Are their foods/vitamins that boost brain power?
Supplements for memory are plentiful, and, yes, there seems to be a relationship to diets with proper fatty-acid content and increased brain function. Most supplements contain Omega-3 fatty acid compounds blended with a strong B-complex. Many will also have Ginko, Green-tea extracts (stimulants), natural anti-inflammatory products, such as turmeric, and or Acetyl-L-Carnitine. All these supplements assist the body in enhanced blood and oxygen flow to the brain.
Is there anything we can do to prevent memory diseases?
Let’s face it. Everyone realizes that memory loss is the truest sign of aging we as human beings experience. The question, “Where are my keys or cell phone?” plays havoc in all our lives eventually. While an inconvenient problem some of the time, frequently “losing” things, or forgetting why you entered a room, can be early signs of several memory disease states.
There are many practical approaches for delaying the inevitable. Maintaining a proper diet of healthy fats with vitamins A, D3, K2, and E has shown to continue sharp cognitive function. Also, maintaining proper amounts of the B Vitamin group have shown positive results. Herbals such as Curcumin (found in Turmeric) can be used, too.
Christopher May, Rph. is owner of Seaside Pharmaceutical, Inc. at 1104 Fountain Park Circle, Brunswick, GA. Open 5 days a week. Call: 912-554-8220.
Short-Term vs Long-Term Memory
Memory is a function of our minds, where we encode, store and retrieve information. The process is localized in neurons and involves physical and chemical processes which aren’t completely understood. Types of memory include short-term memory, where we can recall things for seconds, or up to a minute, without rehearsing them. Information in short-term memory is not retained indefinitely. Long-term memory can result in the storage of much larger amounts of information and will result in stable and permanent changes in neural connections throughout the brain. A variation of this, in some memory models, includes muscle memory, or working memory, which allows us to do certain tasks almost automatically. Most of us can tie our shoes and answer questions at the same time. Tying our shoes is muscle memory.
My profession requires the memorization and retention of large amounts of information. My approach to memorizing information includes reviewing it several times, sleeping on what I’ve learned, asking myself questions about the information and then reviewing it again. There are tricks to memorizing large amounts of information for short and long-term use. For anyone who is interested, I would recommend, The Memory Book by Harry Lorayne. It’s fantastic!
Harold L. Kent, MD, is owner of Georgia Coast Surgical, Bariatric & General Surgery, 3226-F Hampton Avenue, Brunswick, GA. 912-264-9724. Dr. Kent is Board-Certified with the American Board of Surgery. Georgiacoastsurgical.com, Facebook: Georgia Coast Surgical.
Do brain games help maintain memory? If so, which ones are the best?
Brain games, especially word games like crosswords, or word searches, can be very good for keeping your brain active, as well as Sudoku. Other great activities are jigsaw puzzles, adult coloring, painting and music—all activities that engage both sides of the brain. These activities can help to improve focus, relaxation and fine motor skills, which are good for everyone, not just individuals with dementia symptoms or memory issues. Memory Matters has brain game materials available at our location free of charge.
The biggest impact to maintaining memory, however, may come from staying socially active, which forces the brain to be to engaged. Many individuals with memory issues live in isolation, which only speeds the decline of brain function.
What are the differences in Alzheimer’s and Dementia?
The most important difference between these conditions is: Dementia is a group of symptoms and behaviors. Alzheimer’s is a disease.
A person can have symptoms under the umbrella of dementia but not have Alzheimer’s. There are other diseases, including Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and vascular dementia, which can also have dementia symptoms. There are also drug interactions and vitamin deficiencies that can cause dementia, which can be reversed with treatment, whereas, Alzheimer’s disease cannot be reversed. Dementia not only impacts memory, but also the performance of daily activities and communication. It is important to check out symptoms early to ensure diagnosis and treatment appropriate to the disease or occurring illness, especially since one in three persons over the age of 65 will develop dementia symptoms.
Are there any promising advances in treating these diseases?
There is currently no prevention or cure for Alzheimer’s (the sixth leading cause of death in this country). However, there are medications that can help with symptoms. There is growing evidence that factors such as diet and staying physically and socially active are all very important to healthy aging, and may be key to prevention. There are studies showing how lack of sleep significantly impacts brain function, as well as strong evidence linking heart disease and inflammation. There are currently studies on the levels of lutein—a vitamin found in the eyes—and its effects on cognition that are showing promise. In the meantime, keeping a healthy brain means staying physically and socially active. Even for someone who has dementia symptoms, staying active can slow decline.