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Stress Management as Key Factor For Cognitive Fitness, and More News

Brain Health NewsA roundup of several excellent articles this week:

Keeping Your Brain Fit (US News and World Report)

– “In a study of more than 2,800 people ages 65 or older, Harvard researchers found that those with at least five social ties—church groups, social groups, regular visits, or phone calls with family and friends—were less likely to suffer cognitive decline than those with no social ties.”

– “The working hypothesis is that it has something to do with stress management,” says Marilyn Albert, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins and codirector of the Alzheimer’s research center there. In animal studies, a prolonged elevation in stress hormones damages the hippocampus. Social engagement appears to boost people’s sense of control, which affects their stress level. Creative arts seem to be a highly promising way to increase social engagement. George Washington University’s Cohen has found that elderly people who joined choirs also stepped up their other activities during a 12-month period, while a nonsinging control group dropped out of some activities. The singers also reported fewer health problems, while the control group reported an increase.”

We Never Forget Anything (Anymore) (Prevention Magazine)

– “Processing new information when we’re anxious is tough; the stress itself is a distraction. Fernandez taught Laurie this relaxation trick: Close your eyes, touch your pinky fingers to your thumbs, and think about that healthy feeling after a good workout. Take deep breaths and hold that thought for 30 seconds. Next, move your ring fingers to your thumbs and remember a time when you felt loved for 30 seconds. For your middle fingers, recall a caring gesture, and for your index fingers, imagine a beautiful place.”

– “After just a week of SharpBrains training, I surprised myself: One Friday afternoon, a colleague wanted to show me a new part of the job. There were kids talking, phones ringing–it was hard to focus. I took a moment to use the relaxation technique I learned. On Monday, I was able to complete a project with no extra help.”

Update (2/14): great 4-minute clip of a Today Show segment based on the article.

Alzheimer’s Hat Draws Skepticism (ABC News)

– “Alzheimer’s researchers not affiliated with the work say the chances that the hat would actually work for human patients is remote at best.”

Study: Symptoms of GIs’ brain injuries, PTSD can be confused (USA Today)

– “In response, the Army announced just days ago plans to expand efforts to identify soldiers who suffered concussions, screening thousands for the wounds as they return from Iraq or Afghanistan to Army installations across the country.”

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3 Responses

  1. Julie says:

    Interesting piece of information… I know I’m not that old yet but my grandmother is a very good example of this. At her age, she’s still running a business (although I suspect she’s about to sell the whole thing off). She wakes up before 6 every morning and goes to the park with the rest of her friends. She travels and sings with her singing group. Maybe all these things help in keeping her healthy.

  2. Alvaro says:

    Hello Julie, thanks for sharing those beautiful things your grandma does. Please say Hello to her on our behalf, next time you talk to her 🙂

  3. Tom Shea says:

    Hello, I am a 76 year old male and am interested in branin exercises that show at times how i progressed and at what level. Is there such programs . Thanks for listening

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