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July 20, 2010 > Men: Get proactive to preserve memory

Men: Get proactive to preserve memory

Submitted By Anja Majcen

Men seem to have a reputation for not being quick to seek out medical opinions or treatment for their illnesses, injuries, aches and pains. That reluctance to seek assistance is especially true in the area of declining "brain fitness," where, typically years before their female counterparts, men begin to experience a declining ability to recall specific events, have difficulty focusing on tasks, or find themselves struggling to find the right words to use in everyday conversations.

"According to research, men have a much greater chance than women of suffering from mild cognitive impairment in old age," says neuroscience researcher Mark Underwood. "Women should be alert to the early warning signs of cognitive decline and be ready to take some proactive steps to help the guys maintain both brain fitness and a good quality of life."

Here are some proactive suggestions Underwood says can be effective in maintaining brain fitness and reversing some of the symptoms of age-related cognitive impairment:

-Stay physically active: Physical exercise is essential for maintaining good blood flow to the brain as well as encouraging growth of new brain cells. It also can significantly reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes, and thus protect against those risk factors for Alzheimer's and other dementias.

-Adopt a brain-healthy diet: Research suggests that high cholesterol may contribute to stroke and brain cell damage. A low fat, low cholesterol diet is advisable. There is growing evidence that a diet rich in dark vegetables and fruits, which contain antioxidants, may help protect brain cells.

-Remain socially active: Social activity not only makes physical and mental activity more enjoyable, but it also can reduce stress levels, which helps maintain healthy connections among brain cells.

-Stay mentally active: Mentally stimulating activities strengthen brain cells and the connections between them, and may even create new nerve cells.

-Lower brain calcium with a dietary supplement: Too much calcium in a neuron can impair its function. Studies on adults who regulated their brain's calcium with a "calcium-binding protein" called Prevagen (www.prevagen.com) showed the supplement produced less forgetfulness, better word recall, less need for reminders, and improved overall memory.

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