The loss of mental functions, such as memory retention and reasoning, are among the biggest problems faced by the elderly. Dementia is one of them, with Alzheimer's disease as the common cause. Doctors and researchers are trying to determine how to delay or even reverse the effects of these diseases by training the brain.
Understanding dementia and Alzheimer's
The dementia and the Alzheimer's They often complement each other. Dementia refers to the weakness of memory and mental health. Alzheimer's is said to have caused about 50 to 60% of dementia cases. Among other possible causes of dementia are diseases of Parkinson Y Huntington , strokes, excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs, nutritional deficiencies, head injuries and brain-related diseases.
Alzheimer's starts slowly. The areas that are affected first are those related to memory, language and reasoning. Over time, these symptoms become more serious, such as forgetting the essential functions for personal care.
The risk of having Alzheimer's usually begins at 60 years of age. The risks increase if a family member has the disease.
Around the world there are 24 million people who suffer from a certain form of dementia. If they are not treated immediately, the number could reach 84 million by 2040. Alzheimer's Association in the United States, it reports 4.5 million cases of the disease in 2004.
Exercises for the brain may help delay the onset of dementia. According to the study conducted by Dr. Charles B. Hall of the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Einstein College of Medicine, In New York; Practicing exercises such as reading, writing and playing cards could reduce memory loss.
488 respondents aged 75 to 85 participated in their study. The study lasted five years and the participants did not present any form of dementia at the beginning of the investigation. After five years, around 101 of them developed dementia.
In the research, they were encouraged to participate in activities such as solving crosswords, card games, board games, reading and writing. Those who only performed a weekly activity or who did nothing at all developed dementia.
The effects of Alzheimer's may also be slowed down with brain training as shown in the case of Richard Wetherhill. A qualified chess player and university professor underwent neurological exams obtaining normal results. But when he was autopsied after his death, tests showed that he had developed Alzheimer's. Apparently, the effects of the disease were reduced by the games of Chess and other brain exercises.
To help train the brain it is important to do different cognitive exercises. It is not enough to focus on a single form, like a card game. There are different types of exercises that can be used such as puzzles, optical exercises, mathematics, reasoning and language activities.
Brain training does not only refer to mental exercises. Physical exercises are also important in the development of better mental health. Exercise increases the supply of oxygen to the brain, making blood flow more efficient and encouraging the growth of new brain cells.
Experts agree that it is better to start early. Brain training can be done before age 60, which allows more time to explore different types of training and exercises.