In this blog we will look at timely topics on the brain. Learn along with a copy from our book series, Healing the Brain. Get your copy today. A Thousand Moms offers workshops to the general public. These workshops are presented in clear, non-complicated language. In New York, Vermont and Massachusetts, please call 518 322-0607 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the author of the acclaimed Dana Sourcebook of Brain Science.
Source: Cerebrum/Dana Foundation
The Four Pillars of Alzheimer’s PreventionBy: Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., and George Perry, Ph.D. Editor’s Note: Much is yet to be discovered about the precise biological changes that cause Alzheimer’s, disease, why it progresses more quickly in some than in others, and how the disease can be prevented, slowed, or stopped. And while researchers continue to search for the magic pill that can prevent or halt the spread of amyloid in the brain, our authors believe that changing or modifying one’s lifestyle and attitude can make a difference in both prevention and treatment.
Pillar 2: Physical and Mental Exercise
The evidence is convincing: Both physical and mental exercise are absolutely essential in preventing AD. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, augments crucial brain compounds such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and, perhaps most significantly, causes neurogenesis, or the growth of new brain cells. In a study at Columbia University, researchers showed that older men who exercised on a treadmill four times a week for 30 minutes grew new cells in their dentate gyrus, an important area of the brain related to memory and cognition such as executive function.11 And guess what? One can experience these brain-boosting effects of exercise regardless of one’s age or existing level of fitness or cognitive decline.Current wisdom recommends 150 minutes a week of cardio (aka aerobic) exercise, plus several sessions of strength training. But the benefits of even mild exercise begin to accrue right away. Just getting out and taking a 20 to 30- minute brisk walk three times a week will improve brain and memory function. Like diet, exercise also creates a healthy epigenetic response. Those who are already in good physical condition should add more variety and intensity to their workouts. Get a trainer, join a gym, play tennis, swim, or take a boot camp, Zumba, or cycling class. Find enjoyable activities and make them part of your routine.
Additionally, keeping one’s mind active is an important aspect of AD prevention. There are a variety of ways to do this. One of them, reading, is one of the best ways to stay sharp—not only does learning take place, but the mind is forced to think and engage outside of everyday tasks. Other simple strategies—or what are sometimes called brain-aerobic activities—include playing and listening to music, creating and viewing art, or completing crossword puzzles. All stimulate and challenge the brain, giving it a nice “workout.” Remember, it’s not just about physical fitness, it’s about mental conditioning as well.