As with many other physicians, recommending physical activity to patients was just a doctor chore for me – until a few years ago. That was because I myself was not very active. Over the years, as I picked up boxing and became more active, I got firsthand experience of positive impacts on my mind. I also started researching the effects of dance and movement therapies on trauma and anxiety in refugee children, and I learned a lot more about the neurobiology of exercise. [Read more…] about Promote brain plasticity and keep your mind at ease by taking your daily “exercise pill”
“Brain functions are controlled by millions of brain cells. However, in order to understand how the brain controls functions, such as simple reflexes or learning and memory, we must be able to record [Read more…] about New “bionic hybrid neuro chip” to improve understanding of brain function by enabling high-fidelity, long-term recordings of brain cell activity
Below you can find the full transcript of our engaging Q&A session today on memory, memory techniques and brain-healthy lifestyles with Dr. Gary Small, Director of UCLA’s Memory Clinic and Center on Aging, and author of The Memory Bible. You can learn more about his book Here, and learn more about upcoming Brain Fitness Q&A Sessions Here.
Perhaps one of the best questions and answers was:
Question: Gary, you’ve worked many years in this field. Let us in on the secret. What do YOU do you, personally, to promote your own brain fitness?
Answer: I try to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic conditioning each day; try to minimize my stress by staying connected with family and friends; generally eat a brain healthy diet (fish, fruits, vegetables), and try to balance my online time with my offline time. Which reminds me, I think it is almost time for me to sign off line. [Read more…] about Transcript: Dr. Gary Small on Enhancing Memory and the Brain
Training the brain is possible because of neuroplasticity. Our daily experiences can trigger neuroplastic changes in the brain, such as the growth of new brain cells (neurons) and new connections (synapses) between neurons. Plasticity is observed at all ages but is at its peak during brain development, as a baby and then a child learns basic knowledge and skills necessary to survive. We should thus expect that the brain of a baby could be easily trained. This is what Wass and his colleagues recently demonstrated in a new study with 11-month-old babies. [Read more…] about Brain Training for Babies: Hope, Hype, Both?
“7. Doctors and pharmacists will help patients navigate through the overwhelming range of available products and interpret the results of cognitive assessments. This will require significant professional development efforts, given that most doctors today were trained under a very different understanding of the brain than the one we have today.”
The American Medical News, a weekly newspaper for physicians published by the American Medical Association, just published an excellent article along those lines:
Steps to a nimble mind: Physical and mental exercise help keep the brain fit
— Neuroscience is uncovering techniques to prevent cognitive decline.
A few quotes:
- It’s an example that highlights a wave of new thinking about the importance of brain fitness.
- Until recently, conventional wisdom held that our brains were intractable, hard-wired computers. What we were born with was all we got. Age wore down memory and the ability to understand, and few interventions could reverse this process. But increasingly, evidence suggests that physical and mental exercise can alter specific brain regions, making radical improvements in cognitive function.
- With nearly 72 million Americans turning 65 over the next two decades, physicians need the tools to handle growing patient concerns about how to best maintain brain health. Armed with this new brand of science, frontline physicians will be better equipped to address the needs of aging baby boomers, already in the throes of the brain fitness revolution.
- “Encourage them to exercise the brain in novel and complex ways,” he says.
Full article: here
One of the physicians quoted in the article is Gary J. Kennedy, MD, Director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in NYC and a professor in the Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
To put the AMA article in better perspective for SharpBrains readers, we asked Dr. Kennedy a few follow-up questions. Below you have his questions.
Alvaro Fernandez (AF): Can you summarize how cognitive functions tend to evolve as we age?
Gary Kennedy (GK): As we age cognitive functions that rely on [Read more…] about Physical and mental exercise to prevent cognitive decline
We just received these two very thought-provoking essays on Alzheimer’s Disease and brain health, as part of a writing workshop, led by Susan Hill in Lakeland, Florida, with a group of grade 9–11 homeschoolers.
Without further ado, here you are both Essays:
Essay A. Preventing Alzheimer’s at Work
– By Josh H
5,000,000: that is the number of people in the United States alone who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Research has shown that those who held jobs such as sanitation workers or trash collectors in their 30s, 40s, and 50s are more at risk for Alzheimer’s disease than people who held jobs such as doctors or scientists at the same age. If everyone knew this, the world would benefit, and it could impact the lives of everyone.