A recent study shows that work plays an active role in keeping our brains healthy. “We have demonstrated the role of working activity on cognitive performance”. Professor Raffaella Rumiati says … “Many studies have been focused on the factors influencing our brain aging and differences in cognitive decline have been often observed in association with education or other related to quality of life. From our analysis it emerges that the type of work activity also contributes to the differences in normal and pathological cognitive aging”. [Read more…] about Complex occupations help protect our brains from aging-related cognitive decline
People who retire early suffer from accelerated cognitive decline and may even encounter early onset of dementia, according to a new economic study (Note: opens PDF) I conducted with my doctoral student Alan Adelman.
To establish that finding, we examined the effects of a rural pension program China introduced in 2009 that provided people who participated with a stable income if they stopped working after the official retirement age of 60. We found that people who participated in the program and retired within one or two years experienced a cognitive decline equivalent to a drop in general intelligence of 1.7% relative to the general population. This drop is equivalent to about three IQ points and could make it harder for someone to adhere to a medication schedule or conduct financial planning. The largest negative effect was in what is called “delayed recall,” which measures a person’s ability to remember something mentioned several minutes ago. Neurological research links problems in this area to an early onset of dementia. [Read more…] about Study in China finds that retirement may accelerate cognitive decline, even for those with stable income
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring ten timely resources and research findings for lifelong brain and mental fitness.
#1. Let’s start with a fascinating story and study 🙂
Study with 330 centenarians finds that cognitive decline is not inevitable … (Henne Holstege, PhD, assistant professor at Amsterdam University Medical Center) said her interest in researching aging and cognitive health was inspired by the “fascinating” story of Hendrikje van Andel Schipper, who died at age 115 in 2005 “completely cognitively healthy.”
#2. Neuroscientist Lisa Genova, author of the beautiful novel Still Alice, releases non-fiction book on Memory: “It is sobering to realize that three out of four prisoners who are later exonerated through DNA evidence were initially convicted on the basis of eyewitness testimony. “You can be 100 percent confident in your vivid memory,” Genova writes, “and still be 100 percent wrong” … Genova assures her readers that only two per cent of Alzheimer’s cases are of the strictly inherited, early-onset kind. For most of us, our chances of developing the disease are highly amenable to interventions…”
#3. Timely tips for the weekend: Shape your environment, shape your mind
- Surround yourself with nature
- Create opportunities for awe
- Clear the clutter
#4. “For a mission to succeed, high mental and cognitive function would be absolutely critical; astronauts would be called on to perform demanding tasks in a demanding environment. Losing 20 IQ points halfway to Mars is not an option … Stress—an emotional or mental state resulting from tense or overwhelming circumstances—and the body’s response to it, which involves multiple systems, from metabolism to muscles to memory—may be the chief challenge that astronauts face.” Next in NASA’s path to Mars: Overcoming astronauts’ cognitive and mental health challenges
#5. Study: Depression affects visual perception … making it more accurate (based on a cool optical illusion)
#6. It’s good to have more tools in the neuro toolkit…assuming we use them wisely: Emerging applications of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS): e‑sports skills training, cognitive enhancement in older adults
#8. Mental Health in the Digital Age: From digital therapeutics to personalized mental health solutions: Pear Therapeutics expands platform via partnerships with Empatica, etectRx, KeyWise, and Winterlight
#9. The award was won last year by Indian village teacher Ranjitsinh Disale; who will be next? Final day to nominate teachers for the $1M Global Teacher Prize 2021
#10. And last, but certainly not least, let’s welcome Mental Health Month (May) by appreciating our beautiful brains
Wishing you a mentally healthy and cognitively stimulating month of May,
The SharpBrains Team
It is often assumed that a decrease in memory and brain function are inevitable parts of aging, but a new study of centenarians suggests otherwise.
Investigators found that despite the presence of neurological issues generally associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), many centenarians maintained high levels of cognitive performance.
(Henne Holstege, PhD, assistant professor at Amsterdam University Medical Center) said her interest in researching aging and cognitive health was inspired by the “fascinating” story of Hendrikje van Andel Schipper, who died at age 115 in 2005 “completely cognitively healthy.” Her mother, who died at age 100, was also cognitively intact at the end of her life. [Read more…] about Study with 330 centenarians finds that cognitive decline is not inevitable
When her husband was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease in 2015, Elizabeth Pan was devastated by the lack of options to slow his inevitable decline. But she was encouraged when she discovered the work of a UCLA neurologist, Dr. Dale Bredesen, who offered a comprehensive lifestyle management program to halt or even reverse cognitive decline in patients like her husband.
Does ‘Brain Training’ Actually Work? (Scientific American):
If there were an app on your phone that could improve your memory, would you try it? Who wouldn’t want a better memory? After all, our recollections are fragile and can be impaired by diseases, injuries, mental health conditions and, most acutely for all of us, aging. [Read more…] about Given cognitive strengths and needs are diverse, what brain training may work best for each person and under which conditions?