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Reported May 7, 2012

Boosting Brain Power! How to Stay Sharp! -- Research Summary

BACKGROUND:  A recent study shows our brain power can start declining by age 45. One doctor tells us, by age 80 a normal person has lost 40-percent of their memory. But, from your hobbies to keeping your heart healthy, there are many ways to boost your brain power!

CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE: According to Daniel Amen, M.D., author of Magnificent Mind at Any Age, switching the hand you brush your teeth with, or even jogging backwards help you deviate from daily patterns. "In so doing, you'll stimulate new parts of your brain, encouraging it to make new connections," Dr. Amen was quoted saying. (Source: www.menshealth.com)

USE IT OR LOSE IT: Playing word games like Sudoku, doing a crossword puzzle, or even playing brain games on your gadgets can help keep your mind sharp. Paul Schulz, MD, Director of the Memory Disorders and Dementia Clinic, and Vice Chair of Neurology UTHealth and the Mischer Neuroscience Institute of Memorial Hermann Hospital says focusing on focusing can improve attention span, which in turn, can help with memory problems.

QUENCH YOUR BRAIN’S THIRST: “Your brain is 80 percent water, and if it's not hydrated, your neurons can't perform properly," Dr. Amen was quoted saying. Drink eight six-ounce glasses of water a day and avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine.
(Source: www.menshealth.com)

STAY HEART HEALTHY: Dr. Paul Schulz says while it’s just been discovered in the last few years, vascular problems that put you at risk of stroke and heart attack can also put you at risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s. He says controlling cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure is very important. Schulz says if they get out of control, “All of those things individually have about a doubling of the risk of getting cognitive impairment later on.” He adds smoking increases your risk of Alzheimer’s by 2 and a half times!

DHA DEBATE: Does the omega-3 fatty acid help boost brain power? The MIDAS Study (Memory Improvement with Docosahexaenoic Acid Study), reported in The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association finds that healthy adults = 55 years of age taking 900 mg algal docosahexaenoic acid/day (DHA) for six months demonstrated enhanced memory and learning skills compared to those taking a placebo. On the other hand, an 18 month double blind study of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease reported in JAMA concludes: “Supplementation with DHA compared with placebo did not slow the rate of cognitive and functional decline in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease.”
(Sources: jama.ama-assn.org and www.brainstrongdha.com) MORE

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