Spotlight on Brain News, #1

By: Dr. Deborah Gordon, April 16, 2018

Have you noticed that it seems everyone is talking about the brain? Talk shows, human interest articles and medical research pop up in our newspapers and online newsfeeds on a regular basis. Every week there are new findings, new hopes, and of course, some bad news as well. Northwest Memory Center will help you sort through the news, both the promising and the disappointing, with a particular focus on what you need to know.  Let’s get started.

Sitting not so safe?  ScienceDaily is a great source for scanning the news, and there is new information about the brain. A recent article suggests a new twist on “exercise for your brain.” We have learned many times that regular exercise has a positive effect on brain health, starting in middle age and continuing throughout life. We have also heard that “sitting is the new smoking” because long periods of sitting, without interruption, are associated with increased risks of heart disease and diabetes. In the new study, researchers at UCLA wanted to study the connection between risky sitting and our brains. They relied on a high resolution MRI scan (which your physician at Northwest Memory Center will also order for your brain) to see just which part of the brain is affected. Routine MRI’s are great for identifying abnormal growths or changes in the brain; high resolution MRI’s are necessary to evaluate the degree of shrinking or loss in particular areas of the brain. In this study, researchers found that among 35 people, ages 45-75, those who spent the most time sitting, had shrinking of the brain in the medial temporal lobe. This is not an area specifically associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but it can be a precursor to cognitive decline in general. The study is a good reminder that we need all parts of our brain to be as full and healthy as possible and we can help keep our brains full by standing, walking, and exercising to break up long periods of sitting.

Parade on Alzheimer’s prevention. Does your newspaper include the Parade section? The recent feature article on preventing Alzheimer’s was also online here. What’s good in the article is the understanding that diet and lifestyle contribute to brain health and the process of affecting the brain starts decades before most of us begin to worry about our brain function. The article describes a clinic that offers one of the important services also featured at Northwest Memory Center: the “cognoscopy” according to Dr. Dale Bredesen. A comprehensive look at lifestyle, genetics, blood markers and current cognitive abilities can help you see if you are at any significant risk of Alzheimer’s and direct activities that can reduce the risk. If you are unable to come to our offices for an evaluation, remember that you can do a lot of work on your own, which you can read about in the Do It Yourself series on brain health that starts with DIY Memory Health: Part 1 of 3. The article links to a feature that relies on the new book Genius Foods by Max Lugavere. If you want to see what foods he considers crucial for your brain, click on the Launch Gallery button on that page. I would not have put almonds first, but I like the other foods. 

What about you, are you eating Genius Foods? Have you stood up from your chair and found a way to read this article while standing or walking!

Let us know if you have more brain news you want to share or ask us about!