Brain and cognitive health

Trouble with crossword puzzles? Improve your semantic memory

Semantic memory is your store of factual knowledge and the meanings of words. It also helps you recall nonverbal concepts and relationships between words and concepts. And while some aspects of memory may decline with age, semantic memory does not.

Suffering from “chemo brain”? There’s hope and many things you can do

Over the past decade, research has revealed that the majority of patients treated for cancer experience difficulties with memory, attention, concentration, and thinking. There are several lifestyle actions that can help improve these symptoms, as well as certain medications.

Want to travel back in time? Use episodic memory

When people refer to “memory,” they often mean episodic memory, a complex brain process that enables recall of details like names and route detours –– as well as long-ago moments.

Your risk of dementia: Do lifestyle and genetics matter?

Clinical trials for drugs to stop or slow the progression of dementia have not been successful. A recent study attempted to determine how much influence, if any, genetic and lifestyle factors may have on the development of dementia.

Driving for teens with ADHD: What parents need to know

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Parents always worry when a teen starts driving –– even more so if a teen has ADHD. Research shows teens with ADHD have a higher risk for auto accidents. Here’s how to reduce that risk.

How early can you — and should you — diagnose autism?

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

If a parent thinks a child might have autism, it helps to get a definitive diagnosis as early as possible, since the earlier treatment can begin, the better it is for the child. But at what age can a reliable diagnosis be made?

Brain-based devices: How well do they work?

Srini Pillay, MD

Contributor

Brain-based devices claim to offer all kinds of enhancements and improvements, but how can consumers interested in such a device separate legitimate science from mere hype?

Trouble reading? Try these workarounds

Trouble reading may stem from physical challenges, difficulty concentrating, traumatic brain injury, or mild cognitive impairment. After an evaluation, try these workaround strategies.

A poor sense of smell might matter more than you thought

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Loss of the sense of smell affects quality of life and possibly safety, but it can also be a sign of a more serious illness. Researchers found that elderly people with a poor sense of smell were more likely to have certain illnesses, and more likely to die of them.

Brain health rests on heart health: Guidelines for lifestyle changes

Monique Tello, MD, MPH

Contributing Editor

The World Health Organization has issued prevention guidelines for preventing dementia. Of note, the guidelines are very similar to those for heart health, reinforcing the known connections between heart health and brain health.