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Poor handgrip strength in midlife linked to cognitive decline

Published September 1, 2022

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.

Severe COVID infection may lead to noticeable cognitive loss

Published September 1, 2022

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.

Punch up your fitness

Published September 1, 2022

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.

The mental powers of super-agers

Published September 1, 2022

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.

Doing multiple types of activities improves cognitive health

Published August 1, 2022

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

Published August 1, 2022

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.

Spotting memory loss in a loved one

Published August 1, 2022

It can be hard to detect a potentially serious type of memory loss in a loved one, especially if small cognitive changes occur over time. It may help to note memory slips that happen consistently or those that seem uncharacteristic for the person. Tracking incidents on a calendar may also help reveal patterns. Potential incidents include consistently forgetting a close family member’s name, important conversations, words for everyday objects, bills that are due, medication times or doses, or routes home from familiar places. Other common issues are frequently having trouble at work, making financial mistakes, or taking medications incorrectly.

What you need to know about aphasia

Published July 1, 2022

Brain damage can cause the language disorder aphasia. It affects a person’s ability to understand or produce speech. Coping with aphasia requires treatment for the underlying cause and speech therapy to learn how to communicate despite language deficits. If the cause of the aphasia improves, so may the aphasia. But many people will continue to live with some level of aphasia, especially if the cause of brain damage is a progressive disease, such as Alzheimer’s.

Cognitive effects in midlife of long-term cannabis use

Published June 14, 2022

As more US states have legalized recreational cannabis or passed medical cannabis laws, public perception that cannabis is a harmless substance is growing. But its long-term benefits and risks remain unclear, and research has revealed consistently that heavy long-term cannabis use can affect cognition in midlife.

Menopause and brain fog: What’s the link?

Published June 1, 2022

Brain fog is tied to the severity of certain menopause symptoms, especially depression and sexual problems. Estrogen loss may be a factor, but cognitive issues aren’t expected to linger. Women in menopause may worry dementia is the culprit, but Alzheimer’s is rare at midlife. Strategies for coping with brain fog include staying calm, challenging the brain by changing routines, writing reminders, exercising, getting sufficient sleep, and avoiding multitasking.

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