Staying Sharp: Limiting cognitive decline associated with age


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This short presentation is all about some basic things you can do to keep your mind healthy.

It covers some aspects of neuro-degeneration associated with age and the means by which to slow down this process, or enhance current cognitive function.

Tips range from physically related through to dietary recommendations.

If you would like more details just send me a message as I've kept this presentation relatively simplistic.

Published in: Health & Medicine, Technology

Staying Sharp: Limiting cognitive decline associated with age

  1. 1. Staying Sharp<br />Limiting cognitive declineassociated with age<br />
  2. 2. Before we begin on how to enhance cognitive function in the ageing brain.<br />How and why does the brain age?<br />Neurons, In Vitro Color! via flickr<br />
  3. 3. Brain Ageing – Fact or Fiction?<br />If the bodychanges… So does the brain<br />This causes changes in memory, concentration, problem solving and so on<br />
  4. 4. So what happens on a biological level?<br />After age 60 brain volume ↓0.5–1% per year<br />Greatest loss in frontal lobe (central control)<br />Hippocampus(memory centre)<br />• Dendrites and axons shrink<br />• Nerve fibres degrade after ~age 50<br />↓ 4-10% <br />Brain weightbetween 30s and 80s<br />
  5. 5. The consequences…<br />Slowed reaction time<br />Decline in working memory and selective attention<br />Decrements in sensory systems<br />Vision, hearing & speech comprehension<br />Motor functions<br />↓Vestibular sense<br />↓Motor processing<br />↓balance ∝ WM atrophy<br />Neurons, Wired Magazine<br />
  6. 6. It’s not all bad news…<br />The ageing brain can also have power<br />Greater flexibility<br />More relativistic<br />More reflective<br />Tolerance of ambiguity to manage relationships<br />More positive bias<br />
  7. 7. Differences between individuals<br />Cognitive reserve describes the mind&apos;s resilience to damage of the brain.<br />This can vary between individuals for a number of reasons. Evidence in Alzheimer&apos;s Disease (AD) patients suggests that;<br />Low Education -> ↑risk for AD<br />Low IQ -> higher incidence of dementia<br />Mental stimulation ->better health outcomes<br />“TV rots your Brain”<br />Each hour of TV/day in midlife ↑AD risk 1.3 times<br />
  8. 8. Improving the mind: The Basics<br />Aerobic exercise<br />Mental stimulation<br />New learning<br />Reduce stress<br />Keep socially active<br />Healthy diet<br />Think positively<br />Neuron & Glial cells<br />
  9. 9. Go for a jog<br />At the minimum try to engage in moderate exercise 3-4 times/week for 30mins<br />Moderate exercise is exercise that gets you slightly ‘puffed’ and the heart beating.<br />If doesn’t have to be running, it can be any exercise that is strenuous, though aerobic exercises are better.<br />
  10. 10. Exercise the mind…<br />Just as physical exercise is important for a strong body mental exercise is essential for a sharp mind.<br />Some activities that may exercise you mind include;<br />Play scrabble or do crossword puzzles<br />Volunteer<br />Interact with others<br />Start a new hobby – reading, writing, bird watching and so on.<br />Learn a new skill or language<br />
  11. 11. Combining Exercise with Mental Stimulation<br />Aerobic Exercise<br />Complex Movements (mental stimulation of the motor cortex & cerebellum)<br />Social Interaction<br />Findings by Dr Michael Valenzuela of UNSW suggests that activities like Highland Dancing that incorporate 3cognitive processes, may help the brain the most.<br />
  12. 12. (un) Stress<br />
  13. 13. Enjoy the simple pleasures…<br />Stress is a major factor in leaving us feeling drained, both physically and mentally.<br />So try to sit back and relax and enjoy the good things in your life. Listen to a favourite album, go on a hiking trip, just find the good in the world around you, and harness it to reduce stress.<br />(un) stress by HRC<br />
  14. 14. Stay Social<br />It is important to stay social and interact with people around you.<br />Whether it be family, friends or members of your local sports club.<br />The benefits from social interaction can be as great as the benefits from intellectual activities.<br />Mental Exercising Through Simple Socializing: Social Interaction Promotes General Cognitive Functioning<br />
  15. 15. Diet: The building blocks <br />Nutrition plays an important role in maintaining healthy brain function.<br />The best foundation is to stick with the dietician’s mantra “Go for 2 Fruit & 5 Veg” <br />
  16. 16. A little more to snack on….<br />Some other foods and nutrients that have shown in various studies a possibility of enhancing brain function include;<br />Almonds (incl Almond Milk) -> improves memory<br />Apple Juice -> increase acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter) production<br />B Vitamins<br />Omega-3 & Omega-6 (e.g. in fish)<br />Broccoli<br />Finally a low calorie intake has been suggested to be beneficial to cognitive function.<br />
  17. 17. Have a lie down….<br />Sleep is a very important process for consolidating long-term memories, and allowing your brain to refresh.<br />The average person should sleep somewhere between 6.5hrs to 9hrs<br />Any sleep that is less or longer than these timeframes typically correlates to increases in mortality. But do what is comfortable for you.<br />
  18. 18. Most Importantly<br />BE HAPPY!<br />
  19. 19. Disclosure<br />I’m not a Medical Professional or a Doctor. Anything that is mentioned in this presentation, I have learnt during my university studies. As such, some studies may still require further scientific evidence.<br />If you are unsure about anything I would advise you to go see your local medical practitioner.<br />Hope you enjoyed this short presentation.<br />Cheers,<br />Aaron<br />