Saturday, May 23, 2015

Brain Health

As the longevity of our life span continues to increase, maintaining our cognitive health has become more important for the quality of life we want to enjoy.  Research has found that our brain continues to build cells at any age. Learning new skills such as a language, knitting, dancing or even how to change the oil of your car can help protect the brain from developing Alzheimer’s or dementia. Physical activity is also important to maintain a healthy brain as 25% of the blood from each heart beat is utilized by the brain.
The brain
Dr. Paul Nussbaum clinical neuropsychologist who specializes in aging across the lifespan and brain health states, “Our identity, our hopes, our emotions, everything we love comes from this amazing organ that weighs between two and four pounds, the greatest miracle ever designed.” Dr. Nussbaum has developed several games that challenge the cognition and determine what areas of the brain may need more stimulation to maintain cognitive health.
Research from Current Biology reports that the working memory training that they have established with mice seems to have increased their intelligence. They trained mice on a task that exercised working memory and attention. The mice displayed improvement on general cognitive function when compared to mice with no training. This experiment has proven that the brain is highly adaptable and can be improved with training. They are hoping that further research will give them more insight on how to help the Alzheimer’s patient.
Brain Care
The brain needs to be stimulated with socialization, learning, appropriate nutrition, physical and sexual activity. The brain should be fed a steady diet of foods with Omega-3 fatty acids and high in anti-oxidants such as blueberries and spinach. This nutrition will keep the brain processing at a rapid speed. High levels of stress can be harmful to the brain. Practicing meditation, Yoga, and visualization are all excellent ways to learn how to manage stress levels. Reducing stress and stress hormones in your system is critical to the care of your brain.
Oliver Sacks MD professor of neurology and psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center believes music can be very healing for the brain. In his book Musicophilia he explores the mystery of the human mind and interaction with music.  “Music can animate people with Parkinson’s disease who couldn’t otherwise move, give words to stroke patients who can’t otherwise speak and calm and organize people who memories are ravaged by Alzheimer’s,” states Dr. Sacks. Music has been found to work when medication is ineffective because it engages so many parts of the brain. Keeping your brain healthy can be part of your daily lifestyle as you work to balance the needs of mind, body and spirit.



Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Honor the Women in Your Life

Every spring we celebrate Mother’s Day to honor the special women in our lives. It is an annual event to acknowledge the woman or memory of women who nurtured us into adulthood. The traditional gifts are usually given of flowers, cards, candy and homemade crafts in celebration of the day. Mother’s Day shouldn’t be exclusive to those women who raised or gave birth to a child. It should extend to honor all women past and present who have contributed to our lives.
This Mother’s Day try to spend some time thinking of the women who have touched your life as a teacher or mentor. She may have been in your family or someone who just exposed you to the passion you now experience in your career. This woman gave a part of herself so that you will carry and share that knowledge into future generations. Taking the time to let that special person know how significant she made you feel is something that any woman would treasure. 
Celebrate women
Women today have many roles to fulfill in the family as wife, mother, sister, aunt, granddaughter or grandmother. They have worked hard to break through previous stereotypes and cultural restrictions to pursue any career they chose. This journey has been a struggle for many women who are mothers, due to feelings of guilt or inadequacy as they learned to balance their varied responsibilities in these roles.
No matter how many trials or struggles you’ve experienced in your life journey, you can still celebrate or honor women who have nurtured you. Celebrate their life by planting a tree or inviting them over for dinner with your family. Share your accomplishments and let her know how she contributed to your success. Donate money to her favorite charity or just take the time to call and let her know that she made a difference in your life. Sharing that important fact with her will make Mother’s Day feel very special indeed.