Where are my keys? Did I really miss that appointment? Did I turn off the coffee maker? Where is that to-do list? Do these questions sound all too familiar? Well, then you are not alone. A study from the University of Michigan shows that minor cognitive decline can begin earlier than once thought; somewhere in your twenties.
Challenging your own mental functioning can help bring some balance back, while also possibly slowing the rate of further decline. Here are some simple ideas to get you started:
Train yourself to do something new. Researchers from the University of Oxford have found that white matter in the brain can be restructured by learning a new skill. The skill used in the study was juggling, but it is safe to say that practicing any skill that tests both the mind and the body will be of benefit. Why not try ping pong, knitting, archery, or even playing piano. In doing so there is an added benefit of improved hand-eye coordination. And remember, it is not about achieving the skill, it is about practicing the skill; perfection is not the goal.
Change something about your normal routine. For instance use your non-dominant had for everyday tasks like brushing your hair, using a fork, operating a computer mouse, opening jars, etc. Try turning pictures on their side, or reading upside down or in the reflection of a hand mirror. You can also close your eyes and use mental imagery when listening to an audio book, the news, or even a movie. All of these techniques can help to stimulate new neural pathways in the brain, thus keeping your mind sharp.
Developing your problem solving skills can also help to stave off cognitive decline. Try engaging in an activity that really challenges you; consider soduku, crossword puzzles, MENSA tests, and other brain teasers. Or perhaps learn something new that interests you. Consider memorizing new songs or poems, or even learning a new language. It is important to continually challenge your brain.
Brush your teeth. A study from New York University shows that people with gum disease also had a higher increased risk of cognitive decline. Plus, if you brush with the opposite hand, you are also developing a new skill, further supporting cognitive health!
Talk it up. Researchers at The University of Michigan have discovered that stimulating can help support a functional memory and mental acuity.
Get moving. Evidence shows that chronic endurance exercise can reduce the risk of age related cognitive decline. Moreover, acute endurance exercise has also been demonstrated as being beneficial. Keep in mind that exercise promotes blood distribution to the entire body, including the brain. Therefore getting 30 minutes of exercise every day can support your brain health, and of course weight management.
Feed your body, feed your brain. Offer your body a diet based on whole foods. Consider adding in super foods rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, magnesium and protein! In doing so you give your brain the fuel it needs to operate optimally.
These are suggestions that are suitable for everyone. However, be aware that cognitive decline can be a symptom of a more serious underlying issue.
Keep in mind there is also a correlation between cognitive complaints and mold & mycotoxin exposure. Folks living with CIRS resulting from mold & mycotoxin exposure can often present with memory impairment, disorientation, difficulty concentrating, difficulty assimilating new knowledge and decreased word finding. The best way to address these complaints is to firstly minimize or avoid exposure of mold all together. When advancing beyond exposure avoidance, be sure to work with a CIRS aware provider. Please note that the above information is not meant to replace professional in-office medical advice. Please contact Dr. Lauren Tessier if you would like to be seen personally for a more in depth and individualized approach to your health.