Archive for November, 2009

Gobble Up That Cranberry Sauce! (It’s GREAT for the Brain)

Cranberries: Good For The Brain!  Image by Keira on Stock.XchngCranberries: a staple of American holiday meals, they find their way onto the table  as gelled sauces & relishes, in muffins, stuffing, juices, fruit salads and pretty much anything else we can throw them into to add bit of tart , festive redness.

And as it turns out, we probably *should* be throwing them into as many dishes as possible;  cranberries are ridiculously healthy for us, and especially, excitingly, enticingly good for the brain.

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November 26, 2009 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Make Thanksgiving Brain-Healthy!

A Brain Healthy Thanksgiving: Turkey by David Lat on Stock.Xchng Far from the Norman Rockwell ideal, many of my Thanksgiving memories are of days that alternated between stress and mind-numbing boredom.  High expectations, exposure to family that didn’t get along, and  Great Aunt Gertrude’s stories of when you were a baby are enough to make just about anyone brain-dead.  And as I’ve gotten older, it’s only gotten worse; now it’s MY stories of “when you were a baby” that threaten to put me to sleep!

So I’ve decided to take the bull by the horns (or the turkey by the breasts bone) and put together a few tips to take Thanksgiving from brain-dead to brain-fit!  No, paying attention to brain fitness on this one day won’t change your life, but it might help you to be a little sharper – and if you turn it into part of the ritual, it can introduce others (Like Great Aunt Gertrude) to the benefits of brain fitness.

Sound interesting? Read on!

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November 24, 2009 at 2:11 pm Leave a comment

Moderate Drinking: Maybe Not So Good For Your Brain, After All

Social Drinking & Your Brain: Not Such A Good Idea After All  (image by mzacha on Stock.Xchng) File this one under the category of “Why some science research is marked as preliminary” — and also under “Why the media (including bloggers *cough cough*) shouldn’t jump on these sorts of results too enthusiastically.”

What the heck am I going on about?

Not so long ago, a widely reported study noted that people who were moderate drinkers (about  1-2 drinks per day) seemed to stay a wee bit sharper as they aged, had less memory loss, and lowered odds of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

And there was some underlying support for the idea, too – red wine, for instance, is known to contain high levels of a resveratrol (believed to be beneficial for the brain), and moderate drinking can help improve blood circulation to the brain, increase “good” cholesterol, and other things that might (note that I said might!) be good for the brain.

Both the researchers, the American Medical Association, and other assorted experts advised caution about the idea — some even pointed to other studies that said moderate drinking might actually shrink the brain.  Even so, some people no doubt headed out to the bars, touting their boosted brain as the result of their drinking!

And a more recent look at the info suggests the situation is, indeed, a wee bit more complicated than that.

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November 19, 2009 at 3:50 pm Leave a comment

Brain Health & Tooth Brushing: Could There Be A Link?

image For quite a while now, poor oral health has been linked to increased risk of  heart disease and strokes.  But could gum disease also contribute to cognitive problems, even increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s?  New research out of the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons suggests just that.

In the study, 2,350 adults over the age of 60 were assessed for both the levels of gum-disease and  tests of their cognitive skills.  The results?  Those with the highest levels of the bacteria that cause gum disease were two to three times as likely to struggle with simple memory and cognitive tasks, like remembering  word sequences or doing mental arithmetic.

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November 17, 2009 at 2:34 pm 2 comments

Exercise Those Motor Skills!

Make your brain work like greased lightnin'! Image by pixelbase on Stock.Xchng Motor skills. According to Wikipedia, they’re a learned series of movements combined into one smooth, efficient action.   They include large or “gross” motor skills, like sitting up, walking or running…  and smaller, “fine” motor skills like writing, fastening buttons, or putting on a pair of earrings.

We first develop them in infancy and as toddlers, then add to our repertoire as adults.   And practicing motor skills has big benefits, at any age.. it  can help maintain coordination,  balance, and visual-spatial skills – and most importantly, it may help keep seniors more independent (just as learning these skills allows toddlers to become independent)

Motor skill exercises are just plain good brain exercise, too.

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November 12, 2009 at 6:03 pm 3 comments

Multi-Tasking Troubles: Another Early Alzheimer’s Symptom

Based on Maze Image by gerard79 on Stock Xchng Recently, I’ve written about how problems with money management and visual & spatial skills can be very early indicators of the onset of Alzheimer’s. Another new study ads multi-tasking troubles to the list.

At the University of Edinburgh, a team of researchers have found that Alzheimer’s patients perform significantly poorly on tests of simultaneous tasks.   The 89 participants in the study were divided into three groups – healthy older adults, Alzheimer’s patients, and adults with chronic depression (a condition which early stages of Alzheimer’s can sometimes mimic, causing a misdiagnosis).

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November 10, 2009 at 1:58 pm Leave a comment

Nonsense: Could It Be Good For The Brain?

Seeing Eye Glasses: Image by krits on Stock.Xchng Our brains are wired to recognize patterns. We see them in faces, in written words, in numbers.  The patterns we learn  become part of our neural network, literally wiring them into our brain, and from there, they help interpret the world around us, and guide our reactions to what we observe.

But sometimes, our experiences just don’t fit those known patterns.   We might run across, say, a kangaroo hopping down Elm street, or a boat perched up in a tree – things that just don’t fit our knowledge of how the world is arranged.  Our response is usually to feel uncomfortable and disoriented; sometimes we laugh, sometimes we feel fear, and our response can range from mild to extreme. .

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November 5, 2009 at 3:39 pm 1 comment

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About This Blog


A healthy mind and brain is key to a healthy, active life. Come along for the ride as we explore the basics of brain health, with topics including:
  • Physical Exercise
  • Cognitive Training
  • Stress Management
  • Social Interaction
  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • A Sense of Purpose & Connection
Authored by Tori Deaux
Sponsored by Dakim Brain Fitness

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