How to improve cognitive function

It’s possible that you already know that brain health is an important aspect of cognitive function. The brain controls all the cognitive skills we use to think, remember and communicate. It also houses our emotions and manages information from the senses. But what can we do to maintain brain health? There are many things! In this blog post, we will discuss different ways you can improve your cognitive function and keep your brain healthy for years to come!

What daily habits improve brain structure and cognitive function?

cognitive functioning

Physical activity

Last year, Boston University School of Medicine researchers announced new findings that physical activity is good for brain health and cognitive function. Certain hormones in the blood increase during exercise, suggesting that they might help boost memory. The researchers were able to link hormone levels in the blood with aerobic training and demonstrate how exercise enhances memory performance.

In 2013, researchers from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School published research revealing that during endurance activities, a specific molecule is released that improves cognitive function and protects the brain against deterioration.

The researchers zeroed in on a particular molecule called irisin, which is produced during endurance exercises by a chain reaction in the brain. It’s been suggested that irisin has a neuroprotective effect. The scientists also managed to artificially boost blood levels of irisin, which led to an increase in genes involved in learning and memory activation.

Research published in 2013 looked at the link between a child’s cardiovascular system, motor skills, and academic test scores. The researchers discovered that poor motor skills corresponded with lower reading and arithmetic test grades in first-graders. Children with superior physical fitness and motor skills had larger cognitive abilities and better outcomes in reading and arithmetic tests in all areas

Openness to experience

taps multiple cognitive abilities

In 2013, a study called “The Influence of Prolonged Engagement on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: The Synapse Project” revealed that retaining an active social network while learning new and demanding talents is critical to maintaining a healthy mind in old age.

The study also revealed that less demanding activities, such as listening to classical music or simply solving crossword puzzles, do not appear to provide significant cognitive benefits. Older people have been advised for a long time to stay active, strain their memory, and learn like any other muscle they need to “use or lose.”

“It appears that it’s not enough to just go out and do anything — it’s crucial to do something new and intellectually demanding, which provides broad mental stimulation. It gives you the opportunity to meet more people and learn more things,” says lead researcher Denise Park from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Separate research published in 2012 found that a training program to enhance cognitive skills in older people also enhanced their openness to new experiences, suggesting for the first time that non-drug intervention in seniors can alter a personality trait that had previously been thought fixed. during their existence.

Curiosity and creativity

According to a 2013 research from the State of Michigan, being involved in arts and crafts as a youngster promotes innovation, patents, and boosts the chances of establishing a business later in life. People who own businesses or patents were found to be eight times more likely to get acquainted with art in childhood than other individuals, according to researchers.

“The most fascinating finding was the necessity of continuous participation in these events,” said Rex Lamore, director of Moscow State University’s Center for Social and Economic Development. “You are more likely to be an inventor if you started as a kid and continued through adulthood, based on the number of patents obtained, businesses established, or articles published. And that was something we were taken aback by.”

Neuroscientists have found that music training can enhance the functioning and communication of several brain regions, as well as enhance cognitive functions, in recent years. Playing a musical instrument increases the volume of the brain and improves connections between various areas.

Playing a musical instrument transforms how the brain understands and integrates a wide range of sensory information, especially if people begin playing before the age of seven. The findings were presented at Neuroscience 2013 in San Diego, California.

The updated research was described by three different presentations at the convention by Dr. Gottfried Schlaug of Harvard Medical School during a press conference. He stated, “These concepts have important implications for the use of music learning as a tool in education and for the treatment of a variety of learning difficulties.”

Reading novels, writing, and engaging in brain-stimulating tasks at any age can help you remember, according to 2013 research. Reading a novel has been shown by neuroscientists to enhance certain areas of brain function. The journal Brain Connectivity published the results of this study on the advantages of reading fiction for the mind at Emory University.

Romance stimulates the brain’s ability to communicate and work more effectively, according to researchers. Reading fiction has been discovered by studies to boost a person’s capacity to put themselves in the shoes of someone else and bend their imagination in a comparable way that an athlete would while mentally rehearse a movement.

“Our study shows that engaging in such sports throughout a person’s life, from birth to old age, is critical for brain health in old age,” concluded co-author Robert S. Wilson.

Social connections

mood disorders

In 2014, John Cacioppo from the University of Chicago published findings suggesting that loneliness can cause a decline in psychological and cognitive performance.

Feeling cut off from others has been shown to disrupt sleep, raise blood pressure, trigger cortisol’s early rise, change gene expression in immune cells, and increase depression. All of these things combined to interfere with the brain’s optimal functioning and communication as well as lower cognitive abilities.

Mindfulness meditation

According to a 2013 pilot study conducted by researchers at Harvard Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, brain changes linked with meditation and stress reduction might help to slow the development of age-related cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

“We were particularly interested in studying the default mode network (DMN) – a brain system that is activated, for example, when individuals recall past events or imagine the future – and the hippocampus, which is one of the brain’s structures,” said first author Rebecca Erwin Wells. “It is responsible for emotions, learning, and memory since research has shown that as people progress with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease, their hippocampi shrink.”We also know that as people age, there is a link between stress and Alzheimer’s disease, so we wanted to see if meditation can help us reduce stress. ”

Brain-training games

According to a 2013 study published in the journal Nature, scientists are starting to comprehend the precise mechanisms by which electrical impulses induce a chain reaction of learning and memory changes in neural circuits. Researchers at Tel Aviv University determined in 2013 that a “stimulant-rich” environment and problem-solving puzzles might help some individuals avoid or postpone Alzheimer’s disease.

A team of researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has developed a video game that can assist older people in increasing their mental abilities, such as multitasking. In 2013, Adam Gazzali of UCSF and his colleagues published their findings in Nature magazine.

In 2014, researchers at Johns Hopkins University claimed that just 10 sessions of cognitive training improved reasoning skills and information processing speed in older people for up to ten years after the intervention. If someone received further “booster” sessions during the following three years, the gains were even more significant.

Get enough sleep

According to researchers, sleep is necessary for the brain to consolidate learning and memory. Researchers from Brown University have revealed a ground-breaking new research that explains how the sleeping brain handles a new activity at the annual meeting of the Society of Neurology in San Diego this year.

“This is a challenging mental activity intended to solidify learning, so the brain may benefit from sleep since more energy is available or because there are fewer distractions and new inputs,” according to Yuka Sasaki of Brown University, one of the study’s authors. Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences at Brown University

“Sleep is not worth your time,” Yuka Sasaki concludes. The brain’s reorganization while sleeping is evident by the various roles that two brain wave frequencies seem to play. According to the researchers, “rapid sigma oscillations appear to be involved in changes within the SMA, whereas delta oscillations seem to control modifications in connections between the SMA and other areas of the cortex.”

Poor sleep quality was linked to decreased gray matter volume in the frontal lobe of the brain, which aids in important functions such as working memory and executive functions, according to a 2014 study from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

“Sleep issues have been linked to structural brain changes in certain regions of the frontal lobe in previous imaging research,” stated lead author Linda Chao. “The amazing thing about this research is that it finds that poor sleep quality is linked with a loss of gray matter volume not just in specific areas, but throughout the frontal lobe, as well as the entire brain.”

Reduce risks to cognitive health

cognitive decline

Cognitive health is influenced by genes, the environment, and lifestyle choices. Some of these factors may be involved in thought process deterioration and the ability to complete basic activities such as driving a car, paying bills, taking medicines, and preparing meals.

Many environmental and lifestyle factors may be altered or regulated to reduce the danger. These elements include:

  • Physical and Mental Health Problems
  • Brain injuries, for example, as a result of falls or accidents.
  • Some medications or misuse of medications
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Poor nutrition
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Sleep problems
  • Social isolation and loneliness

Physical and mental health problems

cognitive decline

There are a number of health problems that can affect the brain and jeopardize cognitive function. The following diseases are some examples:

  • High blood pressure and heart diseases, such as cardiomyopathy, can cause stroke and brain vessel abnormalities that can result in dementia.
  • Diabetes damages blood vessels throughout the body, including in the brain, and raises the risk of stroke and heart attack. It also poses a greater risk of
  • The brain undergoes significant changes as a result of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, which results in memory loss and other cognitive issues.
  • A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked or slowed, causing part of the brain to die. This can damage blood vessels in the brain
  • Dementia can be induced by depression, which is linked to memory loss and other cognitive symptoms.
  • Delirium is a kind of mental illness characterized by changes in attention, memory, thinking and behavior that are abnormal. During a hospital stay, it

It is critical to address or prevent these illnesses. They not only affect your brain, but they also have a negative influence on your body. Treating additional problems can aid in the prevention or delay of cognitive decline and mental issues.

Brain injuries

Older individuals are more likely to fall, get into car accidents, and suffer from other incidents that can result in brain damage. Alcohol and certain medicines might impair a person’s ability to drive safely as well as raise the risk of collisions and brain injuries. Learn about the dangers of falls and participate in fall prevention programs. To avoid head injuries, wear helmets

Medicines

Some medicines and drug combinations can have an impact on a person’s mental processes. For example, some of them might cause elderly people to become confused, forgetful, see things that aren’t there, or experience delirium.

Medications may also react with meals, nutritional supplements, alcohol, and other substances. Some of these interactions can have an impact on how your brain works.

Lack of physical activity

Inactivity, in particular, has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, depression, and stroke — all of which can harm the brain. Physical activity has been linked in some studies to enhanced cognitive function and a decreased chance of Alzheimer’s disease. In general, it is understood that an active lifestyle reduces the risk of high blood pressure,

Poor diet

Numerous research has connected specific meals to preserving brain health, suggesting that other meals might pose greater health risks. Foods high in fat and salt, for example, can lead to problems like heart disease and diabetes, which can damage the brain.

Smoking

Smoking is harmful to one’s body and brain. This raises the danger of heart attack, stroke, and respiratory illness. Quitting smoking at any age can improve your health.

Alcohol

improve cognitive health

Alcohol is a depressant that slows down or interrupts communication between brain cells, which can lead to slurred speech, fuzzy memory, drowsiness, and dizziness. Long-term consequences include changes in balance, memory, emotions, coordination, and body temperature. Some of these changes might be reversed by abstinence from alcohol.

People may become more sensitive to the effects of alcohol as they get older. The same amount of alcohol has a greater impact on an older person than it does on a younger one. Furthermore, various medicines can be harmful when combined with alcoholic beverages. For additional information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Sleep problems

A good night’s sleep is important for brain health at any age. Sleep disorders — including but not limited to lack of sleep, poor sleep, and sleep apnea – can result in memory issues, attention difficulties, and other cognitive functions.

Social isolation and loneliness

Social isolation and loneliness can be bad for your brain. Loneliness was linked to an increased chance of dementia, and less social interaction was connected to cognitive impairment.

Frequently asked question

What brain health issues should you be aware of?

  • brain injuries
  • medicines and drug combinations that might affect mental processes.
  • lack of physical activity, inactivity are linked to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, depression, a stroke which can harm the brain.
  • smoking is harmful to your body and brain, increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and respiratory illness.
  • alcohol is a depressant that slows brain cells’ communication down or interrupts it which can lead to slurred speech, fuzzy memory, drowsiness, and dizziness. May impact balance, memory emotional coordination, and body temperature in long term. Drinking while using medicines might have an effect on brain health.
  • social isolation and loneliness can be bad for brain health, increased chance of dementia, less social interaction is connected to cognitive impairment.
  • sleep disorders include lack of sleep, poor sleep, or insomnia that impact memory issues attention difficulties other cognitive functions.

What foods are linked to preserving brain health?

Specific meals have been linked to brain health, suggesting other meals may pose greater risks. Foods high in fat and salt for example can lead to problems like heart disease and diabetes which can damage the brain.

What is brain injury?

Brain injuries are caused by an outside force damaging your brain tissue or movement of the brain within your skull because of sudden impact or a jolt. Brain injuries can also occur from a lack of oxygen to the brain.

What are some common symptoms of brain injury?

Common symptoms vary depending on the location and severity of the brain injury but can include headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, drowsiness, confusion, disorientation, changes in behavior or personality

Inference

There are many things that can affect cognitive function as we age. It is important to be aware of the risks and take steps to maintain a healthy brain. Certain behaviors, like smoking and drinking alcohol, can have negative consequences for our health. It is also important to get enough sleep and keep socially connected. If you experience any symptoms of a brain injury, it is important to seek medical attention. By taking these steps, we can all work to improve our cognitive function and maintain a healthy brain into old age.

Sources used

  1. https://www.jneurosci.org/content/20/4/1568.long
  2. https://www.pnas.org/content/104/43/17152.full
  3. https://www.highiqpro.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Morrison_Chein2011.pdf

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