Hi all! Happy Friday to you! Another rainy day in the Ozarks, but I have high hopes. Back to our topic of the week: the brain as a muscle.
OK. The brain is NOT a muscle. It uses smooth muscle to help push through and out the bad stuff. If Beta Amyloids are indeed a major cause of dementia, the muscle system the brain uses does seem to help clear out that mess. (Doesn’t take in account the many, many Amyloid positive, symptom negative folks and likewise, but we will save that for a different day.) Today I want to summarize briefly what seems to “work” in prevention and what doesn’t.
- Heart and brain healthy diet: Link Link Link and sort of this Link
- Cardiovascular exercise: Link Link Link Link Link
- Learning a foreign language, or even a musical instrument, especially later in life. Link Link Link Link Link
- Protect your head from brain injury: Link Link Link
- Don’t smoke: Link Link Link Link
- Manage your diabetes: Link Link Link Link Link
- Sleep enough: Link Link Link Link Link
- Stay involved socially (Avoid the isolation cycle…somewhat chicken/egg-ish): Link Link Link Link Link
- Manage your blood pressure: Link Link Link Link
- Only drink in moderation: Link Link Link
- and a bonus: in some cases, find a way to change your DNA: Link…ok…maybe, just maybe someday this: Link Link Link
OK…be mad at me if you must, but the rest of the options, unless I missed a legit one, are of far less benefit in preventing. (Sorry essential oil, CBD oil, vitamin friends…). If you can bring some solid, double-blind studied proof, I will consider them. Put them in the comments.
So, why not mom? She rocked most of this list, especially after her diagnosis over 10 years ago.
The brain, if it worked like a muscle, would be more repairable…but it isn’t the same. There are no brain splints, by Ben Gay to rub on it after you pull it, a massage doesn’t fix it (although a nice scalp massage is quite nice), and surgery is perhaps counterproductive. The brain can fix itself, in many ways. Maybe we can enhance this Neuroplasticity? If that is the case, we had better catch it early because it takes time and once damage is done beyond a certain level, the point is moot.
Mr. Applegate’s Brain Games conclusion: This whole mess is hard. We need to prevent it the very best we can, from as early of an age as we can, so that we don’t have to experience it. Do the whole list if you can. Take baby steps, but make it happen. I am working on the parts I am weak on with my diet and exercise regimen. Mom and the Sweet 17, to varying levels, tried hard too, I am sure. However, sometimes our brain just breaks…along with our hearts watching it happen.
Update: Still no contact at all with mom. Next week I can resume calling in at least. Shawshank Re:Dementia never seemed so real…