An Interesting Article on Boosting Brain Health

There is an interesting article in the March/April AARP magazine. It is written by a physician, P. Murali Doraiswamy, and is titled “Boost Your Brain Health.” This article has been cited in previous postings. It points out our memory strengths as we age. Our crystallized intelligence, our vocabulary and knowledge, can continue to grow and increase. Some impressive examples are cited of memory performance being maintained in spite of large losses in the physical brain. Losses in speed of processing do occur, but they can be mitigated through training and practice.

What I find most impressive about this article is that it does not propose one specific magic bullet for boosting brain health. We are constantly bombarded with adds regarding specific pills that will solve the problem. Or that there is a specific game you can play to maintain cognitive functioning. Avoid gimmicks. No product builds extra brainpower instantly or effortlessly. Both the brain and memory are way too complex to be amenable to a simple solution.

The article recommends the following ten helpful habits: 

  1. Walk and talk. Find a walking partner and a topic to discuss during your walks.
  2. Vary your routine. Try new things. Seek out novelty.
  3. Get smart. Be a lifelong learner and go beyond superficial learning.
  4. Play games. Pick games with several levels of difficulty. Look for timed games where you need to beat the clock.
  5. De-stress. Engage in activities that reduce stress. Meditate, walk, focus and relax.
  6. Sleep. Your brain remains active when you sleep continuing to process and relate the information of the day.
  7. Imagine. Be creative, paint, write (or employ mnemonic techniques). Visit new websites or build your own.
  8. Party. Meaning do not be a loner. Engage socially.
  9. Eat right. You have heard this before. To keep oxygen flowing to the brain consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fish.
  10. Watch your numbers. Blood pressure, weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol.
  11. The Healthymemory blog strongly endorses these recommendations. It provides direct support to habits 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7.

Many scientists believe that the buildup of a “cognitive reserve” wards off mental decline. The Healthymemory Blog strongly subscribes to this view. It supports three themes to this end.

The first theme can be found under the category “Human Memory: Theory and Data.” You will find posts here that will build your understanding of how human memory works. You will also learn of fallacies, biases, and processing errors that are common to all of us. Learning about them will allow you to avoid them. So your performance will not only improve, but will also help you avoid decision making errors that can have adverse effects on your finances.

The second theme can be found under the category of “Mnemonic Techniques.” Here you will find specific techniques for improving your memory. These techniques have the potential not only of improving your memory performance, but of also providing exercises that improve brain health.

The third theme is transactive memory. This little known concept has two parts. One is the reliance upon your fellow humans for improving your memory and brain health. The other is the use of technology for improving your memory and brain health.

To access these themes, click on the appropriate links under Categories on the sideboard.  (If you don’t see the Categories link on the sideboard, then go to healthymemory.wordpress.com)

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: