Only in the last decade have scientists reported that we can generate new brain cells and the connections between them.
Here's what researchers are saying about improving memory to avoid any cognitive decline of aging, Alzheimers Disease symptoms or vascular dementia:
Exercise and fitness applies to our heart AND to our head -- the more you challenge them the more new nerve pathways you form in your grey matter.
The Mediterranean diet is not only being recommended for the heart but for your head's best health -- against vascular dementia AND Alzheimers Disease.
"CELL TOWERS" that Send Messages?
Scientists from Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina are talking about building and preserving “cell towers” in our grey matter that can send messages:
“the more cell towers you have, the fewer missed calls” according to Dr. Murali Draiswamy, who is the head of neurological psychiatry there, and has written the book "The Alzheimers Action Plan."
Researchers say that you can give your grey matter a good workout with just a few modifications to your daily life:
For instance, you can brush your teeth, key in your phone or do text messages with the “other” hand.
For instance, by eating without talking or simply with your eyes closed, you change your sensory input.
Unfortunately, eating too much junk food such as cookies and baked goods, and fast foods such as fries, that have trans fats, turns out to be one of the causes of dementia.
How can that happen?
People who ate better food and got better nutrition, on the other hand, had less or no shrinkage of their grey matter.
Dr. Gene Bowman, of the Oregon Brain Study, said the purpose of the study of 104 people over the age of 65, was to find out the effects of age on the risk for dementia in healthy people, or those without known risk factors such as smoking and diabetes.
Can eating fast foods cause damage and be one of the causes of dementia?
Yes, says Dr. Gene Bowman, who conducted the "Brain Aging" study.
Not only were their diets higher in vitamins, such as vitamin B, C and E and D, they also ate MORE OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS.
HOW ARE OMEGAS PROTECTIVE?
Dr. Bowman explained that THINKING abilities are related to the SMALL BLOOD VESSELS, and Omega 3's seem to benefit the small blood vessels that nourish our grey matter.
Great reason to eat fish, healthy foods and Omega 3 supplements!
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Surprise! Researchers say that memory loss is LESS in people with HIGHER cholesterol levels!
If you are getting to be towards the age of 50, you may want to know if you have high cholesterol – the good HDL kind -- and make sure you keep it high. Why?
And by the age of 60, people with LOW HDL cholesterol had a 53-per cent HIGHER risk of memory loss over those with HIGH HDL levels of cholesterol.
The British study involved about 3,700 men and women of middle age to determine what foreshadows Alzheimers disease and other forms of dementia.
With lower levels of HDL, researchers found declining memory by age 60, and such memory loss often precedes the development of dementia such as Alzheimers in the elderly.
(Dr. Singh-Manoux, of the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research and the University College London.)
Calm Down & Exercise for Head & Heart
Social interaction, meditation, and exercise can help, as can natural stress relief pills that lower cortisol levels.
If you do shift work or are not getting a good night’s sleep, there are excellent natural and nutritional supplements against anxiety and for better sleep.
Keep in mind that some widely used medications may block the action of acetylcholine, a chemical that is crucial to memory circuits.
These “anti-cholinergic” medications include:
• pain killers
• muscle relaxants
• older antidepressants e.g. Elavil
• some antihistamines
• incontinence drugs
Specialists like Dr. Doraiswamy warn that these negative effects on memory can “Cause a constant battle – the urologist puts you on a medication – and the memory doctor takes you off!”
Remember that cholesterol is a naturally occurring fat, and that the brain is made of 60% fat, and needs fats to function.
High cholesterol levels are protective of memory!
1) visual organization, 2) memory, 3) attention, and 4) concentration.
(The research team included Professor Penelope Elias and Merrill Elias, who studied data from the Framingham Heart Study)
You may want to consider natural alternative for lowering your blood pressure and high cholesterol if you are having memory problems.
“Our family has recently witnessed the remarkable improvement in our 88-year-old father when an astute specialist in internal medicine pulled him off three of the medications he'd been prescribed by his family doctor (high blood pressure medication, cholesterol medication, and a prescription nasal spray).
In four days his blood sugar dropped from 25 to 7, his dizziness was gone, he stopped falling down at night, and his appetite was back.
After two weeks, his memory improved and he was back playing bridge again!
I have just read Dr. Dennis McCullough's book, "My Mother, Your Mother: Embracing 'Slow Medicine', the Compassionate Approach to Caring for Your Aging Loved Ones".
Submitted by N. MacMaster
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Strong social ties and contacts appear to protect against memory robbing dementia, according to a Harvard School of Public Health study involving 17,000 people over 6 years.
More important than age, income and health, was having an active social life, including being married.
Memory loss is a strong risk factor for Alzheimers disease and other form of dementia, but researchers are finding that being in the highest level of social integration offset more than half of this age-related decline in memory.
(K. Ertel, American Journal of Public Health)
If you are healthy, it's never too late to start walking for a better memory and to ward off dementia.
We CAN stop memory loss with foods, memory improvement supplements and exercise:
They had MRI scans done before and after, and they found that the walkers INCREASED the volume in the brain (the right and left hippocampus) by 2%, while the stretchers DECREASED volume in the same part of theirs, by 1.4%.
Apparently, 1.4% is considered NORMAL SHRINKAGE!
IMPROVED MEMORY for walkers!
Lead researcher Kirk Erickson of the University of Pittsburgh says that this shows that we can REVERSE shrinkage, and that the walkers in effect had turned back the clock by 2 years.
Experts such as Norman Doidge, author of: "The Brain That Changes Itself" say that EXERCISE is the only activity that has been shown to increase the PRODUCTION and CONDUCTIVITY of NEURONS of brain-tissue.
There is a lot of research on the effect of exercise:
The research shows a protective effect of physical activity on cognitive function -- to improve memory and decrease the incidence of dementia.
Aerobic exercise rather than weight training has the biggest impact on brain-function.
The protective benefits of exercise were seen to last up to several decades!
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You CAN protect your grey matter with nutrition, exercise and brain health supplements.