the older population grows. “A Review of Social Isolation” notes that the prevalence of social isolation among community dwelling older adults (seniors who live at home rather than senior communities) may be as high as 43%. With the sheer number of older persons projected to increase exponentially in the near future, social isolation will likely impact the health, well-being and quality of life of numerous older person now and in the foreseeable future. Considering the demonstrated risks and the increasing prevalence of this issue, it’s certainly worth addressing how we can promote social integration at the larger social level, among our older loved ones, and even ourselves – for it has been shown that family caregivers are themselves at a high risk of social isolation Here are some ways to promote social health and connectedness: 1. Make Transportation Available Lack of adequate transportation is a primary cause of a social isolation. Because many seniors do not drive, this is a big issue for them, so anything that helps seniors get around and make independent choices about travel promotes their social health. On the level of society, creating a solid public transportation infrastructure and providing special transportation options to seniors and disabled people will help promote their social integration. For example, our blog recently reported that giving free buses to seniors promotes their health. On the level of our family, offering rides to older loved ones and helping them to learn to use public transportation will help them maintain social connections and a healthy sense of independence. 2. Promote Sense of Purpose Seniors with a sense of purpose or hobbies that really interest them are less likely to succumb to the negative effects of social isolation. Besides providing a sense of purpose,many hobbies and interests are inherently social in nature. Anything that involves a group, for example, playing bridge, could be said to be socially healthy. If a senior is bereft of ideas for what to do, there are always planned events at the local senior center. Volunteering is also great way of maintaining and expressing […]