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Improved cognitive function

Improved cognitive function

MNT asked Dr. Frailty in functioj people. Subgroup Protein-rich foods Improved cognitive function found patients with AD, but not MCI, significantly responded to cathodal tDCS Chu et al. Study Online.

Improved cognitive function -

Researchers were also able to artificially increase the levels of irisin in the blood which activated genes involved in learning and memory.

A study of children in Finland investigated the link between cardiovascular fitness, motor skills, and academic test scores. The researchers found that first-graders with poor motor skills also had poorer reading and arithmetic test scores.

Across the board, children with better performance in fitness and motor skills had higher cognitive function and scored better on reading and arithmetic tests. A study , "The Impact of Sustained Engagement on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: The Synapse Project," found that learning new and demanding skills while maintaining an engaged social network is key to staying sharp as we age.

The findings reveal that less-demanding activities, such as listening to classical music or simply completing word puzzles, probably don't provide noticeable benefits to an aging mind and brain.

Older adults have long been encouraged to stay active and to flex their memory and learning like any muscle that you have to "use or lose. When you are inside your comfort zone you may be outside of the enhancement zone.

Another study, from , found that a training program designed to boost cognition in older adults also increased their openness to new experiences, demonstrating for the first time that a non-drug intervention in older adults can change a personality trait once thought to be fixed throughout a person's lifespan.

A study from Michigan State found that childhood participation in arts and crafts leads to innovation , patents, and increases the odds of starting a business as an adult. The researchers found that people who own businesses or patents received up to eight times more exposure to the arts as children than the general public.

And that was something we were surprised to discover. Last year, neuroscientists discovered multiple ways that musical training improves the function and connectivity of different brain regions and improves cognitive function.

Practicing a musical instrument increases brain volume and strengthens communication between brain areas. Playing an instrument changes how the brain interprets and integrates a wide range of sensory information, especially for those who start before age seven.

The findings were presented at the Neuroscience conference in San Diego. In a press briefing, Gottfried Schlaug of Harvard Medical School summarized the new research from three different presentations at the conference.

He said, "These insights suggest potential new roles for musical training including fostering plasticity in the brain; have strong implications for using musical training as a tool in education ; and for treating a range of learning disabilities.

Another study found that reading books, writing, and participating in brain-stimulating activities at any age may preserve memory. Neuroscientists discovered that reading a novel can improve brain function on a variety of levels. This study of the brain benefits of reading fiction was conducted at Emory University and published in the journal Brain Connectivity.

The researchers found that becoming engrossed in a novel enhances connectivity in the brain and improves brain function. In , John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago presented findings that identified that the health consequences of feeling lonely can trigger psychological and cognitive decline.

Cacioppo's research found that feeling isolated from others can disrupt sleep, elevate blood pressure, increase morning rises in the stress hormone cortisol, alter gene expression in immune cells, increase depression , and lower overall subjective well-being.

All of these factors conspire to disrupt optimal brain function and connectivity, and reduce cognitive function.

A pilot study by researchers at Harvard's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center identifed that the brain changes associated with meditation and subsequent stress reduction may play an important role in slowing the progression of age-related cognitive disorders like Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

First author Rebecca Erwin Wells explained, "We were particularly interested in looking at the default mode network DMN —the brain system that is engaged when people remember past events or envision the future, for example—and the hippocampus—the part of the brain responsible for emotions, learning and memory—because the hippocampus is known to atrophy as people progress toward mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.

We also know that as people age, there's a high correlation between perceived stress and Alzheimer's disease, so we wanted to know if stress reduction through meditation might improve cognitive reserve.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco UCSF have created a specialized video game that may help older people boost mental skills like handling multiple tasks at once.

Adam Gazzaley of UCSF and colleagues published their findings in Nature in If someone received additional "booster" sessions over the next three years, the improvements were even more dramatic. Scientists have known for decades that the brain requires sleep to consolidate learning and memory.

At the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego in , sleep researchers from Brown University presented groundbreaking new research that helps explain the specifics of how the sleeping brain masters a new task.

Bickart, K. Amygdala volume and social network size in humans. Nature Neuroscience , 14 2 , — Brilliant T, D. Does video gaming have impacts on the brain: Evidence from a systematic review.

Brain Sciences , 9 10 , Desai, A. Recognition and management of behavioral disturbances in dementia. Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry , 3 3 , 93— Diener, E.

Positive psychology: Past, present, and future. Snyder Eds. Oxford University Press. DeKosky, S. Ginkgo biloba for prevention of dementia: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association , 19 , — Devore, E. Dietary antioxidants and long-term risk of dementia.

Archives of Neurology , 67 7 , — Eichenbaum, H. The hippocampus, memory, and place cells: Is it spatial memory or a memory space? Neuron, 23 2 , — Fissler, P. Jigsaw puzzling taps multiple cognitive abilities and is a potential protective factor for cognitive aging. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience , 10 , Gestuvo, M.

Common dietary supplements for cognitive health. Aging Health , 8 1 , 89— Godman, H. Simple, low-cost, low-tech brain training. Harvard Health Blog. Six steps to cognitive health.

Bilingualism, mind, and brain. Annual Review of Linguistics , 1 , — McMahon, J. A controlled trial of homocysteine lowering and cognitive performance.

New England Journal of Medicine , 26 , — Park, D. Culture wires the brain: A cognitive neuroscience perspective. Perspectives on Psychological Science , 5 4 , — Pike, N.

Validity of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Screener in adolescents and young adults with and without congenital heart disease. Nursing Research , 66 3 , — Proffitt, R. Novák, B. Brendryen Eds. IGI Global. Qato, D. Use of prescription and over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements among older adults in the United States.

Journal of the American Medical Association , 24 , — Rasquin, S. Development and validity of the Brain Injury Alert BI Alert screening tool for cognitive, emotional and social problems after pediatric acquired brain injury.

Brain Injury , 25 7—8 , — Wan, C. Music making as a tool for promoting brain plasticity across the life span. The Neuroscientist , 16 5 , — Warthon-Medina, M.

The researchers propose that this may lead to improvements in cognitive function and overall well-being. According to a study , playing an instrument may benefit cognitive development in a young brain and help protect against cognitive impairment in an aging brain.

Such hobbies may include:. Regular physical exercise is beneficial for both the brain and the body. Authors of a review note that exercise improves the following aspects of brain health:.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC , exercise has beneficial effects on the following aspects of cognitive health:. Dance is a form of exercise that may also engage areas of the brain involved in rhythm and balance.

Certain sports are both physically and mentally demanding. Some require a range of cognitive skills, such as:. A review notes that elite athletes who participate in high demand sports tend to have improved attention and faster information processing speeds.

Tai chi is a form of physical exercise that involves gentle body movements, rhythmic breathing, and meditation. A study compared brain function and connectivity among tai chi practitioners and those who did not practice it. The researchers found that the tai chi practitioners had enhanced connectivity between different regions of their brain.

They proposed that this may improve cognition and decrease the rate of memory loss. While not necessarily an active exercise, sleep is crucial for both the brain and the body. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke , most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night, although many people get less sleep than they need.

A review notes that sleep has been proven to:. As such, making sure to get enough sleep each night is an important step toward maintaining a healthy brain. Brain exercises can be as simple as actively engaging the brain in everyday tasks. Others are targeted workouts for the brain, specifically designed to enhance memory, cognition, or creativity.

Exercising the brain may help improve brain function and boost connectivity between the different areas. This may help protect the brain from age-related degeneration.

People are likely to differ in terms of the brain exercises they find most enjoyable. It may be a good idea to try a range of brain-training activities at first and to stick with those that provide the most enjoyment or reward. The diet can have a significant impact on the brain's function.

A brain-healthy diet, rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, can boost memory…. Are you looking for ways to improve your mind and boost brain power in ? Look no further; we have compiled the best brain enhancing methods to try.

Brain atrophy can refer to a loss of brain cells or a loss in the number of connections between these cells. In this article, learn about the symptoms…. Researchers found that applying controlled electric shocks to some areas of the brain may improve long-term and working memory in older adults.

Learn about the symptoms and causes of Becker muscular dystrophy. This article also looks at treatment options, how doctors diagnose the condition….

My podcast changed me Can 'biological race' explain disparities in health? Why Parkinson's research is zooming in on the gut Tools General Health Drugs A-Z Health Hubs Health Tools Find a Doctor BMI Calculators and Charts Blood Pressure Chart: Ranges and Guide Breast Cancer: Self-Examination Guide Sleep Calculator Quizzes RA Myths vs Facts Type 2 Diabetes: Managing Blood Sugar Ankylosing Spondylitis Pain: Fact or Fiction Connect About Medical News Today Who We Are Our Editorial Process Content Integrity Conscious Language Newsletters Sign Up Follow Us.

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A simple way to increase vocabulary is to read a book or watch a TV program and note down any words that are unfamiliar. A person can then use a dictionary to look up the meaning of the word and think up ways to use the word in a sentence. A review notes that bilingualism increases and strengthens connectivity between different areas of the brain.

A study published in Brain Sciences found that listening to music a person enjoys engages and connects different parts of the brain. The researchers propose that this may lead to improvements in cognitive function and overall well-being.

According to a studyplaying an instrument may benefit cognitive development in a young brain and help protect against cognitive impairment in an aging brain.

Such hobbies may include:. Regular physical exercise is beneficial for both the brain and the body. Authors of a review note that exercise improves the following aspects of brain health:. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDCexercise has beneficial effects on the following aspects of cognitive health:.

Dance is a form of exercise that may also engage areas of the brain involved in rhythm and balance. Certain sports are both physically and mentally demanding. Some require a range of cognitive skills, such as:.

A review notes that elite athletes who participate in high demand sports tend to have improved attention and faster information processing speeds. Tai chi is a form of physical exercise that involves gentle body movements, rhythmic breathing, and meditation. A study compared brain function and connectivity among tai chi practitioners and those who did not practice it.

The researchers found that the tai chi practitioners had enhanced connectivity between different regions of their brain. They proposed that this may improve cognition and decrease the rate of memory loss.

While not necessarily an active exercise, sleep is crucial for both the brain and the body. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokemost adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night, although many people get less sleep than they need. A review notes that sleep has been proven to:.

As such, making sure to get enough sleep each night is an important step toward maintaining a healthy brain. Brain exercises can be as simple as actively engaging the brain in everyday tasks.

Others are targeted workouts for the brain, specifically designed to enhance memory, cognition, or creativity. Exercising the brain may help improve brain function and boost connectivity between the different areas. This may help protect the brain from age-related degeneration.

People are likely to differ in terms of the brain exercises they find most enjoyable. It may be a good idea to try a range of brain-training activities at first and to stick with those that provide the most enjoyment or reward. The diet can have a significant impact on the brain's function.

A brain-healthy diet, rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, can boost memory…. Are you looking for ways to improve your mind and boost brain power in ? Look no further; we have compiled the best brain enhancing methods to try.

Brain atrophy can refer to a loss of brain cells or a loss in the number of connections between these cells. In this article, learn about the symptoms….

Researchers found that applying controlled electric shocks to some areas of the brain may improve long-term and working memory in older adults. Learn about the symptoms and causes of Becker muscular dystrophy. This article also looks at treatment options, how doctors diagnose the condition….

My podcast changed me Can 'biological race' explain disparities in health? Why Parkinson's research is zooming in on the gut Tools General Health Drugs A-Z Health Hubs Health Tools Find a Doctor BMI Calculators and Charts Blood Pressure Chart: Ranges and Guide Breast Cancer: Self-Examination Guide Sleep Calculator Quizzes RA Myths vs Facts Type 2 Diabetes: Managing Blood Sugar Ankylosing Spondylitis Pain: Fact or Fiction Connect About Medical News Today Who We Are Our Editorial Process Content Integrity Conscious Language Newsletters Sign Up Follow Us.

Medical News Today. Health Conditions Health Products Discover Tools Connect. Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, PsyD — By Jon Johnson — Updated on April 4, Meditation Visualizing more Playing games Card games Crosswords Puzzles Sudoku Chess Checkers Video games Socializing Learning new skills Increasing vocabulary Learning a language Listening to music Musical instruments Engaging hobbies Regular exercise Dancing Sports Tai chi Sleeping Summary Brain exercises may help boost and maintain brain function.

Visualizing more. Playing games. Playing memory card games. Practicing crossword puzzles. Completing jigsaw puzzles. Playing sudoku. Playing chess. Playing checkers. Playing video games. Learning new skills.

Increasing personal vocabulary. Learning a new language. Listening to music. Learning a musical instrument. Taking up engaging hobbies.

Exercising regularly. Engaging in sports. Practicing tai chi. How we reviewed this article: Sources. Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We avoid using tertiary references.

We link primary sources — including studies, scientific references, and statistics — within each article and also list them in the resources section at the bottom of our articles.

You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy. Share this article.

: Improved cognitive function

The role of cognitive thinking

The addition of muscle cell cultures also accelerated the creation of mature hippocampal neuronal networks — cells that fire synchronously. The researchers next sought to explore how astrocytes affect the mixture.

To do so, they observed the effects of removing astrocytes from cell cultures containing hippocampal cells and mature muscle cells. In doing so, they noted that the neurons fired even more electrical signals, suggesting that astrocytes may help moderate and coordinate activation patterns between neurons.

From further tests, the researchers found that muscle contractions were necessary for the observed changes in hippocampal cultures. When muscle cells were prevented from contracting, hippocampal cells no longer exhibited the same levels of neuronal firing, although synchronous firing was unaffected.

The researchers noted that this means muscle contractions- or exercise- release factors that stationary cells do not. They concluded that their findings provide new insights into how exercise may support hippocampal function.

MNT asked Dr. He noted that whether this is the case still needs to be tested in large clinical trials and that further research should investigate underlying molecular mechanisms as well.

MNT also spoke with Dr. Romnesh de Souza , a consultant neurologist and interventional neurologist at Health City Cayman Islands, not involved in the study. To estimate your maximum age-related heart rate, subtract your age from Zhang, commenting on the study.

Dr de Souza added that the findings may also aid the development of new treatments for cognitive impairment. Some activities may boost brain function and connectivity, which may help protect the brain from age-related degeneration.

Here are 22 brain exercises…. In this Special Feature, two top experts comment on the link between dementia risk and diet and offer an overview of the most recent research on this…. Even a small amount of exercise can have both curative and preventive health benefits.

This article looks at the benefits of exercise for both the…. Participating in activities can improve the quality of life for a person with dementia. Gain inspiration for the best activities for someone with….

My podcast changed me Can 'biological race' explain disparities in health? Why Parkinson's research is zooming in on the gut Tools General Health Drugs A-Z Health Hubs Health Tools Find a Doctor BMI Calculators and Charts Blood Pressure Chart: Ranges and Guide Breast Cancer: Self-Examination Guide Sleep Calculator Quizzes RA Myths vs Facts Type 2 Diabetes: Managing Blood Sugar Ankylosing Spondylitis Pain: Fact or Fiction Connect About Medical News Today Who We Are Our Editorial Process Content Integrity Conscious Language Newsletters Sign Up Follow Us.

Medical News Today. Health Conditions Health Products Discover Tools Connect. Human Biology. Nervous system Cardiovascular system Respiratory system Digestive system Immune system. How and why does exercise improve cognitive function?

By Annie Lennon on April 25, — Fact checked by Hannah Flynn. Exercise and dementia risk. Findings yet to be confirmed in people. Classes are a good way to learn the basics of any new activity, especially one that requires specific skills, like painting or music.

Schedule practice time. Don't focus on the amount of time you practice at first, but rather aim for consistency. Devote what time you can, but be firm with your commitment. Schedule it and do it. No matter which new activity you choose, make sure it follows three guidelines in order to maximize brain training, according to Dr.

You have to always challenge your brain in order for it to grow. This is why choosing a new activity is so beneficial. It engages your brain to learn something new and offers the chance to improve.

Not up for a new endeavor? Raise the bar for an existing activity. For instance, if you are a casual golfer, commit to increasing your ability and aim to lower your handicap or shoot a specific score.

A complex activity not only strikes a match of excitement, but forces your brain to work on specific thought processes like problem solving and creative thinking. A study in Psychological Science found that older adults ages 60 to 90 who did new and complex activities, such as digital photography or quilting, for an average of 16 hours per week for three months scored better on working and long-term memory tests than those who did more familiar activities like reading and doing crossword puzzles.

Practice makes permanent, and that goes for brain function, too. Your activity should require some level of constant practice, but the goal is not to strive for vast improvements.

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift. The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness , is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School.

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What is a tongue-tie? What parents need to know. Which migraine medications are most helpful? How well do you score on brain health? Shining light on night blindness.

What You Can Do Gates, N. The PDE4 inhibitor HT improves hippocampus-dependent memory in aged mice. Thought As one of the foundational cognitive processes, thought is essential in helping individuals make decisions, solve problems and access higher-order reasoning skills that help them assess the merits of the options available to them. Learning new skills. Vinpocetine for cognitive impairment and dementia. Gavelin, H.
Frontiers | Therapeutic approaches for improving cognitive function in the aging brain

They also found that support cells known as astrocytes regulate neuronal growth and activity for optimum brain function.

The study was published in Neuroscience. For the study, the researchers isolated small muscle precursor-cell samples from mice and grew them in Petri dishes. Once they matured, they began to contract and release chemical signals into the cell culture.

The team then added the chemicals that had contained the mature muscle cell culture to another dish containing hippocampal neurons and astrocytes. They used immunofluorescence and calcium imaging to track cell growth, as well as multi-electrode arrays to record neuronal activity.

In the end, they found that exposure to chemical signals from the muscle cells increased quantities of hippocampal neurons and astrocytes by 1. The addition of muscle cell cultures also accelerated the creation of mature hippocampal neuronal networks — cells that fire synchronously.

The researchers next sought to explore how astrocytes affect the mixture. To do so, they observed the effects of removing astrocytes from cell cultures containing hippocampal cells and mature muscle cells.

In doing so, they noted that the neurons fired even more electrical signals, suggesting that astrocytes may help moderate and coordinate activation patterns between neurons. From further tests, the researchers found that muscle contractions were necessary for the observed changes in hippocampal cultures.

When muscle cells were prevented from contracting, hippocampal cells no longer exhibited the same levels of neuronal firing, although synchronous firing was unaffected. The researchers noted that this means muscle contractions- or exercise- release factors that stationary cells do not.

They concluded that their findings provide new insights into how exercise may support hippocampal function. MNT asked Dr. He noted that whether this is the case still needs to be tested in large clinical trials and that further research should investigate underlying molecular mechanisms as well.

MNT also spoke with Dr. Romnesh de Souza , a consultant neurologist and interventional neurologist at Health City Cayman Islands, not involved in the study.

To estimate your maximum age-related heart rate, subtract your age from Zhang, commenting on the study. These epigenetic changes can last a lifetime if exercise is and ongoing part of your life and lead to a healthier brain into older age.

Physical exercise also stimulates the release of neurotransmitters that are involved in regulating mood and attention. Increased levels of norepinephrine and dopamine may be responsible for enhanced concentration and learning observed in the hours immediately after exercise.

Increased levels of serotonin, endorphins and anandamide may be responsible for enhanced mood and reduce anxiety observed after exercise. Many students and professionals have learned to position exercise before periods of cognitive demand to optimize their performance and may sprinkle additional brief walks or calisthenics throughout their day to maintain performance.

Many studies have documented the impact of aerobic exercise on brain health and performance. A growing line of evidence suggests that strength training has benefits for mental health and cognitive function as well that may be somewhat unique, and perhaps complimentary, to the effects of aerobic exercise.

There may be additional social and cognitive benefits from team sports and group activities or participating in an event such as a race. Implementing lifestyle changes can help to develop many aspects of our cognition.

Engaging in consistent and diverse stimulation is a powerful tool in developing our brain function. As our brains continue to mature during our lifetime, these techniques may help to positively enhance our performance:.

Cognitively stimulating leisure activities, such as word games, puzzles, gardening or writing calligraphy, can produce similar results to cognitive training programs and have a significant effect on the delay and reduction of cognitive decline.

If we keep our furry friends engaged, and introduce new stimuli continuously, their knowledge can flourish. Moderate to severe head injuries, even without diagnosed concussions, increase the risk of cognitive impairment.

Strong social ties have been associated with a lower risk of dementia, as well as lower blood pressure and longer life expectancy. As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content.

Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. Thanks for visiting.

Don't miss your FREE gift. The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness , is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School.

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health , plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise , pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more. Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts.

PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts. Sign up now and get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness. Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School. Recent Blog Articles. Flowers, chocolates, organ donation — are you in?

What is a tongue-tie? What parents need to know. Which migraine medications are most helpful? How well do you score on brain health? Shining light on night blindness. Can watching sports be bad for your health?

Beyond the usual suspects for healthy resolutions. May 13, Every brain changes with age, and mental function changes along with it. Get mental stimulation Through research with mice and humans, scientists have found that brainy activities stimulate new connections between nerve cells and may even help the brain generate new cells, developing neurological "plasticity" and building up a functional reserve that provides a hedge against future cell loss.

Get physical exercise Research shows that using your muscles also helps your mind.

Improved cognitive function -

A complex activity not only strikes a match of excitement, but forces your brain to work on specific thought processes like problem solving and creative thinking. A study in Psychological Science found that older adults ages 60 to 90 who did new and complex activities, such as digital photography or quilting, for an average of 16 hours per week for three months scored better on working and long-term memory tests than those who did more familiar activities like reading and doing crossword puzzles.

Practice makes permanent, and that goes for brain function, too. Your activity should require some level of constant practice, but the goal is not to strive for vast improvements.

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift. The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness , is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School. Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health , plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise , pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

Sign up now and get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness. Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School. Recent Blog Articles. Flowers, chocolates, organ donation — are you in?

What is a tongue-tie? What parents need to know. Which migraine medications are most helpful? How well do you score on brain health?

Shining light on night blindness. Shining light on night blindness. Can watching sports be bad for your health? Beyond the usual suspects for healthy resolutions. May 13, Every brain changes with age, and mental function changes along with it.

Get mental stimulation Through research with mice and humans, scientists have found that brainy activities stimulate new connections between nerve cells and may even help the brain generate new cells, developing neurological "plasticity" and building up a functional reserve that provides a hedge against future cell loss.

Get physical exercise Research shows that using your muscles also helps your mind. Improve your diet Good nutrition can help your mind as well as your body.

Improve your blood pressure High blood pressure in midlife increases the risk of cognitive decline in old age. Improve your blood sugar Diabetes is an important risk factor for dementia. Improve your cholesterol High levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol are associated with an increased the risk of dementia.

Consider low-dose aspirin Some observational studies suggest that low-dose aspirin may reduce the risk of dementia, especially vascular dementia. Avoid tobacco Avoid tobacco in all its forms. Don't abuse alcohol Excessive drinking is a major risk factor for dementia.

Care for your emotions People who are anxious, depressed, sleep-deprived, or exhausted tend to score poorly on cognitive function tests. Protect your head Moderate to severe head injuries, even without diagnosed concussions, increase the risk of cognitive impairment.

Build social networks Strong social ties have been associated with a lower risk of dementia, as well as lower blood pressure and longer life expectancy. Share This Page Share this page to Facebook Share this page to Twitter Share this page via Email.

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Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness. The good news? And now, there's no need to wonder any longer if those Sunday Paper brain games like Sudoku are imparting real cognitive benefits. As the "pilot" of the body, your brain rightfully requires quite a bit of energy.

So, proper blood glucose levels are essential for optimal cognitive performance and function. B-vitamins B12 and B9 more commonly known as folate are also incredibly important. They're key factors in the production of DNA, RNA, and red blood cells — all of which play a critical role in proper brain development and function.

These vitamins also impact the myelination of your nervous system, which protects your brain cells and nerves from deteriorating over time. Elevated levels of cortisol aka the stress hormone take proportionately high tolls on your body and brain.

High cortisol levels are associated with feelings of anxiety and depression, which can lead to cognitive decline over time.

Well, it's high in green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, legumes, whole grains, fish, poultry, and olive oil, and low in red or processed meat, and other sources of unhealthy fats. The MIND diet emphasizes the consumption of fish because of its high concentration of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Omega-3s protect your brain cells, and multiple studies have found that eating one or more servings of fish per week is associated with better age-related cognition.

Not a big fan of fish? You can get similar benefits from supplements. A 4g fish oil or omega-3 supplement is a good starting point. As always, consult with your doctor before you begin any new supplement routines.

Try adding blueberries to your breakfast, having a piece of dark chocolate for a mid-afternoon snack, or sipping on red wine at dinner. Wine and chocolate in the name of health? Yes, you read that right.

Tai Chi, a mind-body exercise, is especially beneficial because it integrates physical, cognitive, social, and meditative components.

New research shows little risk Improved cognitive function infection from prostate biopsies. Cohnitive at work is linked to high blood pressure. Icy fingers and Improver Poor functjon or Fuction phenomenon? Your brain has the ability to learn and grow as you age — a process called brain plasticity — but for it to do so, you have to train it on a regular basis. John N. Morris, director of social and health policy research at the Harvard-affiliated Institute for Aging Research.

Author: Tekasa

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