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A Multi-Pronged Approach to Brain Health

Larry McLeary

Try eat­ing food with one chop stick.

It is pos­si­ble, for cer­tain types of food. But prob­a­bly not the best approach.

Let’s now talk brain health.

Dr. Lar­ry McCleary is a for­mer act­ing Chief of Pedi­atric Neu­ro­surgery at Den­ver Children’s Hos­pi­tal, and author of the The Brain Trust Pro­gram (Perigee Trade, 2007). He agreed to help us answer an impor­tant, yet often neglect­ed, ques­tion: Giv­en That We Are Our Brains, How do We Nour­ish Them?

Alvaro: Dr. McCleary, Why did a for­mer neu­ro­sur­geon such as your­self devel­op an inter­est in brain health pub­lic edu­ca­tion?

Dr. McCleary: For two rea­sons … I am a Boomer and am try­ing to max­i­mize my own brain health. Also, there is much excit­ing research doc­u­ment­ing how we can be proac­tive in this regard. This infor­ma­tion needs to be dis­sem­i­nat­ed and I would like to help in this process.

And what is the sin­gle most impor­tant brain-relat­ed idea or con­cept that you would like every per­son in the plan­et to ful­ly under­stand?

The most impor­tant take home mes­sage about brain health is that we now know that no mat­ter what your brain sta­tus or age, there is much you can do to sig­nif­i­cant­ly improve brain func­tion and slow brain aging. Based on emerg­ing infor­ma­tion, what is espe­cial­ly nice is the fact that unlike many things in life our brain health is large­ly under own con­trol.

What are the most impor­tant ele­ments to nour­ish our brains as we age?

I approach this ques­tion much like an ath­lete pre­pares for com­pe­ti­tion. They uti­lize a holis­tic approach. Read the rest of this entry »

Working Memory: an image that says much

Working memory

(Graph Source: Kling­berg et al, 2005)

Work­ing mem­o­ry is a key cog­ni­tive func­tion that allows you to hold sev­er­al units of infor­ma­tion in mind “online” for brief peri­ods of time, typ­i­cal­ly a few sec­onds, and man­age them.

For exam­ple, if I tell you the 7 dig­its of my tele­phone num­ber, would you remem­ber them? and, could you tell them back to me…in reverse order?

Ques­tions:

- What if that curve could be moved upwards?

- What activ­i­ties may help kids and youth expand work­ing mem­o­ry?

- What activ­i­ties can help adults over 30 reduce that rate of decline?

- And what is the rela­tion­ship between work­ing mem­o­ry and the brain?

To Be Con­tin­ued…

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

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