Take steps to keep your brain alive

My sophomore year of college was one of the most fun years of my life. The college was in the state of Virginia and I had a wonderful roommate from Washington, D.C.
In addition, my other two best friends were both from Virginia. As a result, I saw the sights of the area.
The four of us saw Harry Truman preside in the Senate and went to the Smithsonian. We visited the University of Virginia and saw the room and desk where Edgar Allen Poe wrote “The Raven.”
We visited Monticello before it was frequented by so many tourists. We could wander around the rooms as we chose, instead of being herded out to let another tourist group in.
We even stayed overnight in an old Virginia mansion, and the list goes on.
One time, my roommate and I walked to her cousin’s house for an elegant tea. Always gracious, my roommate began to introduce me—then a stricken look crossed her face.
After a few seconds, she asked, “What’s your name?”
She was only 19 at the time, but it can happen to anyone! Young, old, or middle age. For a few seconds, a name or a fact escapes you. It is not a sign of senility and should not be branded a “senior moment.”
In his book “Keep Your Brain Alive,” Lawrence Katz says, “Many of the negative myths about the aging brain are, indeed, only myths: ‘Older and wiser’ is not just a hopeful cliché, but can be the reality.”
Katz, a professor of neurobiology and a researcher at Duke University Medical Center, says “With the help of powerful new tools of molecular biology and brain imaging, neuroscientists around the world have literally been looking into the mind as it thinks.”
Katz and his co-author, Manning Rubin, titled their book “Keep Your Brain Alive: 83 Neurobic Exercises.”
“Neurobics (pronounced like aerobics) is based on solid scientific ground; it is an exciting synthesis of substantial findings about the brain that provides a concrete strategy for keeping the brain fit and flexible as you grow older.”
Neurobics is a form of brain exercise designed to help keep the brain healthy by breaking the usual routine. “Routines can be brain-deadening,” asserts Katz.
The authors suggest neurobic exercises like brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand, including opening the tube and applying toothpaste.
Driving a different way to your morning aerobics class and buying your groceries from a farmers’ market instead from a grocery store. Or at least changing your route through the aisles.
You also could try showering with your eyes closed and buttoning your blouse or shirt with one hand.
All of these actions create new and different patterns of neuron activity in your brain and will enhance the health of your brain as you grow older.
Says Katz, “Evidence clearly shows that the brain doesn’t have to go into a steep decline as we get older.” And researchers have found that “new brain cells are generated in adult humans.”
So the next time you forget where you parked your car or forget the name of your best friend, don’t worry about it. Instead, change your routines and let neurobic exercise stimulate your brain.
It really works.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit www.visit-snider.com

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