Tag Archives: improve your brain

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”

Of Mice and Fries

A new study found mice that consumed junk food for nine months demonstrated signs of the abnormal brain tangles typically associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Indeed, a diet rich in fat, sugar, and cholesterol could increase the risk of the most common type of dementia.

The study published by the Karolinska Institute’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center found a chemical change in the brains that were fed the unhealthy diet, not unlike that found in the AD brain.

The researchers suggest a high intake of fat and cholesterol in combination with genetic predisposition can adversely affect several brain substances that may contribute to onset of AD.

The combination of the gene type APOE-4, found in 15 to 20 percent of people and a known risk factor for AD, and the diet rich in fat, sugar and cholesterol led to the abnormal build up of the protein Tau and tangles. Interestingly, the animals also demonstrated reduced levels of another protein called Arc involved in memory storage.

The results offer another hint that AD may be attacked by lifestyle (diet) prior to its onset and progressive damage.

To read the original article, click here

Practical Tips for Improving Language

Language is perhaps the most important cognitive function we possess after memory. An argument can even be made that it is more critical than memory because we need language first to learn or encode any new information. Regardless, there is little doubt that language serves a fundamental neurobiological and psychological need for the human being.

It is common to experience slips in language processing including word finding and name recognition as we enter our forties or fifties. This is normal and probably relates more to stress and being hurried than anything pathologic. Our vocabulary tends to remain fixed which is nice, but we have the ability to grow our library of words at any age. Our verbal fluency or speed of expressing words also slows down with advanced age, but this is not necessarily a problem and may even be of value. Our ability to read and write remains intact, though our ability to comprehend what we read may not be as efficient.

So, what are some practical mental exercises that you can do to boost up your language skills?

1. Reading everyday including the dictionary is one good way to increase your  vocabulary. With an increased vocabulary other parts of language such as word  finding and fluency will improve.

2. Practice reviewing the names of your friends and peers by mentally associating a  name with their face. You can also engage in a fun exercise in which you place  unfamiliar pictures of faces on a table, apply a written name to each and then  repeat each association until you no longer need the written names to recall the  correct name for each face.

3. Take any letter of the alphabet and try and state aloud as many words as you can  that begin with that letter in 60 seconds. With practice you may notice that your  list of  words generated gets longer.

4. Write a short segment on your day’s experience in a journal. This will help your  articulation and emotional skills while practicing the motor skill of writing. Some  research suggests that writing with passion have been known to live a longer  life.

5. Write with a focus on increased ideas per sentence as research suggests this is  good for the brain.

6. Work on your public speaking as this is a wonderful exercise to stimulate the  brain and engage it in a complex, but fun language exercise. Talk about what you  love and your anxiety will be reduced. Most let the anxiety prevent them from  trying!

7. Crossword puzzles are fine as they promote reading and vocabulary. The same is  true for word search games.

8. Name objects that you see on your way to work or the store. Object naming is a  good mental exercise.

9. Work on the art of story telling.

10. FitBrains.com offers some good mental exercises for language. These include

Tips For Improving Memory

Tips for Improving Memory

Our memory helps to shape and define who we are, provide us with comfort, and guide us in our daily lives. While there are many different types of memory we tend to rely primarily on a type of memory that enables us to recall information presented to us either recently or sometime in the distant past.

Memory can be affected by many factors including level of stress, rest, nutrition, medical status, medications, alcohol, exercise, sensory function, hormones, and information processing ability. Common types of memory difficulties include inability to remember names, forgetting directions, forgetting where the car or other object is, and forgetting to complete a task in a specified order.

While it is true that our memory ability tends to decline as we age, a healthy older adult can recall quite well, particularly when given cues and prompts. Memory in late life should not be confused with disease such as Alzheimer’s that can impair memory. Here are some strategies and tips to assist you with your recall on a daily basis regardless of age:

1. Recognize what types of information and situations increase forgetfulness for  you. You may be able to identify particular factors that lead to your memory  problems and a change of these factors might help your recall.

2. Make sure your brain is well rested. You might be surprised to learn that a  fatigued brain will not process as deeply or as efficiently as a well rested brain.

3. Eat brain healthy foods such as fish, fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

4. Information that you need to encode will be recalled better if you repeat the  information to yourself several times.

5. If you have problems remembering names of people you meet continue to use  their names in every sentence when speaking to them. This is a type of normal  repetition that is polite and helpful to your processing.

6. Do not be ashamed to admit to someone that you have forgotten their name and  need to hear it again. Simply tell the person you are bad with names, but you are  trying  and can benefit if they provide his or her name again. At that point, refer  back to point # 5.

7. Lists are fine or small pocket book with cues and prompts can be very useful to  assist your recall.

8. Develop routines and fixed places for placement of items such as car keys. Your  brain will develop a subconscious process to place and retrieve objects with such  routine. This will then free up the conscious part of your brain to learn new

9. Engage in memory exercises such as learning an increasingly larger list of words,  faces on cards, facts such as state capitals, and names of neighborhood family  members.

10. Learn how to relax and remove stress from your life. Memory is directly affected  by chronic stress and you will make mistakes when your brain is stressed.

11. Engage in a regular physical exercise routine as cardiovascular health can  increase learning and memory ability.

FitBrains has several mental exercise games that can assist your memory if you engage in a daily or regular brain fitness routine. Consider the following games by FitBrains for your memory workout:

Good luck and do not forget these memory tips!