When it Comes to Your Brain, Use it or Lose it!
New research confirms one of ARPF’s most important recommendations: when it comes to your brain, use it or lose it! Scientists at Iowa State University identified a protein (neuronal pentraxin-2) which decreases brain atrophy and, with it, the chances of developing Alzheimer’s. This protein is produced when people use their brains frequently – for example, in a demanding profession or hobby – and when they have an active social life.
For example, our 3rd Pillar of Alzheimer’s Prevention is Exercise and Brain Aerobics. This includes not only physical exercise but mental exercise as well – mind games designed to keep your brain at the top of its game. Good mental exercise challenges you to think about new things, engages multiple senses at the same time, and requires you to work through complicated tasks and puzzles. Just like lifting weights, brain exercises develop your “thinking muscles” and help keep your brain in good shape.
Our 4th Pillar of Alzheimer’s Prevention is Spiritual Fitness. This encompasses socializing with other people, appreciating the time and place you find yourself in, and generally allowing yourself to be at peace with the world around you. All of these ways of being lower your stress, which, in addition to helping you live a happier life, decreases the amount of damaging chemicals like cortisol that your body produces. Those chemicals can damage your brain and degrade its memories.
This exciting and important new research demonstrates just how important it is to stay mentally and socially active.