Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’

"I Remember Better When I Paint": A DVD about the Arts and Alzheimer’s

I have a passion for creative expression and the arts, so when a reader (Hi Donald!) pointed me towards this trailer, I clapped my little hands with glee.  It’s narrated by the marvelous Olivia de Havilland, whose voice lends an extra layer of depth and beauty to the project.

The idea behind the film?  Creative workshops, museum trips, and classes that allow hands on artistic expression are being effectively used as therapies for patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.    The artistic process taps into parts of the brain largely untouched by  Alzheimer’s,  not only allowing the patients a means of expression, but also forming a bridge of communication with loved ones and caregivers.


March 16, 2010 at 1:33 pm 1 comment

Still Alice: A Touching Alzheimer’s Story

image This week, while wandering the aisles of the local big-box store, I ran across something unexpected. Tucked in among the true-crime and romance paperbacks was a blue and white cover that caught my eye.

The title, “Still Alice,” made me pick it up, and  review quote from USA Today made me buy it.  “ A poignant portrait of Alzheimer’s… Not a book you will forget.”

Originally published in 2007, “Still Alice” is author Lisa Genova’s fictional story of  a brilliant woman with a bright career, three grown children, and a strong marriage.

And then she gets Early Onset Alzheimer’s.

In her fifties.


March 11, 2010 at 5:30 pm Leave a comment

"Should I Use A Brain Training System, Do Crosswords, or Learn to Play Cards?"

image When people start looking into brain exercises, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all of the studies and conflicting research claims.  Many people wind up  confused, and asking  “Which activity is best for the brain? Which one should I choose?”

The answer?
Any of them, or ALL of them!


September 1, 2009 at 5:44 pm Leave a comment

Religious Rites: Good for the Brain? And What About Atheists?

Praying & Devotion: Image by TALUDA on Stock.XchngSome of the most revealing research in brain health has come from studies of  religious communities:  Catholic Nuns and Buddhist Monks.  And some of the results have been surprising – their practices of faith (including intensive prayers, contemplation and meditation) appear to affect their brain profoundly, changing blood flow, brainwave states, encouraging neural growth, and protecting the health of their brain against some of the effects of stress and aging.   But is the benefit because of their faith, or because of the rituals associated with their faith?

Can people of other belief systems (or no belief systems) still find benefit through adapting the practices? Neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, author of “How God Changes Your Brain” thinks the answer is yes.  He believes that even atheists can benefit from the focus on calm concentration, contemplation and compassion found in religious practices.


August 18, 2009 at 11:28 am Leave a comment

Feeling Confused? Poor Memory? Check Your Medications!

Medication Image by Egahen on Stock.XhcngYesterday, my stepfather needed a little help sorting out his prescriptions for a   reduced cost program.  Not surprising.. he’s got a whole basketful of pill bottles, all generics with very limited info on the bottles.  It’s enough to confuse anyone!

I got on the phone with him, intending to just be moral support and help keep him on track as he made notes in preparation for the paperwork.

Very quickly, it was clear he needed more than moral support.

He seemed just overwhelmed by the task, very confused, couldn’t follow my instructions and didn’t seem to remember what anything was for.  I told him to put Mom on the phone, please, and that we’d do it for him.   She ended up chasing him out of the room because he kept picking up bottles and putting them in the wrong pile.

So bottle by bottle, we went through the bottles of pills..


August 11, 2009 at 1:10 pm Leave a comment

De-Stressing Your Brain: A Meditation Primer

This gorgeous "Zen" image by gryhnd on Stock.XchngIn my first post on meditation this week, I promised a follow up with recommended  resources, common types of meditation and what to expect in a beginning meditation practice. That may be a bit of an ambitious agenda for one post, but let’s get started and see how much ground we can cover!

Since meditation has many different forms, it isn’t easy to pin down into a simple definition.  But for our purposes of reducing stress and training the brain to be stronger and healthier,  I’ll define it as a disciplined practice of relaxed yet focused awareness.  One of my teachers referred to the state as “effortless concentration” and I found that the concept described it perfectly!

Types of Meditation

Buddhist Meditations are probably the best known forms of meditation in the US.   Qualified instruction is readily available in most parts of the country, and there are some excellent CD’s and even online courses available.   There are many different practices within Bhuddhist traditions, but the basics focus on developing a disciplined, mindful state of awareness,  compassion and empathy towards yourself and others.  They often use neutral concepts like your  breath, a set of beads, a series of chanted words, or even the motion of walking as a focus point.  The non-denominational, neutral focus makes these meditations are appropriate for everyone, regardless of their spiritual orientation.


July 30, 2009 at 5:42 pm Leave a comment

5 Common Myths about Age & Your Brain

Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster.  Myth.  Yes, really! Sometimes I’m surprised by just how stubborn we can be about our mis-understandings of the human brain.

Below are five of the most common myths about age and the brain, along with how discoveries in neuroscience have put them in the same category as tales of Big Foot and Nessie!


July 23, 2009 at 5:46 pm Leave a 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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