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Prevent Cognitive Decline, Enhance Brain Health, Heal Chemobrain

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“If you want to manage the factors that are within your control to prevent or delay age-related cognitive decline, spend some time and energy focusing on these three things…”

I want to prevent my own cognitive decline. However, I’ve learned that managing my brain health is about more than doing crossword puzzles. I do a bit more than what is discussed in the three articles linked and excerpted below. My therapies are broader than the cautious approach taken by JAMA. However, I will say that I do what I do based on research…and my own experience.

Let me provide a little history. A cancer diagnosis and several years of conventional therapies led to both

  • chemotherapy-induced cognitive dysfunction (chemobrain)
  • as well as chemotherapy-induced Cardiomyopathy 

Therefore, according to the info linked below, my poor heart function would negatively affect my poor brain function and visa-versa. To add insult to injury, modern medicine has little to offer me to heal the health problems they modern medicine caused in the first place…

The evidence-based but non-toxic brain and heart therapies that I pursue are not a quick fix. But these therapies are “a fix.” To be specific:

My ejection fraction (EJ) has improved by more than 40% over the past 6 years (5 echocardiograms). My chemobrain has improved significantly according to the test results (listed below) taken for my neuropsychological evaluation.

 

  • Oldfield-Geschwind Handedness Questionnaire;
  • Shipley Institute of Living Vocabulary Test;
  • Wechsler Memory Scale-3rd edition (WMS-III);
  • Digit Span,
  • Information,
  • Block Design, and
  • Similarities subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-3rd edition (WAIS-III);
  • Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS);
  • Boston Naming Test; Controlled Oral Word Association Test from the Multilingual Aphasia Examination (CFL);
  • Category Fluency (animals);
  • Trailmaking Test, Parts A and B; Plan of Search Test from the Behavioral Assessment of Executive Dysfunction Battery;
  • Symbol Digit Modalities Test;
  • Stroop Color and Word Test;
  • Grooved Pegboard Test; 
  • clinical interview with patient.

Though I can’t attribute any single therapy to my improved heart and brain health, I can say that everything I do helps. If you would like to improve your brain health or health health, consider the therapies listed below:

  • daily, moderate exercise 
  • heart healthy nutrition/diet
  • brain healthy nutrition/diet
  • heart healthy nutritional supplementation
  • brain healthy nutritional supplementation

There are other evidence-based, non-toxic therapies than those listed above. However, this list encompasses the main class of evidence-based, non-toxic, non-conventional therapies.

To learn more, scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

Thank you,

David Emerson

  • MM Survivor
  • MM Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:


Prevention of Cognitive Impairment With Intensive Systolic Blood Pressure Control

“The prevalence of Alzheimer disease (AD) and related dementia is expected to triple over the next 30 years in the United States and worldwide.1 Alzheimer disease drug development during the past 2 decades has met with disappointment. The last drug approved for this disease by the US Food and Drug Administration was in 2003 and was a drug with symptomatic, not disease-modifying, benefit. The challenges of drug development have been somewhat mitigated by advances in the determination of disease mechanisms, the identification of biomarkers and of genetic and nongenetic risk factors, and an updated conceptual framework for clinical development. In particular, an understanding that most neurodegenerative diseases take many years, if not decades, to develop and thus have a long preclinical phase has spurred interest in prevention. The identification of preclinical or early clinical phases, such as mild cognitive impairment (MCI), is critical for these primary and secondary prevention approaches…”

Science versus Pseudo-Science. What Really Works To Prevent Cognitive Decline?

The three interventions receiving that cautiously optimistic endorsement are the intensive treatment of blood pressure, cognitive training and increased physical activity….

That’s the current state of the science. If you want to manage the factors that are within your control to prevent or delay age-related cognitive decline, spend some time and energy focusing on these three things:

  1. Try to get your systolic blood pressure down to 120 or below. If you have hypertension this likely means taking one or multiple medications, losing weight, exercising and reducing sodium intake (ditching chips, pretzels and deli meats is a place to start).
  2. Increase your physical activity. There is no strong evidence that one kind of activity or another is the key. Don’t worry about what you do, just get more active. Find something you like to do so you’ll keep doing it. Reduce your sitting time.
  3. Stimulate your brain. Again, there’s no evidence that formal brain training programs are better than ad hoc activities. Just find and keep doing something you enjoy—crossword puzzles, learning a new language, reading challenging books. Keep the oxygen and blood moving in your brain by using it…”

Brain Exercises That Work

“Table of Contents

What Are Brain Exercises?

A brain exercise is any activity that engages your cognitive skills. Online brain games are popular and offer a wide variety of imaginative exercises designed to challenge your memory, focus and problem-solving skills, but tactile games like bingo and jigsaw puzzles and hobbies like model building also stimulate important types of memory skills. The key is that they must be difficult, but not too difficult…

-Play an Online Brain Game

Luminosity, Cognifit, Sharpbrains, BrainHQ and others provide free brain games daily—and many more for people willing to pay for a subscription—that challenge memory, attention and concentration skills. Does playing these games lead to long-term cognition improvement? It’s not known for certain, but they are engaging and fun. These word, number, speed, math, problem-solving and shape games often have time limits, which escalate the challenge, along with colorful graphics and cheerful bloops and bleeps (or a computerized voice exclaiming, “Good job!”).

Video games can be beneficial as well. “Video games can be great, particularly because so many start out at an easy level and become more challenging with practice, and are essentially cognitive training,” says Dr. Park…

 

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