Memory Archive


Bring a fuzzy memory back into focus

Keeping the brain as healthy as possible might help slow the fuzzy thinking that develops with age-related brain changes. The best way to stay sharp is by living a healthy lifestyle: exercising regularly (at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking), sleeping for seven to nine hours per night, eating a Mediterranean-style diet, managing stress, socializing, and learning new things. Doing crossword puzzles may also help sharpen cognition. So might treatment for underlying health conditions, such as depression or thyroid disease.

How can I tell if I have a concussion?

Concussions occur when the brain bumps or twists inside the skull after a blow to the head. Signs of concussion include headache, eye pain or fatigue, neck pain or stiffness, imbalance, impaired depth perception, difficulty remembering, or sleep pattern changes.

Taking it slow

While an active life is a healthier one, there are times when people can benefit from embracing a slower pace, an approach commonly known as "slow living." Slow living isn't about doing less, but doing more with greater focus and purpose and at the right speed. The approach can help people lower stress, increase concentration and memory, and become more engaged in activities they enjoy.

Can these approaches really improve memory?

Scientists are studying two novel approaches to improve memory. One approach centers on molecules in the blood and spinal fluid that appear to help improve memory. So far, experiments have been limited to lab animals. Another approach involves exposing the brain to electrical currents. A study in humans, published online Aug. 22, 2022, by the journal Nature Neuroscience, found that electrical stimulation directed at specific areas of the brain improved both working memory and long-term memory for at least a month.

Severe COVID infection may lead to noticeable cognitive loss

A 2022 study found that survivors of severe COVID-19 infections can develop cognitive problems, such as brain fog or trouble finding words, equivalent to the loss of 10 IQ points or 20 years of aging.

The mental powers of super-agers

Older adults known as super-agers have cognitive function similar to that of young people. Experts believe this is because their brains shrink at a much slower rate, which may be the result of genetics or lifestyle habits or both. While people can't alter their genes, it could be possible to slow their natural brain decline by adopting some super-ager habits, like being physically active, pursuing mentally challenging hobbies, eating a diet rich in inflammation-fighting foods, and engaging with social groups.

Punch up your fitness

Non-contact boxing has been shown to help many people with Parkinson's disease improve their balance, hand-eye coordination, mental focus, muscle strength, and body rhythm. Older adults also can benefit from this type of exercise, as they face many of the same physical and mental challenges as they age. Most boxing fitness workouts are done using punching bags and hitting oversized boxing mitts worn by coaches. The moves involve punches and sequences based on crosses, hooks, uppercuts, and jabs.

Poor handgrip strength in midlife linked to cognitive decline

A large study published online June 23, 2022, by JAMA Network Open found that poor handgrip strength in midlife was associated with cognitive decline a decade later.

Doing multiple types of activities improves cognitive health

Studies have shown that doing any one of certain activities, such as staying physically active and maintaining social ties, helps maintain brain health in older adults. A new study suggests that participating in multiple kinds of these activities, several times a week, may help even more.

The art of monotasking

Science has shown that when people multitask, they become more easily distracted and less productive, score lower on tests for recalling information, and make more errors. Older adults especially struggle with multitasking because aging brains have more trouble blocking distractions. The solution is to monotask by focusing on only one job until it's completed. Methods for monotasking include prioritizing tasks, blocking distractions, and working in intervals.

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