The Best in Brain News: December Digest

Fit Brains Monthly Brain Digest & Brain News

Read about current brain news and leading brain research in our latest monthly brain digest.

More Proof That Brain Training Helps Combat Dementia

Findings from an Australian study indicates that brain training can enhance memory and mood in older adults who suffer from mild cognitive impairment. Discover their findings!

Brain Training Games Help Lower ‘Chemobrain’ Issues

Researchers at the University of Sydney have discovered that brain training games involving focus, memory and visual abilities lower chemotherapy-induced neurological issues (“chemofog” or “chemobrain”) in cancer patients. Read more about their fascinating study.

Is It Better for Your Brain to Give Than Receive?

Does holiday gift shopping stress you out? Take heart, the act of giving is good for your brain and your overall life expectancy! Countless studies indicate that the act of giving is good for your brain, mood, health and overall longevity. Find out why and get into the holiday spirit!

Christmas Spirit & Your Brain!

Are you one of those people who can’t wait to put up Christmas decorations right after Thanksgiving? Or are you a Scrooge? Scientists have discovered that people who like Christmas have different brain activity than those who ‘bah humbug’ during the holidays. Their research is preliminary but they hope there might be a cure for all Scrooges one day. Read this festive brain news and get your holiday cheer on!

Challenge Your Brain! Fit Brains offers fun smart games for your mind.

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THE FIT BRAINS TEAM

“Brain Training Success”

 

National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month – 3 Brain Facts You Should Know

Senior couple sitting on beach
Here’s to a Healthy, Happy Brain!

It’s National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month! We thank the 15 million+ Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in America.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, kills brain cells and interferes with cognitive abilities, emotions, behaviour and physical skills. It’s not a regular part of aging. And it’s a progressively debilitating disease that leads to death.

The Numbers

Did you know 47 million people worldwide and 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s? Every 67 seconds an American develops this disease. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the US. It can’t be cured or slowed unlike the other 9 leading causes of death. And two-thirds of Alzheimer’s patients are women.

But There Is Hope

Even though there isn’t a cure, drugs and certain actions can manage the disease. Also, research shows that lifestyle factors and a positive outlook can help with brain aging. Recent UK study results conducted by the BBC, Alzheimer’s Society and the Medical Research Council indicate that regular brain training can benefit people over the age of 50. Findings from another well known study reveal that adults who learn new skills and do mentally stimulating activities like crosswords usually have lower rates of dementia. The notable Nun study indicates that an optimistic mind provides a natural defence against Alzheimer’s. And, here’s a twist, even though some nuns actually had the disease, they showed no outward symptoms, thanks to keeping their brains active and positive! Brain training can help maintain brain function and help prevent cognitive decline.

Quick Tips to Maintain Brain Function and Prevent Cognitive Decline

  1.     Hit the Gym
  2.     Nosh on a Healthy Diet
  3.     As Pharrel Williams Sings, Be Happy!
  4.     Challenge Your Mind with our fun free games! [hyperlink]

What is your favorite activity to boost your brain?  Tell us in the comments!  And follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips.  

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The Fit Brains Team

“Brain Training Success”

Retirement and Dementia

Dr. Paul Nussbaum, the Chief Scientific Officer at Fit Brains, shares his valuable thoughts on the topics of Retirement and Dementia:

It’s ironic how people work their whole lives toward the goal of retirement but when it does come, many suffer anxiety and depression towards the idea of having nothing to think about or do.

For many years I have spoken and written about my resistance to “retirement” the way the policy and concept is positioned and treated in the United States. It is true that there may have been good intent with the idea of retirement, but my guess is that nobody considered the health implications for the brain. This becomes increasingly important when we know that a passive, isolated, lonely, and segregated brain will atrophy when we stop working.

Retirement certainly does not have to be a time of passivity. Indeed, many people at all ages retire to a different and even busier life than when they were employed. However, a recent study of nearly a half-million people by the French government’s health research agency found that people who delay retirement have less risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.

It is believed work is related to physical activity, socialization, mental stimulation, all things known to be good for the brain and three of the five major pillars of Dr. Nussbaum’s Brain Health Lifestyle ® (see www.paulnussbaum.com)For each additional year of work, the risk of getting dementia is reduced by 3.2% according to the study.

The major finding is supportive of the “use it or lose it” theory and I will simply add to that by saying you should “use it in new and complex ways or lose it.”  The answer is not to delay retirement to have a healthy mind and fulfilling life, it is the importance of keeping your mind and body active even after retirement.  Keep a personally relevant reason for getting up each morning, and feel good about your daily contributions to those around you.

Strive to be relevant, useful, healthy, and active every day in your life.  For the days that aren’t as busy as others, you can still keep your mind active and stimulated with the Fit Brains Trainer app!

Top 10 Brain Foods

You are what you eat” — that’s a saying we always hear!  However, most people think about how food affects the body, but not the brain.  The brain needs proper nutrients just like the rest of your body.  It actually needs more energy to operate properly than other organs!

Here are 10 brain foods you can incorporate into your daily diet to maintain a healthy brain:

 

1. Salmon – Improves brain tissue development, fights cognitive decline.
2. Blueberries – Improve memory, reduce stress, reduce age-related declines in motor function and coordination.
3. Avocados – Increase blood flow and reduce blood pressure to maintain effective mind functioning.
4. Flax Seeds – Build and protect neurons, aid the processing of sensory information.
5. Coffee (in moderation) – Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia…and of course, gives you a brain energy boost!
6. Nuts – Improve memory and mental clarity, fight insomnia.
7. Whole Grains – Promote cardiovascular health, which improves circulation flow to the brain.
8. Tomatoes – Eliminate free radicals in your body, prevent age-related cognitive diseases.
9. Eggs – Provides energy for your brain, improves memory.
10. Dark Chocolate (in moderation) – Increases focus and concentration, improves your mood!

 

What foods do you eat to keep your mind active & healthy?  Leave a comment and let us know!

PTSD Increases Risk of Dementia in Veterans

According to a new study veterans diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have a significantly higher risk of developing dementia compared to those veterans without PTSD.

Scientists from the University of California-San Francisco reported the findings at the recent meeting of the International Conference on Alzheimer’s disease in Vienna. Their findings indicated veterans with a diagnosis of PTSD had a 10.6% rate of developing dementia over a seven year follow-up while those veterans without PTSD had a 6.6% rate.

The findings indicate that disorders such as PTSD, depression, and chronic anxiety may predispose the brain to vulnerability for dementia. Interestingly, PTSD has been related to dysfunction in the hippocampus, the critical region of disease for Alzheimer’s.