Week of January 22, 2018…

Mental Care – Cognitive Fitness

“An important concept that is crucial to the understanding of cognitive health is known as cognitive reserve. You can think of cognitive reserve as your brain’s ability to improvise and find alternate ways of getting a job done. Just like a powerful car that enables you to engage another gear and suddenly accelerate to avoid an obstacle, your brain can change the way it operates and thus make added recourses available to cope with challenges. Cognitive reserve is developed by a lifetime of education and curiosity to help your brain better cope with any failures or declines it faces.

The concept of cognitive reserve originated in the late 1980s, when researchers described individuals with no apparent symptoms of dementia who were nonetheless found at autopsy to have brain changes consistent with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. These individuals did not show symptoms of the disease while they were alive because they had a large enough cognitive reserve to offset the damage and continue to function as usual.

Since then, research has shown that people with greater cognitive reserve are better able to stave off the degenerative brain changes associated with dementia or other brain diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or a stroke. A more robust cognitive reserve can also help you function better for longer if you’re exposed to unexpected life events, such as stress, surgery, or toxins in the environment. Such circumstances demand extra effort from your brain—similar to requiring a car to engage another gear. When the brain cannot cope, you can become confused, develop delirium, or show signs of disease. Therefore, an important goal is to build and sustain your cognitive reserve.”

Harvard Medical School doctors share a six-step program that can yield important and lasting results. The six steps include:

Step 1: Eat a plant-based diet.

Step 2: Exercise regularly.

Step 3: Get enough sleep.

Step 4: Manage your stress.

Step 5: Nurture social contacts.

Step 6: Continue to challenge your brain.

In a fifty-seven page guide, the doctors from Harvard Medical School explains everything you’d want to know about cognitive functioning. It includes what parts of the brain affect the corresponding parts of the body, the medical conditions that affect the brain, and detailed information on the importance of each step with specific exercises on how you can maintain, improve, and even correct cognitive effectiveness through cognitive fitness.

This guide is from Harvard Health Publications for a small fee of $20.  If you would like to purchase it below, you will ‘Remember’ what a gem it is, forever.  It will help save your mind!

 “A Guide for Cognitive Fitness”


Taken from: Health Beat, a free electronic newsletter from Harvard Health Publications