Brain Awareness Week (March 16 – 22)

 

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 33 – 3/18/15

I recently saw the movie, Still Alice. In the movie, Julianne Moore plays Alice, a woman who struggles with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. In her case, it was familial; she carried the gene for AD. This neurological disease has also been linked to diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, along with other modifiable risk factors.  In a recent bulletin, the AARP pointed out that the cases and costs of AD continue to rise, with no end in sight.*

Since then, I’ve been thinking about my brain.  Or should I say, I’ve been thinking about my brain’s health. I’ve written posts about the aging brain in years past. In my blog, past articles  have taken a lighthearted approach. But in truth, losing my brain functions is one of those things I do take seriously, and is the thing I fear most about aging

Which brings me to Brain Awareness Week, a worldwide initiative which was started by the Dana Foundation 20 years ago. This foundation provides information about the brain to the public, and also helps advance brain health research in a variety of ways. This provides us with the opportunity to learn about the strides that scientists are making to protect our brain health. Brain Awareness Week is just the start; according to the Scientific American website, the Dana Foundation continues brain awareness activities year-round. 

How to get involved with Brain Awareness Week: Check out the Society for Neuroscience Brain Awareness Campaign.  

I’ve recently joined to become an advocate of Alzheimer’s research – please join me.  We can make a difference! You can become a chamption at ActionAlz

You can follow the Alzheimer’s Association on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/actionalz

I’ve found some interesting reading about the brain: 

  • This article from The Human Memory website, describes the three major parts of the brain. This website has some interesting reading and includes articles about the different types of memory, memory disorders, types of memory, etc. 
  • The Amen Clinic talks about super foods for the brain.
  • Brain Healthy Recipes from BrainHQ at the Posit Science website

Source: 

*Reid, T.R. Where’s the War on Alzheimer’s? AARP Bulletin.  January – February 2015.  

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2009-2015

Training your Brain for Vital Longevity

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 12– 1/30/15

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In their book, Brain Fit for Life, authors (and neuroscientists) Simon Evans and Paul Burghardt point out that our brain is always active and changing, even as we age.  Our brain’s ability to change is known as neuroplasticity. What’s great about this is that we can continue to help our brain develop, even as we get older. 

In their book, Evans and Burghardt talk about the four cornerstones of brain fitness. Mental activity is one of these cornerstones. 

After doing some googling, Bea found some interesting ways to boost our brain cells:

50 Ways to Boost your Brain Power 

Bea’s also a promoter of lifelong learning – learn something new that challenges those brain cells: a musical instrument, an online class (Ed2go has some fun, reasonably priced options); listen to virtual lectures at websites such as Coursera.  You can also foster your creative juices by taking a drawing, painting, pottery or writing course.  

Bea listed some fun choices in her post, 7 Free Online Learning Resources

Source:

Evans, S., PhD, and Burghardt, P., Phd. Brain Fit for Life. Riverpointe Publications: Milan, MI. 2008. 

 

Baby Boomers and Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is devastating not only to the person who suffers from it, but also for the family members who have to watch their loved one’s mind deteriorate, day by day. 

 As the first baby boomers turn 65 this year, more and more of them face the likelihood of developing this disease.  Simply take a look at this Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures Report for the sad statistics. 

Interested in learning more? The Alzheimer’s Association  has recently released a report, Generation Alzheimer’s: The Defining Disease of the Baby Boomers. You can get that report sent to your email inbox by signing up here.

Please, share the latest news about Alzheimer’s Disease by sharing this link with your friends and family:

http://alz-news.org

 Related articles

Exercise Your Brain- Fight Memory Loss with Fitness

Everyone knows that aging can be done gracefully. Many people just aren’t sure how to go about it. Exercise is important for your body. It helps stave off things like arthritis, immobility, and other illnesses that you become more susceptible to as you age. Of course, exercise also boosts your mood and helps with your mental health, as well. One of the biggest issues of aging is memory loss and forgetfulness, and there’s more to keeping your brain fit than just reading, doing crosswords, or other mental exercise.

Physical exercise can actually help improve your mental clarity, but you need more than just a basic walking program or fitness class. I’ve been working in the exercise and physical training industry for the better portion of my life, and I’ve found that there are some great fitness programs and types of exercise that can help your brain as much as they can help your body. Yoga is the first, and one of my favorite activities. You have to learn the poses, remember, them, and use yoga to help relax your body and your mind. As such, it can improve your mental abilities and help you decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s and other memory-related issues.

Another great option is aerobics or dance classes. You don’t have to be a prima ballerina, by any means, but if you can get involved in a class where you use your brain as much as you use your body, you’ll reap the rewards. I always recommend exercise during retirement to help maintain physical health, and I’m an advocate for doing anything that you can to stay young and alert. With the right exercise or fitness programs, you can enjoy having the body and the brain that will keep you young for years to come.

Contributed by Mary Albert, a blogger for a senior health web site that provides advice for the 55+ age group as well as medical alert reviews

Your Brain (and Health) On Music

Bea has loved the song Europa by the guitarist extraordinaire Carlos Santana ever since she first heard it on his Moonflower album.  In 1976, she went to a concert at one of those long-gone concert venues in the Motor City (now known as “The D”) and sat in awe as she watched Carlos perform that song – the music going right through to her core.  It was simply one of those moments she’ll never forget.

Fast forward to Bea’s family room, January 2011.  This room has become Mr. Boomer’s concert venue of choice.  Recently, Mr. B. attempted to play Europa on his Les Paul electric guitar. All. Day. Long. Okay, so now Bea is just sick to death of her favorite tune and hopes she never hears it again.

Rock on, Mr. B.

In the past year, after a long hiatus, Mr. Boomer has really gotten into playing his guitar.  Bea envies and admires his ability to play “by ear,” something the Boomer daughter has inherited.  Mrs. B. has no musical ability – she likes to sing, but she ain’t fooling herself, she’s no American Idol.  What she lacks in talent, however, she makes up for in chutzpah (read: she sings loudly).

The hubby has also gotten together with friends from his workplace to “jam” together, and he jokes about taking his new group “Social Insecurity,” on the road.  (Great name, hmmm?  He made that one up himself).

Despite the fact that he’s ruined Bea’s favorite song for her, she thinks Mr. B. is really onto something with this guitar playing.  He’s enhancing his social wellness, by getting together with “the guys.”  Music also can reduce his job-related or wife-related stress, and even keep those brain cells alive and kicking.  In fact, according to the eMed Expert website, playing music can even make him smarter!

For Further Reading: 

Don’t Lose Your Mind – It’s The Only One You’ve Got!

Obviously, Bea’s been on a “brain kick” this past week. Hopefully, she’s given you some ideas about how to put your brain into high gear.

Here are a few resources for further reading:

50 Ways to Boost your Brain Power

Most of these 50 suggestions would be easy to implement (such as meditating, engaging in debate, setting goals, listening to music, and so on). However, the 4th suggestion on the list is “brainwave entrainment.” Bea had no idea what this means, so she found the definition at Wikipedia.

Information about the brain and brain function from the Franklin Institute, Resources for Science Learning.

For information about e-learning and, check out my post here.

Bea Boomer’s Quotes of the Day:

Minds are like parachutes – they only function when open. (Thomas Dewar)

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. (Mark Twain)