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Keeping your brain healthy

Updated: Jan 30

To a degree, the fate of our brains is in our own hands. Indeed, it has been estimated that more than 1/3 of cases of dementia can be prevented by addressing lifestyle factors. And even if dementia is inevitable - a consequence of our genes for instance - there is an opportunity to delay it's onset, perhaps by a number of years. This means a greater brainspan (the part of our life lived in good cognitive health) and a better quality of life.

One of the most important things about any intervention for our brain health is that the earlier it is done, the better. That is not to say that dividends cannot be had by engaging in healthy lifestyle choices later in life, but those that start in mid-life at least are likely to derive the most benefit.

There are a large number of modifiable things that influence cognitive health, including:

  • Psychological health, including chronic stress and depression

  • Sleep

  • Hearing

  • Vascular health (the health of our heart and blood vessels)

  • Alcohol consumption and smoking

  • Social connection

  • Physical exercise

  • Diet

  • Complex Mental Activity

  • Certain prescribed medications

  • Certain medical conditions​

These factors are discussed in more detail in my Mind Your Brain book.

My app, BrainScan, identifies the user's individual risk factors for cognitive impairment and provides a tailored action plan to address them. Addressing these problems can result in improved brain function right now but also potentially reduce the risk of cognitive problems, including dementia, later down the track.

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