Tuesday, July 19, 2005

"Maintain Your Brain"


A recent article in our paper tells how to prevent or delay Alzheimer's disease. Among the recommendations:
1. Exercise your brain: do a new type of puzzle, learn to play chess, take a foreign language class or solve a vexing problem.
2. Socialize: Don't sit in front of the TV. People who are part of a group, whether it is a church or a book club, age healthier. Declining social interaction predicts declining cognitive function, government research shows.
3. Relax: People who have chronic distress - extreme worriers - are twice as likely to develop some forms of dementia; their brains are more vulnerable when disease strikes.
4. Exercise your body: Bad memory is linked to heart disease and diabetes, because clogged arteries slow blood flow in the brain. Elderly people who were less mentally and physically active in middle age are about three times as likely to get Alzheimers.
5. Eat right: Avoid artery-clogging fat and try for omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and nuts. Eat dark-skinned fruits and vegetables (high in vitamins E and C). B vitamins and folic acid are also important.
The goal is to build up a "cognitive reserve", so that if illness strikes, you have the ability to withstand the attack longer before symptoms become obvious.


May I take the liberty of adding a # 6? My answer to growing older (in mind, at least) is to write. Everyday. It forces you to exercise your brain. To that end, I blog, and reading other blogs also exercises my brain - and often provides humor - which is shown to be extremely useful for good health. I am sure all of you reading here know this already - but it bears repeating - doesn't it?

25 comments:

terrilynn said...

Funny cartoon!

Those are good tips for living well, Alzheimers or not. And I definitely agree with your added number six.

Erica said...

And thank you for blogging! I'm glad it's keeping you sharp, not that you have much to worry about. My grandmother, who is 80 y.o., is in the early stages of Alzheimers, but she has done the crossword puzzle and the Jumble every day since I can remember, and probably before, and she reads voraciously. I think that has definitely helped stave off the possibly inevitable. I hope to do the same with my writing, and by saying so, I realize I am agreeing with you on point #6, which I should have said earlier. :-)

Angie said...

I agree with you. Reading and interacting on blogs creates a ton of mental stimuli.

Maria said...

I was reading down the list of points and saying to myself, "Okay,you do that and you do that". When I got to number six, I thought "Wow, she is so right." The writing and communicating through blogging is an excellent mind exercise and a very enjoyable hobby for me. We need to encourage more people to write and maintain their own blogs.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

You mean a Winesap is better for you than a Golden Delicious? How many more doctors a day does that keep away?

I do know ONE thing: Blueberries is a lot better than kumquats.

srp said...

Blueberries seem to taste better if you pick them yourself.

My grandmother had Alzheimers and my mom worries about it. She memorizes poetry, reads cookbooks and knits.

Jennifer said...

Amen, sister!

vicki said...

Great post, Judy. Good public service type info in an easy and interesting format. oh, good job! Blueberries are fine- think I'll go eat some right now.
And do a crossword.

Jamie Dawn said...

I think you're right on!
Blogging is medicine to the mind, and it feeds the soul on occasion too.

Janet said...

Excellent tips, kenju! I'm learning to eat better & exercise more, I love to write, I can relax VERY well, and work out my brain...socialize, tho...that's a tough one!

BTW, Michele sent me!

Suzy0928 said...

Loved your number 6! The other tips were great, as well! I think I'll be off to read what you wrote about dyslexia. My son has that (9yr old) and we struggle daily. =(

http://miss_suzy.typepad.com/my_weblog/

Carl V. said...

Thanks for the visit to my site. I really appreciate it and your nice comments.

Whether or not they are effective in delaying Alzheimer's or old age I think these items are all great things to do just to enjoy life and get the most out of it!

Blond Girl said...

Great cartoon! I'm glad you're doing everything to keep that sharp mind entertaining the masses for as long as possible!

Keep up the good work. I would suggest a blog to my mom, but she is so techno-phobic that she can't even start a DVD or search for something on Google. So far the only thing she can realiably complete on the computer is play solitaire....and she loves to tell me how that is keeping her brain young! :-)

Heather said...

I definitely feel like my mind is in better shape because of blogging. Yours seems pretty sharp too :-)

FTS said...

Good advice. I wish I could get more people around me to understand #3. I did the corporate rat race, and I like a relaxed pace to my life. Running helter-skelter- all day long again is wearing me down.

meeta said...

my grandfather had alzheimers, I wonder if he had done some of these things...if that would've helped. Thanks for the list Kenju :)

Claire said...

I totally agree with you!

poopie said...

Good advice..all points. It's all such a very short visit here on earth we should make the most of it by experiencing the glad and the sad.

Blond Girl said...

Hi Judy! Just stopped by!

Jennifer said...

Hey, you. It's awfully quiet over here...did you forget to post?

:-)

texasblu said...

thanks for visiting the other day. These are great tips!

Ms Mac said...

Well said!

I can now use blogging as a proper excuse for not doing other stuff!

"I'm preventing alzheimers here! Noone ever said that hoovering and dusting would prevent alzheimers!"

Weary Hag said...

If I could recall what I've just read, I'd comment. (totally joking)
Great comic and wonderful post!
Let's see, I already do puzzles and word games, have learned bits and pieces of three new languages in the past 15 years, I eat plenty of nuts, last cardiology test showed no clogging of the arteries (yet) and I socialize as much as can be tolerated. Oh yes, in an effort to eliminate stress, I've just resigned from my job.
I think I'm well on my way to a healthy brain-future ~ especially with your added advice on writing!

Have missed reading you! Hugs...

brendalove@gmail.com said...

hey Judy! I hope all is well....missing you out here in blogging paradise.

Christine said...

What a wonderful little cartoon and great advice. Sometimes it is hard to make that effort for these activities when you have worked a hard week or are feeling mentally worn out but more important is not to fall into a rut and be stuck in front of a television!

Like your #6!