How often do you laugh? Studies have shown laughter is beneficial in increasing blood flow to areas of the brain reducing stress and anxiety, but a new study presented at the recent Experimental Biology meeting found that humor showed beneficial effects in memory loss as well. The results of the EEG in seniors were tested for visual recognition, learning ability and recall memory tests showed improvements as well as reduced cortisol in their brains, believed to help avoid memory brain cell death. What are some strategies to help increase laughter in your life and for your patients?
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Watching training videos have shown a 11 fold increase in improvement in motor activity by boosting brain structure and increasing the size of brain portions related to motor control and visual processing. A study of 36 healthy adults underwent 10 training sessions over two weeks where half watched training videos before performing simple motor tasks while the other half watched videos of landscapes. The training group showed an increase in cognitive function as well as better motor control and visual processing. Evidence suggests watching these videos can benefit rehabilitating stoke patients and patients with multiple sclerosis. What are your thoughts about this therapeutic intervention helping with motor deficit? What other recommendations to improve brain activity do you provide to your patients?
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The results of the largest study ever completed on cognitive exercise were published today in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, revealing encouraging effects for the elderly population. The study included approximately 3,000 adults and analyzed results based on three brain training programs—processing speed, memory and reasoning capacity. The patients were divided into four groups, three training groups who received 10 to 12 sessions lasting 60–75 minutes plus a control group who came in for regular cognitive testing. Five years after the sessions were completed the training groups exhibited improved cognitive results compared to the control group. Even ten years after training the results persisted, although gains in memory did seem to decline. The training groups didn’t just test better based on particular study results; they also reported having an easier time with daily activities when compared to the control group.
What activities do you perform to keep your brain sharp? How much time would you be willing to set aside to dedicate to brain training?
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A new study conducted in 60 elderly people found; two cups of cocoa a day improves blood flow to the brain. Improved blood flow to the brain is associated with better memory function. Researchers believe that it is flavanol in the cocoa that plays a big role in vascular health. In this study, one group received high-flavanol cocoa and another low-flavanol cocoa. There was no difference found between the two groups. However, 88% of the people who had impaired blood flow at the beginning of the study saw improvements in blood flow and some cognitive tests. Moreover, 37% of the people with normal blood flow at the beginning of the study saw an improvement as well. Researchers concluded that it might be another component in cocoa that is associated with improved blood flow, or it could be that only small amount of flavanol was needed. One of the limitations of this study was that there was no control group to assess the effects of drinking no cocoa at all. What are your favorite foods with healing properties?
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