May 14, 2019
By John DenBoer, PhD, Clinical Neuropsychologist specializing in the assessment and detection of early-stage dementia, and Founder of SMART Brain Aging, Inc.
Not many people fully understand dementia. Being a clinical neuropsychologist, the thing I see the most is the many misconceptions surrounding dementia. One of those misconceptions includes the ways to mitigate the early onset of dementia.
First off, what exactly is dementia mitigation? Dementia is a syndrome. It’s a group of symptoms that effect cognitive tasks and impairs memory and reasoning. Mitigation is the attempt to reduce the severity of something. So dementia mitigation is the attempt to decrease the risk of developing dementia and memory loss.
I often hear that people think they can just do crossword puzzles to simply mitigate dementia and memory loss. However, through my many years of research, I have discovered there is more to it than just doing crossword puzzles. The release of glutamate (a neurotransmitter involved with learning and memory) can help mitigate the onset of dementia. This can be done by new and novel learning. It is important to try to make it a habit and try new things. However, the new part only lasts for about 2 to 3 weeks. This means, as long as you are training your brain with something new every 3 weeks, you can help mitigate the onset of dementia.
I have developed a program that does this, but there are many things you can do on your own to mitigate dementia. Not only can learning a new language or a new instrument help exercise your brain, but cognitive training can be positive to maintain brain heath as you age. Think of your brain like a muscle, you need to use it or lose it. Along with cognitive exercises, you should also partake in physical exercise, eat a healthy diet and get proper sleep. Also, during the day there are things you can do to strengthen your brain. For example, taking a different route to common places while driving is very beneficial. In addition to the program that I offer at Brain U Online, there are many classes offered to teach you new things, such as learning a new program on a computer, learning a new dance or even taking an art class or writing class.
I like to encourage my patients to find things that they enjoy doing to exercise their brain. In addition, I have also found through my research the benefit of doing cognitive exercises after physical exercise. In fact, I tell my patients to make it a habit of exercising for at least 30 minutes every day followed by at least 15 minutes of cognitive exercises.
Remember, as long as you continuously work your brain with new and novel learn along with physical exercise, you have a higher chance of being able to mitigate the onset of early dementia.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. John DenBoer is the founder of SMART Brain Aging, a healthcare technology company delivering the world’s first science-backed online cognitive training program, Brain U Online.
Brain U, which is supported by clinical service and Medicare-approved, aims to delay the onset of dementia by up to 2.25 years and reduce its cognitive and functional intensity by as much as 45%. It was inspired both by the research and personal experiences that Dr. DenBoer and other staff had with family members suffering from dementia.
Brain U’s program offers more than 20,000 new and novel brain exercises to work on the five main cognitive functions of the brain: processing speed, executive function, speech and language, memory, and attention and concentration.
SMART Brain Aging Online