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Are forgetfulness and “senior moments” inevitable parts of aging? Many medical professionals (including the doctor in CNN’s news brief above) say it’s perfectly normal to start having memory lapses by the time you reach middle age.
I disagree. In fact, if you notice memory lapses, you may want to seriously consider making some immediate lifestyle changes to help reverse, or at least minimize further damage that might lead to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Fortunately, your brain is actually quite resilient, and has the capacity to regenerate and repair itself, which is given the medical term neuroplasticity. This is new information and not what I was taught in medical school in the late ’80s.
You’ll find that many of the lifestyle changes that will help prevent diabetes will also improve your brain function. There’s good reason for this, as sugar can have an adverse effect on your memory even if you’re otherwise healthy.
Increasing amounts of research also attest to the power of exercise to keep your mind sharp. Other factors that can have a significant impact on your brain function include lifestyle factors such as stress and poor sleeping habits.
The One Part of Your Brain That Appears to Be Protected Against Aging
Interestingly, recent research1 shows that certain cognitive systems located in the right cerebral hemisphere, such as spatial attention, mysteriously appear to be protected from the ravages of aging.
“Our studies have found that older and younger adults perform in a similar way on a range of visual and non-visual tasks that measure spatial attention,” said lead author Dr. Joanna Brooks.
“Both younger (aged 18 to 38 years) and older (55 to 95 years) adults had the same responses for spatial attention tasks involving touch, sight or sound.”