About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Simple Lifestyle Changes May Improve Cognitive Function and Brain Efficiency

by Medindia Content Team on July 12, 2006 at 9:40 AM
Font : A-A+

Simple Lifestyle Changes May Improve Cognitive Function and Brain Efficiency

A UCLA research study published in the June issue of The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that people may be able to improve their cognitive function and brain efficiency by making simple lifestyle changes such as incorporating memory exercises, healthy eating, physical fitness, and stress reduction into their daily lives.

"We've known for several years that diet and exercise can help people maintain their physical health and live longer, but maintaining mental health is just as important," said lead investigator, Gary Small, M.D., professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. "The UCLA study is the first to show the impact of memory exercises and stress reduction used together with a healthy diet and physical exercise to improve brain and cognitive function."

Advertisement

Researchers found that after just 14 days following healthy lifestyle strategies, study participants' brain metabolism decreased in working memory regions, suggesting an increased efficiency - so the brain didn't have to work as hard to accomplish tasks.

For the two-week study, 17 subjects with normal baseline memory performance scores were randomly assigned to two groups: a control group did not make any behavior modifications while a test group incorporated healthy longevity strategies to improve physical and mental function.
Advertisement

Details of the healthy strategies employed in the study are also highlighted in Small's new book, also published today, called "The Longevity Bible: 8 Essential Strategies for Keeping Your Mind Sharp and Your Body Young" (Hyperion, New York, 2006).

Participants on the healthy longevity plan incorporated the following into their daily routine:
•To stimulate the brain, memory exercises such as cross-word puzzles and brainteasers were conducted throughout the day.
•To improve physical fitness, participants took daily walks, which have been found to increase life expectancy and lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
•To improve their diet, study participants on the plan ate five small meals a day, which prevents drops in blood glucose levels since glucose is the main energy source for the brain. In addition, they ate a balanced diet full of omega-3 fats, antioxidants and low-glycemic carbohydrates like whole grains.
• To manage stress, participants performed daily relaxation exercises. Small notes that stress causes the body to release cortisol, a hormone that can impair memory and damage brain memory cells.
Brain function was tested before and after the 14-day study, using positron emission tomography (PET) scans to measure brain activity. Participants who followed the healthy longevity lifestyle plan demonstrated a five percent decrease in brain metabolism in the part of the brain directly linked to working memory called the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex.

"The finding suggests that for participants who had followed the healthy longevity program, the brain functioned more efficiently and didn't need to use as much glucose to perform effectively," said Small.

In addition, compared to the control group, participants also performed better in verbal fluency, a cognitive function controlled by the same brain region.

"The research demonstrates that in just 14 days, simple lifestyle changes can not only help overall health, but also improve memory and brain function," said Small. "Our next step is to assess the individual effects of each lifestyle strategy, which may help us develop an optimal combination.

(Source: Newswise)
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Western Diet may Augment the Risk of Autoimmune Diseases
Black Tea Protects against Blood Pressure and Heart Diseases
Green Mediterranean Diet may Help Repair Age-Related Brain Damages
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Parkinsons Disease Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Liver Brain Brain Facts Ataxia Natural Remedies for Cholesterol – How Effective Are They? Gardening and Horticultural Therapy for the Young and the Old Language Areas in The Brain Ways to Improve your Intelligence Quotient (IQ) 
Recommended Reading
Ataxia
Ataxia affects coordination. Gait becomes unstable and the patient loses balance. The cerebellum or ...
Gardening and Horticultural Therapy for the Young and the Old
Art of gardening can improve socializing and cognitive skills in children and elderly. As a therapy ...
Language Areas in The Brain
The mechanism of how human brain processes the language to express and comprehend the verbal, writte...
Natural Remedies for Cholesterol – How Effective Are They?
Certain natural remedies are effective in controlling high cholesterol, when aided by lifestyle chan...
Parkinsons Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease caused by progressive dopamine brain cells loss. ...
Ways to Improve your Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
Intelligence quotient (IQ) is a psychological measure of human intelligence. Regular physical and me...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
open close
ASK A DOCTOR ONLINE
I have read and I do accept terms of use - Telemedicine

Advantage Medindia: FREE subscription for 'Personalised Health & Wellness website with consultation' (Value Rs.300/-)