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Exercise Your Brain! Enjoy Learning!

Dr. Michael Merzenich has written a great post titled “cognitive reserve is a good thing to work on!. Recommended reading if you are interested in another scientific perspective for cognitive training.

I agree we should know more (as usual), especially for policy decisions, but there is enough research, from Marian Diamond et al (see beautiful essays below) work on enriched environments to cognitive reserve and training, that is shouting at all of us: Exercise Your Brain! Enjoy Learning! Statistics such as that the average American-including kids- watch 5 hours of TV daily… don’t mean “we need more research” but “how can we change this”?.

See a couple of quotes from my recent interview with Yaakov Stern on the Cognitive Reserve.

  • “well…I was pretty surprised when, years ago, a reporter from Seventeen magazine requested an interview. I was really curious to learn why she felt that her readers would be interested in studies about dementia. What she told me showed a deep understanding and insight: she wanted  to motivate children to stay in school. She understood that early social interventions could be very powerful for building reserve and preventing dementia.”
  • “…education and occupation, our level of participation in leisure activities has a significant and cumulative effect. A key message here is that different activities have independent, synergistic, contributions, which means the more things you do and the earlier you start, the better. But you are never stuck: better late than never.”

Two essays by Marian Diamond on lifelong enrichment:

In a recent email exchange, Prof. Diamond summarized her recipe for healthy aging:

  1. Diet,
  2. Challenge,
  3. Exercise,
  4. Newness,
  5. Love.

Exercise Your Brain-and Body! Enjoy Learning-and Life!

Update: Madam Fathom has written a nice post on this theme titled Reading makes you stronger

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6 Responses

  1. I love the tips from Prof. Diamond on healthy aging. The one I would add would be some form of meditation or breathing practice such as yoga.

  2. Alvaro says:

    Hello Melissa,

    I agree that stress management is important-we usually mention it as a pillar og brain health-, and that meditation and breathing are important. Probably that fits under most of the 5 points, in fact.

  3. maureen says:

    I agree that you need to keep your mind active as well as your body as you age.

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