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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.