Brain Fitness April 15 2009

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Learn how to keep your brain young. There are four pillars to Brain Health - Physical Exercise, Stress Reduction, Nutrition, Mental Stimulation.

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  • Brain Fitness April 15 2009

    1. 1. Dr. Lorraine S. Inducci, Au.D. Robert Wood Johnson Hospital Hamilton, NJ My Brain Wellness Center - Yardley, PA
    2. 2. Everyone has a photographic memory ...some just don't have any film.
    3. 3. How often do you forget where you left your ……keys? …… your glasses? …… .your cell phone? …… where you parked your car? Are we just too busy multi-tasking? Have too much on our minds? … .
    4. 4. The Aging Brain <ul><li>Cognitive abilities - processing speed, memory and reasoning start to decline in our late 20’s. </li></ul><ul><li>The brain’s white matter begins to degrade around age 50. </li></ul><ul><li>After the age of 60 your brain shrinks - .5 percent to 1 percent of its volume each year </li></ul><ul><li>As we age we get better at dealing with the familiar, but worse at dealing with the new. </li></ul><ul><li>Find yourself more forgetful </li></ul><ul><li>It becomes more difficult to process and respond to information </li></ul><ul><li>You have more difficulty reasoning your way through a problem. </li></ul>
    5. 5. What contributes to the decline of our cognitive abilities? <ul><li>High-blood pressure </li></ul><ul><li>Heart Disease </li></ul><ul><li>Stroke </li></ul><ul><li>Diabetes </li></ul><ul><li>Acquired brain trauma </li></ul><ul><li>Chemotherapy </li></ul><ul><li>Dementia </li></ul><ul><li>Alzheimer’s </li></ul><ul><li>Normal aging process </li></ul>
    6. 6. True or False? <ul><li>You can’t teach an old dog new </li></ul><ul><li>tricks. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Answer: False <ul><li>No matter how old you are you can learn a new skill. </li></ul><ul><li>The brain has the capacity to rewire itself at any age - Neuroplasticity </li></ul>
    8. 8. Neuroplasticity <ul><li>The brain is NOT hard-wired </li></ul><ul><li>New brain cells and new neural pathways can form through the end of life </li></ul><ul><li>Challenging your brain creates new brain cells which increase neural connections </li></ul><ul><li>There is no age limit to changing our brain </li></ul><ul><li>Intensive and challenging exercise leads to improvement in brain function. </li></ul>
    9. 9. True or False? <ul><li>Physical exercise is as important for your brain as it is for your body . </li></ul>
    10. 10. Answer: True <ul><li>Through physical exercise you can create brain volume and improve efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>In our society - our levels of physical exercise reduce drastically after we leave school. </li></ul>
    11. 11. What is the Nun Study? <ul><li>One of a kind longitudinal study on aging and Alzheimer's disease. </li></ul><ul><li>Funded by the National Institute on Aging </li></ul><ul><li>Represents the largest brain donor population in the world. </li></ul><ul><li>Researcher – David Snowden – Epidemiologist at University of Kentucky </li></ul>
    12. 12. The Nun Study <ul><li>678 participants – between the ages of 75 and 102. </li></ul><ul><li>Annual assessments - cognitive and physical function, medical exams, blood drawing for genetic and nutritional studies, and brain donation at death for neuropathologic studies. </li></ul><ul><li>All participants have access to the same health care, same living situation and same economic status. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Nun Study <ul><li>The primary research question in the Nun Study </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;What factors in early, mid, and late life increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other brain diseases such as stroke? </li></ul>
    14. 14. Results <ul><li>29 nuns over the age of 90 and 6 over the age of 100, half had full blown Alzheimer's in their brain yet had no outward characteristics of the disease! </li></ul><ul><li>Findings revealed: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Education - higher educated sisters lived longer and were better able to fight off degenerative diseases of dementia and Alzheimer’s. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diet and exercise are linked to healthy aging and longevity. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A positive attitude decreases the risk of age-related problems.. </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. New Findings for a Positive Future <ul><li>“ The New England Journal of Medicine”, - 2003 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Study of adults 75 and older, who danced, read, or played board games or musical instruments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demonstrated a lower rate of dementia. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>University of Washington – 6 year study on 1740 seniors – 65 and older – Regular exercise (walking, hiking, aerobic, bicycling) at least 15 minutes a day for 3 times a week – Results show regular exercise is associated with a delay in onset of dementia and Alzheimer disease.&quot; Exercise decreased the onset of dementia by 32 percent. </li></ul><ul><li>The Alzheimer’s Association recommends any activity that will keep you curious and learning: reading and writing, attending lectures, taking classes, even gardening. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Four Pillars of Brain Health <ul><li>Physical Exercise </li></ul><ul><li>Nutrition </li></ul><ul><li>Stress Relaxation </li></ul><ul><li>Mental Stimulation </li></ul>
    17. 17. How does physical exercise help? <ul><li>Slows down age-related shrinkage of the frontal cortex which is responsible for executive function. </li></ul><ul><li>Exercise improves blood flow, which improves the availability of energy to neurons. </li></ul><ul><li>Helps the body detoxify </li></ul><ul><li>Helps improve cardiovascular health which in turn prevents heart attacks and strokes that can cause brain damage. </li></ul><ul><li>Exercise stimulates the production of proteins called “Growth factors”, which promote the formation and growth of brain cells and synapses </li></ul>
    18. 18. Exercise <ul><li>In 1999, researchers at the University of Illinois found that older people who started exercising showed faster reaction times, better ability to focus. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2006, the same team found that aerobic exercisers actually increased their brain size by about 3 percent. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2007, Columbia University researchers found that when people exercised regularly for three months, blood flow increased to a part of the hippocampus which is important for memory. </li></ul>
    19. 20. Nutritional Tips For Your Brain <ul><li>Eat fish at least once a week </li></ul><ul><li>Boost your antioxidant intake - add blueberries, cocoa, tea, and grapes to your diet daily. </li></ul><ul><li>Have a large salad packed with leafy greens at lunch. </li></ul><ul><li>Lower your saturated fat intake to no more than 10% of total calories. </li></ul><ul><li>Boost your intake of monounsaturated fats such as avocado, olives, oils, nuts, and seeds. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid trans fats </li></ul>
    20. 21. Turning the Clock Back <ul><li>According to researchers – people who eat fish once a week have a 60% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. </li></ul><ul><li>Weekly seafood-based meals may slow cognitive decline by 10% per year—the equivalent of turning back the clock 3 to 4 years. </li></ul>
    21. 22. Bad for your Heart Bad for Your Brain
    22. 23. Five Colors of Brain Food <ul><li>The more colorful your diet, the more antioxidants you get. </li></ul><ul><li>Antioxidants can work together like a team, each boosting the other's effects. </li></ul><ul><li>Yellow/Orange Sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, mango, corn, and melon all contain a variety of carotenoids, which reduce the risk of developing cancer. </li></ul><ul><li>Green Vegetables such as spinach and broccoli are high in lutein, which keeps your vision sharp and clear. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Blue/Purple Blueberries and blackberries are chock-full of anthocyanins, which prevent tumors from forming and suppress their growth. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Red Tomatoes and watermelon are loaded with lycopene, which may protect against cancer and heart disease. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>White Cauliflower offers the same cancer-fighting benefits as broccoli, and potatoes are a good source of vitamin C. Garlic and onions may ward off stomach and colon cancers. </li></ul>
    23. 24. Reduce Stress <ul><li>Stress management is important - stress has been shown to actually kill neurons and reduces the rate of creation of new ones. </li></ul><ul><li>Study - Neuroscientists at Johns Hopkins found that prolonged elevation in stress hormones damages the hippocampus (involves memory and learning) </li></ul>
    24. 25. Stay Connected – Reduces Stress <ul><li>Harvard researchers – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2800 people ages 65 and older - </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Those with at least 5 social connections were less likely to develop cognitive decline than those with no social ties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Community groups </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Work </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Volunteer organizations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Regular visits from family/friends </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Regular phone calls from family/friends </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Social engagements appears to boost people’s sense of control which affects their stress level. </li></ul>
    25. 26. Reducing Stress…Sleep zzzz <ul><li>The root of most sleep problems is stress </li></ul><ul><li>If you go to bed worried, you're probably going to wake up in the middle of the night </li></ul><ul><li>Waking during the night is a problem, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We panic causing our brains to awaken even further. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Check your physical state. Do you have an ache, a cramp, or need to go to the bathroom? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I can handle the disruption and I will still feel rested”. </li></ul></ul>
    26. 27. Tricks to Sleep <ul><li>Establishing any ritual that you do before bed— </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Taking a bath </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sipping a cup of (decaf) tea (anything but checking your e-mail) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The repetition conditions your brain and body for sleep. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Simply sitting in the spot where you do your breathing or turning on the bath water signals your mind that it will be sleeping soon.   </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Try playing off your body's internal clock. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Simulate dusk about an hour before you plan to go to bed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dim the lights significantly. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Triggers natural circadian rhythms that help us prepare for sleep </li></ul></ul>
    27. 28. Stress Management <ul><li>Imagery – practice future oriented thoughts until they become your mindset and you look forward to every new day. </li></ul><ul><li>Meditation - Try to meditate for at least 10 minutes daily </li></ul><ul><li>Yoga – strengthens muscles, calming effects </li></ul><ul><li>Music Therapy – calming effects; lowers blood pressure </li></ul><ul><li>Sleep – allows our bodies to replenish the cerebellum (part of the brain that controls speed and accuracy) and helps strengthen memory recall. </li></ul>
    28. 29. Brain Exercise – Mental Stimulation <ul><li>Improve Memory </li></ul><ul><li>Improve Attention </li></ul><ul><li>Improve Auditory Processing (listening skills) </li></ul><ul><li>Improve Visual-Spatial </li></ul><ul><li>Improve Word retrieval skills </li></ul><ul><li>Improve Speed of Processing </li></ul><ul><li>Improve Concentration </li></ul><ul><li>Improve Reasoning skills </li></ul>
    29. 30. What happens in the brain? <ul><li>When the brain is presented with novel stimuli - </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Requires greater mental effort, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase in focus and thought - </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brain cells gradually increase their activity. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New connections are created </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cells generate more Nerve Growth Factors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase in brain alertness and performance. </li></ul></ul>
    30. 31. Research Based Programs <ul><li>Brain Fitness </li></ul><ul><li>www.positscience.com </li></ul><ul><li>MindFit </li></ul><ul><li>www.mindfit.com </li></ul><ul><li>Cogmed </li></ul><ul><li>www.cogmed.com </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive Metronome </li></ul><ul><li>www.interactivemetronome.com </li></ul>
    31. 32. Brain Fitness Program – Posit Science Computer Program <ul><li>November 2007 – Researchers from the Mayo Clinic and the University of Southern California announced that the “Brain Fitness” program by Posit Science, appears to improve cognitive performance by as much as 10 years . </li></ul>
    32. 33. Brain Fitness Program <ul><li>Six exercises to improve the brain's ability to process, store, and recall speech. </li></ul><ul><li>Adjusts task difficulty in accordance with each user’s progress </li></ul><ul><li>Each exercise challenges and motivates the brain to create neurologic changes </li></ul><ul><li>Consists of 40 one-hour exercises—focuses on listening and attending. </li></ul><ul><li>User wears headphones. No computer experience necessary. Cost $395 or $495 for two users. </li></ul>
    33. 34. Brain Fitness – “Impact Study” <ul><li>524 healthy adults over the age of 75 received one hour a day for 8 – 10 weeks of “Brain Fitness”. </li></ul><ul><li>Results show improvement in memory by 10 years! </li></ul><ul><li>Additional improvements were made in daily life tasks, i.e. remembering names and phone numbers, where they had left their keys, communication abilities and feelings of self-confidence. </li></ul>
    34. 35. CogMed Program <ul><li>Studies published – “Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychological” and “Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry” </li></ul><ul><li>89% of stroke patients who participated in training reported: less distracted, less likely to daydream, less likely to lose focus when reading, and improvements in working memory. </li></ul><ul><li>Exercise - 5 days a week for 5 weeks </li></ul><ul><li>Automatically adjusts difficulty level </li></ul><ul><li>Available only through a provider - $1500 </li></ul>
    35. 36. MindFit Program <ul><li>Based on a variety of perception and memory skills, (visual short-term memory, spatial perception, and response time). </li></ul><ul><li>Progress is constantly measured and adjustments are made to the tasks you are asked to do. </li></ul><ul><li>The first three sessions evaluate your skill level in each area. </li></ul><ul><li>There are 21 customized exercises to challenge 14 different cognitive functions. </li></ul><ul><li>Instructions are both written and spoken, and easy to follow. </li></ul><ul><li>There are 20 different exercises, each with numerous levels of difficulty. </li></ul>
    36. 37. MindFit - Research <ul><li>Study - 121 volunteers over the age of 50 </li></ul><ul><li>First group used MindFit - other group used different computer game </li></ul><ul><li>“ Statistically significant improvement&quot; in spatial short-term memory, spatial learning and focused attention. </li></ul><ul><li>Several versions – Young Drivers, Older Drivers, Chemo-patients </li></ul><ul><li>The downloadable version is $129 and the CD version $139. </li></ul>
    37. 38. Interactive Metronome <ul><li>Auditory/Motor exercises that improve internal clock </li></ul><ul><li>Numerous studies - improved cognitive skills, motor and timing </li></ul><ul><li>Used in healthcare field for Stroke; Parkinson’s; TBI, </li></ul><ul><li>Used in educational field – Reading Disorders; Dyslexia; Math </li></ul><ul><li>12 sessions – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1 – 2 year improvement in cognitive skills – </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Golfers show a 20% improvement in overall gain in shot accuracy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Used with athletes – tennis – soccer - baseball. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Studies show a slow down the progression of Parkinson’s symptoms. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improves cognitive skills for those with Stroke, TBI, PTSD. </li></ul></ul>
    38. 39. Use it….Don’t lose it! – Stimulate Your Brain <ul><li>Keep learning! - a new dance, new hobby, new game Sudoku, Mahjong, Tetris, Chess, crossword puzzles </li></ul><ul><li>Learn a foreign language! </li></ul><ul><li>Do something new each week. Unfamiliar tasks boosts short-term memory and builds up the parts of the brain that encode information. </li></ul><ul><li>Change things up! Eat with your opposite hand; take a different road to work; don’t follow your normal routine! </li></ul><ul><li>Find 15 minutes four times a week to do a variety of mentally stimulating and activities (switch between reading different newspapers, learning a new function on your cell phone). </li></ul><ul><li>Travel and explore new areas – pay attention to the environment. </li></ul><ul><li>Write short stories or keep a journal </li></ul><ul><li>Read the newspaper with a partner and then quiz each other on it </li></ul>
    39. 40. Staying Connected <ul><li>Maintain emotional connections with family and friends. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop and maintain stimulating friendships </li></ul><ul><li>Continually expose yourself to new stimulating activities </li></ul><ul><li>Always try getting out of your comfort zones </li></ul>
    40. 41. Implement 4 pillars of Brain Health <ul><ul><li>Physical Activity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stress management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Balanced Diet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brain Exercise </li></ul></ul>
    41. 42. It’s never too late to reverse bad habits and risky lifestyles
    42. 43. An elderly gentleman in his 90’s, very well dressed and groomed, walks into an upscale cocktail lounge. He sits at the bar beside an attractive woman in her 80’s and says, “So tell me, do I come here often?”.
    43. 44. Books to Read <ul><li>“ The Brain that Changes Itself” – Norman Doidge </li></ul><ul><li>“ A Stroke of Insight” - Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor </li></ul><ul><li>“ Welcome to Your Brain” by Sandra Aamodt. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Aging with Grace” by David Snowden </li></ul>
    44. 45. THANK YOU!

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