Archive for October, 2010

Trouble remembering names?

Posted on October 1, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

How to preserve and enhance cognition and brain function
Sometimes around 60 or older most people notice they don’t remember names like they used to. Often they can remember many details about an acquaintance they are seeing after a gap in time but the name doesn’t come right away. At 74, this is a major frustration for me.
Stimulated by my poor name memory, I have done some research in this area. The sad fact is that our mental or cognitive ability peaks at about age 25 and then declines about 1% per year thereafter. Thankfully our experience and wisdom compensates and most appear to gain intelligence through much of adult life. IQ testing does not capture all of our cognitive abilities but if it did, one could say that the average college graduate’s IQ declines about 40 points by age 70. Cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge, including aspects such as awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment.
Physical activity is the best way of preserving our brain function. Countless studies indicate that those people who are physically active maintain cognitive ability better than couch potatoes. Probably it requires walking about 2 miles daily or spending about 40 minutes doing physical activity daily to preserve cognition. Several bouts of aerobic activity, where your heart rate gets up to about 120-130 beats per minute, weekly probably are required. Other things that help preserve cognition are eating a healthy diet that includes generous amounts of fruit (4 servings/day), vegetables (4 servings/day), and whole grains (3 servings/day). Eating fish or taking 2 fish oil daily capsules also help. Being socially active and doing mental gymnastics such as crossword puzzles also are protective from cognitive loss.
What appears to accelerate loss of brain function? Cigarette smoking, watching more than 2 hours of television daily, high animal fat intake from red meat, processed meat, and high fat dairy products and obesity are associated with more rapid decline in brain function.
Your health is in your hands. At any age after 25 you can begin the process of staying mentally alert and preserving your short term memory by exercising regularly, eating healthily, not smoking, and remaining socially active. These activities stimulate growth of new brain cells, enhance the connections between cells in the brain, and preserve the vital brain hormones, messengers and connections.
Please give me your comments and suggestions.
Jim Anderson

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