March 13-19 Celebrating Brain Awareness Week – Is Your Social Life Bad for Your Brain?

Happy group of adult friends having fun

 3 Reasons Why Staying Social Matters to Your Thinking

How many friends do you have? Do you rarely see family, go out for the evening or join your community for an event?

You may not realize it, but your social life may just be bad for your brain.

In the immortal words of Bette Midler, “you’ve got to have friends.” Little did the Divine Miss M know that in addition to our souls, she was hitting a high note on brain health as well.

A recent AARP survey found that adults 40 and over with a higher number of social connections report better brain health.
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Dr. Green’s Favorite Brain Workouts

In a recent interview by Bottom Line/Health, our own Dr. Cynthia Green was asked to suggest her best brain workouts. It’s not what most of us think. Crossword puzzles, online classes and other such activities are not necessarily the best for improving memory and preserving overall cognitive function. The latest research reveals that it takes more than quiet puzzle-solving and streaming lectures.

In fact, some activities that we once thought were time wasters may actually help build intellectual capacity and other cognitive functions.  And, the most important steps to keep your brain performing at optimal levels are lifestyle choices.  Brain workouts that include getting aerobic exercise (at least 150 minutes per week), maintaining a healthy body weight, not smoking and eating a diet that emphasizes fruits and vegetables (low in refined sugar and white flour)

However, research now tells us that there is more to a healthy brain workout. 
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February Is Heart Month: Share the Love for the Heart-Brain Connection

February is American Heart Month, and it’s a great time to once again focus our thoughts on what is without doubt the brain’s favorite valentine, the heart.

Why does heart health matter so much to our intellectual wellness? The relationship between cardiovascular function and our brain health is well established. Numerous studies have shown over and again that the same factors known to impact cardiac health, such as physical activity, weight and stress, also play a significant role in determining dementia risk. The robustness of this relationship is strong and clear, and many of us know that what is good for our heart is good for our brain as well.
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Skills of Senior Citizens – An Untapped Resource

by Stanley Hupfeld

George Bush, Sr. parachuted from an airplane to celebrate his 90th birthday. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson continued to write thoughtful political discourse 50 years after they signed the Declaration of Independence.

A recent Governor’s conference explored opportunities how best to serve senior citizens, both medically and physically.  I suspect most people would like to live a long life well into their 90’s, disease free, with fully functioning mental capacity, simply failing to wake up one morning.

Unfortunately, far too many seniors have exactly the opposite reality.  They die in nursing homes, lonely, forgotten, surrounded by strangers, with diminished physical and mental capabilities. 
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Brain Science from Dr. Cynthia Green

The focus on this month’s brain science report, from Dr. Cynthia Green, features the benefits of keeping busy, both at work and online:

BRAIN SCIENCE: Your Brain @ Work: Challenging Work May Reduce Dementia Risk
German researchers conducting a review of the literature found that a work environment that offers a rich intellectual experience, engagement with others, work with data as well as a high degree of job control may lower risk for dementia later in life. A systematic review of the literature resulted in 17 studies qualifying for inclusion in their analysis. Their findings, published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine,suggest that our work environment may play a protective role in brain health.
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Caffeine & Dementia

More Coffee or Tea? Caffeine May Protect Your Brain from Dementia

What: A recent review article in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging showed the potential long-term benefit of caffeine use in lowering dementia risk. Researchers reviewed the existing data to consider the possible benefits of caffeine for reducing dementia risk, as well as the potential mechanisms by which caffeine may work to lower that risk. They found a strong association between regular use of coffee, tea, or other caffeine-containing foods and reduced dementia risk.

Why This Matters: Caffeine has been associated with improved everyday cognitive performance. However, its effect on long-term dementia risk remains unclear, as does the means by which it might reduce that risk.
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