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It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.

This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.

I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Aging Brain

"Don't let other people tell you what you want."– Pat Riley

There is plenty of information and knowledge regarding health and well-being, the amount of health care costs, and US health care ranking. We constantly hear reports of unsustainable health expenditures as related to GDP. Yet, our country is not making significant strides in either increasing longevity or becoming a healthier nation.  This problem is not the result of ignorance regarding health care. Plenty of information is available, about what to do, via the Internet, television, radio, printed material and from your doctors and other health care professionals. In thinking about this serious problem, perhaps, employing a   developmental approach might suggest or give an understanding of the “why.”

Science told us that it is not unrealistic to become a centenarian. Remember, the oldest female lived to 122 while the oldest male to 115. W e know that the brain  reaches maximum maturation typically around 20. And, by the time we are in our 60s, mass and volume reduction as a result of atrophy plus death of brain cells has significantly occurred. Not only that, if we have experienced a neurodegenerative disease even more abnormalities in the white matter has occurred.  And age-related changes in the white matter have been associated with micro vascular disease.

Developmental and critical periods can be applied to the aging brain and provides a clearer understanding of this health issue. This and subsequent trauma to the brain can explain cognitive, emotional and behavioral impairment.   For example, such things as drug, nicotine and alcohol use, poor nutrition, psychological stress etc.  significantly affect and harm prenatal brain development. And these factors affect neurons and neurotransmitters with the unfortunate impairment with potential consequences. If damage to the prefrontal cortex, often referred to as the executive function of the brain, occurs, then memory, higher cognition, abstract thought, comprehension of language, social behavior and decision-making making is put at risk. So perhaps future, inappropriate behaviors, poor judgments and choices have already been compromised and put in motion during brain maturation. And if that is so, we can expect crises and impaired brain development and function to take place during the many critical periods necessary during and post brain maturation. To make matters worse, poor decisions, trauma, accidents and lifestyle choices during one’s life cycle just exasperate the issue further and consequently make things worse. Remember, we can’t get a brain tune up or replace defected parts. As a consequence, learning, acquiring information, vocabulary, memory, intelligence, emotions etc. is compromised and impairs the ability to make proper decisions   regarding self.

So maybe it is not surprising that  poor lifestyle choices( from birth to 60) that include  alcohol, drugs, smoking ,what and how we eat , inability to manage stress, difficulty with sleep  to name a few results in  being vulnerable in acquiring such health issues as depression diabetes, heart disease, hypertension  etc.  Remember, in normal aging, blood flow, in the brain, is reduced by 15 to 20%. Also, the remaining or healthy neurons require mental stimulation. You heard the expression “use it or lose it” fits here. Not only that, it is apparent that physical activity is necessary as well. So at this point, we understand why dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is on the increase as well.
 There is no simple approach for optimum brain development. Protect the brain or suffer the consequences. Source: Institute for Natural Resources.
This past week a touch of bronchitis   interfered with my trail running. In other words, I didn’t do much moving.


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