Neuroprotection: Put the brakes on cognitive decline

putthebrakeson

It’s time to slam on the brakes! Fighting cognitive decline is possible using the concept of Neuroprotection. Our brains are generating new brain cells every day. The key is to not lose these at a faster rate than we’re producing.

Neuroprotection refers to methods put in place to slow or reverse the effects of neurological decline. This is very exciting indeed, again reminding us that we have a say in our brain health!

I am frequently asked to lecture on brain health, to seniors and their caregivers. Although the statistics are frightening in terms of dementia and its growing prevalence, my lectures leave my audience feeling optimistic and empowered. The truth is, there’s a lot you can do to combat cognitive decline. There are small lifestyle changes and additions to your day that could pack a very powerful punch in terms of neuroprotection.

Here are a few examples:

  • Exercise: your brain was built by movement, and needs movement to stay healthy. Find a physical activity that you enjoy and stick to it!
  • Breathing: feed your brain oxygen. Focus on slow and deep breaths regularly.
  • Light: your brain requires 12 hours of full-spectrum light. Wake up with the sun and enjoy daylight as much as possible.
  • Sleep: your brain needs time to rest, recover, and regenerate brain cells. Snooze for at least 7.5-9 hours nightly.
  • Posture: good, erect posture sends positive messages to your brain.
  • Diet: you are what you eat! Feed your brain non-processed whole foods, full of color and variety.
  • Thoughts: you are what you think! We know that negative thoughts and stress cause oxidative damage to the brain.

While research indicates that we can positively change our brain for the better, many Americans already have dementia or feel that it may be right around the corner. In these circumstances, it might be time for targeted brain rehabilitation. In my clinic, we study the nervous system to find where the breakdowns lie, and we utilize non-invasive therapies to repair the existing neurology. Using the concept of neuroplasticity, we slow down the crippling effects of cognitive impairment. If you know someone whose brain health is declining and are in search of a non-pharmaceutical solution, please call our office to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Resources:

Duffy JF, Czeisler CA. Effect of Light on Human Circadian Physiology. Sleep Med Clin. 2009 Jun; 4(2): 165–177

Meng Ying Cui, Yang Lin, Ji Yao Sheng, Xuewen Zhang, and Ran Ji Cui, Exercise Intervention Associated with Cognitive Improvement in Alzheimer’s Disease, Neural Plasticity, Volume 2018, Article ID 9234105

Stefania Schiavone, Vincent Jaquet, Luigia Trabace, Karl-Heinz Krause, Severe Life Stress and Oxidative Stress in the Brain: From Animal Models to Human Pathology., Antioxid Redox Signal. 2013 Apr 20; 18(12): 1475–1490

Cotman CW, Berchtold NC. Exercise: a behavioral intervention to enhance brain health and plasticity, Trends in Neuroscience. 2002 Jun;25(6): 295-301  

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Dr. Jim Duffy

Dr. Jim Duffy

Clinician, Innova Brain Rehabilitation