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Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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In honor of Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, let’s discuss 10 Key Facts To Harness Brain Plasticity And Prolong Brain Health

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Aware­ness Month, so let me share 10 Key Facts to har­ness brain plas­tic­i­ty & pro­long brain health that come from the hun­dreds of sci­en­tif­ic and med­ical stud­ies we ana­lyzed to Read the rest of this entry »

10 ways in which Yoga Meditation helps nourish Body, Brain and Mind

holdingbrain

An easy, low cost, nat­ur­al prac­tice can help us boost our brain pow­er, be health­i­er and more spir­i­tu­al­ly attuned as we age, and improve our qual­i­ty of life and hap­pi­ness. It could also reduce some of the stag­ger­ing health care costs seen today.

Curi­ous about what that prac­tice is? Read the rest of this entry »

12 Ways Yoga Meditation Helps Nourish The Body, Brain and Mind

An easy, low cost, nat­ur­al prac­tice can help us boost our brain pow­er, be health­i­er and more spir­i­tu­al­ly attuned as we age, and improve our qual­i­ty of life and hap­pi­ness. It could also reduce some of the stag­ger­ing health care costs seen today.

Curi­ous about what that prac­tice is?

Recent­ly The Alzheimer’s Research and Pre­ven­tion Foun­da­tion (ARPF), of which I’m the found­ing pres­i­dent and med­ical direc­tor, pre­sent­ed a sum­ma­ry of Read the rest of this entry »

No effects of omega-3 supplements on Alzheimer’s symptoms

The L.A. Times reports today the neg­a­tive results of the lat­est ran­dom­ized tri­al test­ing the effects of DHA sup­ple­ments on Alzheimer’s symp­toms (DHA is an omega-3 fat­ty acid).

The study … exam­ined 402 peo­ple with mild to mod­er­ate Alzheimer’s. They were ran­dom­ly assigned to take 2 grams a day of omega-3 cap­sules con­tain­ing docosa­hexaenoic acid (or DHA) or a place­bo cap­sule. The par­tic­i­pants were fol­lowed for 18 months, and their cog­ni­tive and func­tion­al abil­i­ties were reassessed. They also under­went MRI to look at the brain.

There was no ben­e­fit seen in the patients tak­ing omega-3 fat­ty-acid sup­ple­ments in either brain vol­ume or cog­ni­tive func­tion.

Com­ments: Does this study mean that DHA or omega-3 in gen­er­al are not good for the brain? No! This study sug­gests that tak­ing DHA sup­ple­ments after Alzheimer’s diag­no­sis is not help­ful. Pri­or evi­dence shows that omega-3 con­sump­tion (espe­cial­ly DHA) long before the onset of Alzheimer’s symp­toms reduces the risk of devel­op­ing the dis­ease. Indeed, sev­er­al stud­ies have shown that eat­ing fish (the pri­ma­ry source in our diet of omega-3 fat­ty acids) is asso­ci­at­ed with a reduced risk of cog­ni­tive decline or demen­tia.

The authors of the JAMA study also spec­u­late that DHA sup­ple­ments could be used as a treat­ment for peo­ple who have not yet been diag­nosed with Alzheimer’s but are already devel­op­ing demen­tia pathol­o­gy in their brain: “Indi­vid­u­als inter­me­di­ate between healthy aging and demen­tia, such as those with mild cog­ni­tive impair­ment, might derive ben­e­fit from DHA sup­ple­men­ta­tion, although fur­ther study will be nec­es­sary to test this hypoth­e­sis.” 

Can We Pick Your Brain re. Cognitive Assessments?

If you could, you would. You can, but pre­fer not to know it?

More than any oth­er organ, your brain is up to you. You are what you think, not just what you eat. Here’s some food for thought:

Design your Mind

Set­ting cog­ni­tive and behav­ioral goals rais­es chal­leng­ing and wor­thy ques­tions: What do you want from your brain? Will you know it when you achieve it?

To attain the brain of our choos­ing, we must under­stand our selves and cur­rent abil­i­ties. Intro­spec­tion and curios­i­ty are help­ful if they trig­ger and sus­tain the effort to enrich the mind. How­ev­er, objec­tive infor­ma­tion which leads to informed assess­ment of brain func­tion is often lack­ing.

Mind your Brain

Hon­esty. Open­ness. Self-aware­ness.

Irrefutable virtues, but in prac­tice most peo­ple fall short. Few reg­u­lar­ly appraise their brain skills; even so, the abil­i­ty to accu­rate­ly judge one’s own men­tal per­for­mance is not guar­an­teed. I believe the first step to mind­ing the brain is shed­ding hang-ups while offer­ing and solic­it­ing frank feed­back from fam­i­ly and close con­fi­dants. In the clin­i­cal set­ting, rou­tine cog­ni­tive screen­ing and “men­tal check ups” are not cur­rent­ly prac­ticed, in part due to time con­straints and lim­it­ed util­i­ty of tra­di­tion­al paper-and-pen­cil tests. From a pub­lic health per­spec­tive, the U.S. Pre­ven­ta­tive Task Force reviewed Read the rest of this entry »

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