Saturday, July 20, 2013

Helpful Tips for a Better Memory

     The latest issue of AARP has an article called "Is My Memory Normal?"  The author, Lisa Davis, says she wasn't sure if she was just distracted, "losing her marbles, or both."  So she checked into the Neurology Institute for Brain Health and Fitness near Baltimore.  Even though she's still in her 50's, Lisa was concerned over forgetting about a dinner party that a friend had thrown for her.  She wondered if early Alzheimer's was setting in.

     Nearly 5.4 million people suffer from Alzheimer's, and the number is likely to triple by 2050.  The clinic that Lisa went to is run by Majid Fotuhi, a neurologist.  His patients get a "brain fitness" program to "prevent problems or to fix them."

     In recent years, studies have shown that being overweight doubles the risk for Alzheimer's.  Also, a wide range of illnesses, from depression to sleeplessness, can have an impact on brain health.

     Lisa's evaluation began with a memory test.  She was asked to name as many words as she could beginning with the letter "b" in 60 seconds, then they moved on to other letters.  Next, she took a stress test on a stationary bike, to see how her cardiovascular system was feeding her brain.

     According to Arthur Kramer of the University of Illinois, exercise is one of the best gifts you can give your brain, which is actually a muscle!

     Here are some tips for a better memory:

  • Learn something -- take a class, learn a new skill
  • Sleep -- get at least 6 hours of sleep a night
  • Eat right -- plenty of fish, nuts, olive oil.  A 2009 Columbia University study showed that this wards off Alzheimer's disease.
  • Challenge yourself -- memorize three names a day suggests Majid Fotuhi, M.D.
  • Walk with a friend and have a mentally stimulating conversation
  • Meditate -- here is a quick method:  inhale for 7, exhale for 7, repeat 7 times.
     One other thing helps:  be happy!  Do something nice for yourself everyday.  Here's to good brain health!

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