Tag Archives: memory

Turmeric compound could boost memory and mood

I have eaten and enjoyed Indian food back in the late 1970’s when I lived in London and didn’t eat meat. Those days are long gone, but I do keep hearing good things about turmeric. Here is a nice rundown from Medical News Today on it.

Not a lover of Indian food? A new study might change your mind. Researchers have found that a compound in turmeric — the spice that gives curry its golden color — could help to improve the mood and memory of older adults.

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Turmeric has been linked to a wealth of health benefits. Last year, for example, Medical News Today reported on a study suggesting that turmeric could help to treat pancreatic cancer, while other research claims the popular spice may help to treat stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. Continue reading

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Everyday habits can bolster your memory muscles – Harvard

Regular readers know that I have had several members of my family, or both sides, suffer from dementia in general or Alzheimer’s in particular. So, being a guy in his late 70’s I am particularly sensitive to any kind of cognitive kinks that I may be experiencing. I don’t know if it is my imagination or there are simply more people coming on board the cognitive improvement movement. Herewith, Harvard Healthbeat on tips for strengthening your memory.

Your daily habits and lifestyle — what you eat and drink, whether you exercise, how stressed you are, and more — affect your mental health every bit as much as your physical health. A growing body of research indicates that regular exercise and a healthful diet can help protect your memory from aging-related decline. (my emphasis)

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Exercise

Physical fitness and mental fitness go together. People who exercise regularly tend to stay mentally sharp into their 70s, 80s, and beyond. Although the precise “dose” of exercise isn’t known, research suggests that the exercise should be moderate to vigorous and regular. Examples of moderate exercise include brisk walking, stationary bicycling, water aerobics, and competitive table tennis. Vigorous activities include jogging, high-impact aerobic dancing, square dancing, and tennis.

Exercise helps memory in several ways. It reduces the risk of developing several potentially memory-robbing conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. Exercise is good for the lungs, and people who have good lung function send more oxygen to their brains. There is some evidence that exercise helps build new connections between brain cells and improves communication between them. Finally, exercise has been linked to increased production of neurotrophins, substances that nourish brain cells and help protect them against damage from stroke and other injuries.

 

Here are some ways to build physical activity into your daily routine:

Walk instead of driving when possible.

Set aside time each day for exercise. For extra motivation, ask your spouse or a friend to join you.

Use the stairs instead of the elevator.

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6 Ways to a better memory – Infographic

When I was in the working world, my memory was constantly being tested. Now that I am retired my memory concerns have morphed. Being a senior citizen, I feel more aware of and am more concerned about my memory for non-professional, but very personal, reasons. I have suffered from senior moments ever since I was in my fifties. I hope that is all they are and not a prelude to any serious cognitive situations. I thought this little infographic on building up your memory might be useful to you no matter what your age is.

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A salad a day may keep memory problems away – Study

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, perhaps we finally have a follow up for seniors worried about slippage in cognition.

Eating about one serving per day of green, leafy vegetables may be linked to a slower rate of brain aging, according to a study published in the December 20, 2017, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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The study found that people who ate at least one serving of green, leafy vegetables a day had a slower rate of decline on tests of memory and thinking skills than people who never or rarely ate these vegetables. The difference between the two groups was the equivalent of being 11 years younger in age, according to study author Martha Clare Morris, ScD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. (my emphasis)

“Adding a daily serving of green, leafy vegetables to your diet may be a simple way to foster your brain health,” said Morris. “Projections show sharp increases in the percentage of people with dementia as the oldest age groups continue to grow in number, so effective strategies to prevent dementia are critical.” Continue reading

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Good every day habits to keep your memory in good shape – Harvard

As a senior citizen, I am aware of the aging process going on in both my body and my brain. I exercise to help preserve both. Here are some super suggestions from Harvard HEALTHbeat on bolstering the memory aspect of your brain.

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Your daily habits and lifestyle — what you eat and drink, whether you exercise, how stressed you are, and more — affect your mental health every bit as much as your physical health. A growing body of research indicates that regular exercise and a healthful diet can help protect your memory from aging-related decline. Continue reading

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Another Favorite – Visual Mind Games

At the risk or appearing like I am selling out on my idea of protecting my brain by exercising regularly, I would like to suggest this fun pastime as an additional line of defense against cognitive impairment.

I wrote this for another blog I write occasionally and thought it would be of interest to you. I know a lot of folks are doing adult coloring books these days for relaxation. I thought these puzzles would be a nice step up that could be more challenging to the imagination.

Tony

Willing Wheeling

I ran across these at an art fair years ago. They are wonderful brightly colored shapes that you get to remake into various geometric visions. You can see more at the website of Kadon Enterprises, Inc. Kadon says that the creation of tiling patterns is an ancient and still very popular art form and recreation. “In quilting designs, floor tiles and wallpaper patterns, we find geometric shapes that fit together in attractive, usually symmetrical arrangements.”

There is a wonderful brochure that comes with each puzzle that explains some of the relationships between the angles and gets into the math of it.

Although I have only pictured two, I hope you can see how multi-faceted this is. I spend many happy hours exploring this and many of their other puzzles.

I used these two shots so you could see the simplest variation. The tiles are acrylic and fit into place perfectly.

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Exercise can boost your memory and thinking skills

Eat less; move more; live longer. That is the mantra of this blog. moving more keeps the organic machines we know as our bodies in tip top shape. As it turns out exercise is also good for the old cabeza.

Moderate-intensity exercise can help improve your thinking and memory in just six months.

You probably already know that exercising is necessary to preserve muscle strength, keep your heart strong, maintain a healthy body weight, and stave off chronic diseases such as diabetes. But exercise can also help boost your thinking skills. “There’s a lot of science behind this,” says Dr. Scott McGinnis, an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School.

Exercise boosts your memory and thinking skills both directly and indirectly. It acts directly on the body by stimulating physiological changes such as reductions in insulin resistance and inflammation, along with encouraging production of growth factors — chemicals that affect the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance, survival, and overall health of new brain cells.

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It also acts directly on the brain itself. Many studies have suggested that the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory are larger in volume in people who exercise than in people who don’t. “Even more exciting is the finding that engaging in a program of regular exercise of moderate intensity over six months or a year is associated with an increase in the volume of selected brain regions,” says Dr. McGinnis. Continue reading

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5 Ways to keep your memory sharp – Harvard

Regular readers know that I am a senior citizen; will be 77 in January. So, I have a lot of senior friends. We have all experienced ‘senior moments’ when we find our memory becoming slightly elusive. Because my family has had Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia I am particularly sensitive to any brain stuff. So I was impressed with the suggestions that Harvard brought forward regarding enhancing our memory.

The way you live, what you eat and drink, and how you treat your body can affect your memory just as much as your physical health and well-being. Here are five things you can do every day to keep both your mind and body sharp.

1. Manage your stress. The constant drumbeat of daily stresses such as deadline pressures or petty arguments can certainly distract you and affect your ability to focus and recall. But the bigger problem is an ongoing sense of anxiety — that can lead to memory impairment. If you don’t have a strategy in place for managing your stress, protecting your memory is one reason to get one. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and a “mindful” approach to living can all help.

I have posted a number of times on stress. You can find them by searching s t r e s s in the box at the right. If you want one excellent example check out: Super tools for handling stress.

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9 Reasons To Eat Honey Daily

I was lucky enough to be exposed to some of these facts about honey years ago. Been using it ever since.

Honey

Tony

Our Better Health

 The possible health benefits of honey have been documented in early Greek, Roman, Vedic, and Islamic texts and healing qualities of honey were referred to by philosophers and scientists all the way back to ancient times, such as Aristotle (384-322 BC) and Aristoxenus (320 BC). – Joseph Nordqvist, Medical News Daily
For something that tastes so good, honey isn’t consumed all that often. Besides being delicious, honey is also densely packed with valuable nutrition, such as nutrients. Honey is also quite healthy: a tablespoon of raw, unadulterated honey contains 64 calories, and is free from cholesterol, fat, and sodium.
The ideal nutritional composition of honey almost assuredly helps give the natural sweeter its health-promoting properties. Here, we’re going to discuss nine such health benefits of this sweet nectar.

HERE ARE NINE AMAZING HEALTH BENEFITS OF HONEY:

1. RELIEVES ALLERGIES
Honey has anti-inflammatory properties that many believe can help with reducing…

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“Super-aging” seniors retain healthy memory abilities – Study

Because I have both Alzheimer’s and dementia in my family, I am extremely sensitive to this kind of news about the aging brain and memory. Check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) to read further.

Some loss of memory is often considered an inevitable part of aging, but new research reveals how some people appear to escape that fate. A study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators examines a remarkable group of older adults whose memory performance is equivalent to that of younger individuals and finds that certain key areas of their brains resemble those of young people.

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The study published in The Journal of Neuroscience is the first step in a research program aimed at understanding how some older adults retain youthful thinking abilities and the brain circuits that support those abilities. The program is led by Bradford Dickerson, MD, director of the Frontotemporal Disorders Unit in the MGH Department of Neurology and Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, MGH Department of Psychiatry, who are co-senior authors of the new study.

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080816 Protect your memory by staying at a healthy weight

Regular readers know that I feel strongly about maintaining my mental powers as I age because my direct blood line has three cases of Alzheimer’s or dementia. So this is clearly good information.

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I am not a big fan of BMI for an indicator of fatness, but most people are able to work out whether they are overweight or not.

Besides the eating suggestions offered, I would like to direct your attention to my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits).

Tony

Explosivelyfit Strength Training

080816 Protect your memory by staying at a healthy weight

New research recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found a link between weight and memory loss in older women. An analysis of data gathered from 8,745 women, aged 65-79, showed no signs of dementia at the beginning of this study. Things changed.

Throughout the study, periodic body mass index (BMI) measurements were taken on the participants.

The researchers found that for every increase in the BMI unit, memory loss also increased when measured from the memory test. This is not unexpected.

Clearly, from all the scientific studies conducted over the years, there is a direct link between excess body fat and heart disease. The fact is that for every risk for cardiovascular disease there is also a risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, the findings were not inconsistent with other data gathered relating to weight gain, cardiovascular…

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7 Steps to Smarter Coffee Drinking – Infographic

First of all, bike riders are notorious coffee drinkers. Although I ride a bike plenty, I am not one of the caffeine crazies. However, I did just write a post on cold-brewed coffee. My daily consumption comes to little more than two cups a day. Draw your own conclusions. I just ran across this infographic and thought it had a lot of good information on the subject.

Here’s a fun little caffeine fact: Caffeine was on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) list of prohibited substances for many years. Athletes who tested positive for more than 12 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of urine could be banned from the Olympic Games. This level can be reached after drinking about 5 cups of coffee. However, the IOC REMOVED caffeine from the banned list in 2004. Caffeine was taken off of the list of banned substances so that athletes who drink cola or coffee are not penalized.

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Tony

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Does Eating Fish Help Memory?

A diet lacking in omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients commonly found in fish, may cause your brain to age faster and lose some of its memory and thinking abilities, according to a study published in the print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“People with lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids had lower brain volumes that were equivalent to about two years of structural brain aging,” said study author Zaldy S. Tan, MD, MPH, of the Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research and the Division of Geriatrics, University of California at Los Angeles.

For the study, 1,575 people with an average age of 67 and free of dementia underwent MRI brain scans. They were also given tests that measured mental function, body mass and the omega-3 fatty acid levels in their red blood cells.

SelfNutrition Data lists the following foods as high in Omega-3 fatty acids: In order of importance: based on 200 calorie serving:
Flaxseed oil is the highest with 12,059 mg.
Flax seeds have 8,543 mg.
Fish oil, salmon contains 7828 mg.
Chia seeds yields 7164 mg.
Agutuk, fish with shortening has 6851 mg.
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Physical Activity Improves Memory in Seniors – Boston University Study

There are few things more gratifying than seeing some authoritative source come out with findings that confirm something that I have been saying for some time. Just two days ago I posted Does Prevagen Really Improve Memory?

This was my attempt to protect innocent senior citizens who might have experienced senior moments and feared they had to run to the drugstore and buy this drug to protect their aging brains.

Also, check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits).

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Now comes this press release from Boston University:

“Could staying physically active improve quality of life by delaying cognitive decline and prolonging an independent lifestyle? A new study has found that older adults who take more steps either by walking or jogging perform better on memory tasks than those who are more sedentary.

“The study examines the relationship between physical activity, memory and cognition in young and old adults. It appears online in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

“The study included 29 young adults (ages 18-31) and 31 older adults (ages 55-82) who wore a small device called an ActiGraph, which recorded information including how many steps each took, how vigorous the steps were and how much time it involved.

Participants also completed neuropsychological testing to assess their memory, planning and problem-solving abilities. In addition to standardized neuropsychological tasks of executive function (planning and organization abilities) and long-term memory, participants engaged in a laboratory task in which they had to learn face-name associations.

“The researchers found that older adults who took more steps per day had better memory performance. The association between the number of steps taken was strongest with a task that required recalling which name went with a person’s face—the same type of everyday task that older adults often have difficulty with. In young adults, the number of steps taken was not associated with memory performance.

“According to the researchers these findings demonstrate that the effects of physical activity extend to long-term memory—the same type of memory that is negatively impacted by aging and neurodegenerative dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease. ‘’Our findings that physical activity is positively associated with memory is appealing for a variety of reasons. Everyone knows that physical activity is a critical component to ward off obesity and cardiovascular-related disease. Knowing that a lack of physical activity may negatively impact one’s memory abilities will be an additional piece of information to motivate folks to stay more active,” explained corresponding author Scott Hayes, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and the Associate Director of the Neuroimaging Research for Veterans Center at the VA Boston Healthcare System. Continue reading

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Does Prevagen Really Improve Memory?

I keep seeing ads for this so-called healthy brain drug PREVAGEN on the Weather Channel.

I need to preface this with a little background. I have had at least three family members die with Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia. I am going to be 76 years old next month, so you can bet I really care about my brain continuing to function at its current high level.

What about those Prevagen ads that promise, as it says on the package, “Improves memory, Supports Healthy Brain function, Sharper Mind, Clearer Thinking”?

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Sounds great if you are a senior like me – and there are millions of us. The baby boomers are all ready for a brain tune up.  Everyone who has ever suffered from a senior moment is a ripe prospect for this stuff. Cha-ching. That was the sound of a cash register.

My own first reaction was, “This is crap. They are trying to prey on the worst fears of us seniors.”

Here is what ConsumerLab.com says about Prevagen, “According to the company’s website, people who use people Prevagen (Quincy Bioscience) can “experience improved memory, a sharper mind, and clearer thinking. Unfortunately, no peer-reviewed studies have been published to back up these claims. In addition, the FDA has warned Quincy Bioscience in the past against claiming Prevagen could treat conditions such as head injuries and Alzheimer’s disease and for failing to report adverse reactions. The FDA has also claimed that the key ingredient, apoaequorin, a synthetic protein, is not an acceptable ingredient in a dietary supplement. “

As far back as 2012, MyAdvocates had a blog entry on the FDA issuing a warning letter that “accused the company of not reporting to the government “adverse events like seizures, strokes, and worsening symptoms of multiple sclerosis that had been reported to your firm as being associated with the use of Prevagen products.” Reports about the supplement to the company have also included chest pain, tremors, fainting and other serious symptoms, the FDA says.

So, my first reaction wasn’t too far afield.

But wait, seniors, don’t give up hope. I have addressed this problem numerous times on the blog. Please check out my Page – Important Facts About your Brain ( and Exercise Benefits).

Additionally, I would like to recommend the book Spark,  The revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain by John J. Ratey, M.D.

Finally, for those seniors who are doing crosswords and sudoku puzzles to stave off memory loss, check out – Exercise, not just Sudoku for Seniors.

Prevagen is a drug not a vitamin for the brain. I think you are always going to be better off if you try to better your situation naturally rather than with pills.

Eat less; move more; live longer. Words to live by.

Tony

 

 

 

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Green Tea May Enhance Working Memory – Tufts

At the risk or repeating myself, I am committed to learning everything I can about my brain and keeping said brain functioning well into my senior years. At the age of 75 I consider myself to be there now.  Additionally, I am also a green tea drinker and I support your consuming it. At the end of this post I will list some links to connect with previous green tea posts.

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A small clinical trial suggests that green tea could improve the connectivity between parts of the brain involved in tasks of “working memory.” You might think of working memory as the brain’s sticky notes, where bits of information are temporarily held for manipulation before forgetting or transferring to long-term memory.

Previous studies have linked green tea – especially a polyphenol compound found in green tea called EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) – to structural benefits against the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Green tea may also benefit neuronal plasticity – the brain’s ability to adapt to new inputs – and repair injuries to the brain’s neurons associated with aging.

Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Antioxidants Research Laboratory, notes, “These findings are consistent with results from a similar clinical trial previously conducted by the same group, and also with basic research which indicates that EGCG can promote biochemical pathways in brain neurons that reduce oxidative stress and promote cell survival.”
All forms of tea have been associated with health benefits. But because green tea is minimally processed, from un-oxidized tea leaves, it is rich in certain types of antioxidant compounds.

YOUR BRAIN ON TEA: In the latest study, Swiss researchers tested the effects of a milk whey-based soft drink containing 27.5 grams of green tea extract (equivalent to about two cups of brewed green tea) against a placebo. The healthy young male volunteers were then faced with a battery of working-memory tasks. While they tackled the tasks, the men’s brains were monitored using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Participants who had been given the beverage containing green-tea extract showed increased connectivity between the brain’s right superior parietal lobe and the frontal cortex. This effect on connectivity within the brain coincided with improvements in actual cognitive performance on the working-memory exercises.

“Our findings suggest that green tea might increase the short-term synaptic plasticity of the brain,” said Stefan Borgwardt, MD, PhD, of the University of Basel. The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Psychopharmacology, added that the findings provide insights into the mechanism of how green tea might affect working-memory processing.

For more information on maintaining cognitive function, download Guide to Eating Right to Avoid Cognitive Decline from Tufts’ Health & Nutrition Letter.

Following are previous posts I have written on Green Tea:

Green Tea Boosts Your Brain

Green Tea Helps to Fight Flu

Green Tea for St. Patrick’s Day and Every day

Dr. Oz and Chia Seeds and Green Tea.

Tony

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