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10 Memory Saving Tricks to Start Now

By Sylvia Booth Hubbard

1. Exercise your brain
An active brain continues to produce new connections between nerve cells. Play Scrabble, learn a foreign language, do crossword puzzles, read, or learn a new hobby — all will stretch your brain power. One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 10 sessions of mental workouts in middle-aged and elderly people kept mental decline at bay by strengthening the brain in the same way that physical exercise strengthens and tones the body.

2. Get enough sleep
Good, restful sleep allows your brain to process information, allowing you to think more creatively and have a better long-term memory. A study published in Neuroscience found that a restful night’s sleep sparks changes in the brain that improve memory. The National Sleep Foundation says adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.

3. Exercise your body
Two new studies found that regular aerobic exercise in mid-life, including brisk walking, biking, swimming, and yoga, not only forestalls memory problems that often come with aging, but can actually improve the brain function of adults with mild cognitive impairment. One of the studies, conducted at the University of Washington School of Medicine, showed that six months of 45 to 60 minutes of exercise four days a week did the trick. Another study found that exercise appears to slow the loss of brain tissue that usually begins around age 40s. Recent animal tests performed at Columbia University discovered that exercise actually grew new brain cells.

4. Take vitamin E
High levels of vitamin E in the blood reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in old age, says a new study. Italian and Swedish researchers found that several components of vitamin E helped prevent cognitive deterioration in people 80 years of age and older.

At the beginning of the study, the blood levels of all eight natural components of vitamin E were measured. People with higher blood levels were compared with those subjects who had lower blood levels. The scientists found that seniors with the higher blood levels of all the forms of vitamin E reduced their risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 45 to 54 percent, depending on the levels of specific components.

In addition, a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health found that Alzheimer’s patients who took vitamin E supplements slowed their decline in function.

5. Get enough magnesium
Studies have found that magnesium, a key nutrient in memory function, is essential for healthy brains. Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine found that a new synthetic magnesium supplement, magnesium-L-theronate (MgT) crosses the blood-brain barrier and helps both young and aging animals to improve memory. Animals given the supplement showed an improvement in cognitive functioning, and also illustrated an increase of synapses in the brain — nerve endings that carry memories from one part of the brain to the other.

Another study conducted by neuroscientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tsinghua University in Beijing also found MgT improved the ability to learn as well as enhanced both short-term and long-term memory. Foods with the highest levels of magnesium include barley, buckwheat flour, and raw oat bran.

6. Drink in moderation
A British study from the University of Teesside found that people who drank more than 10 drinks a week had 25 percent more everyday memory problems, such as missing appointments and forgetting birthdays. Researchers at Wellesley College in Massachusetts found that heavy drinking — more than 14 drinks each week — shrinks brains.

7. Load up on antioxidants
Antioxidants combat free radicals that damage the brain. According to the AARP, a series of studies showed that a diet rich in antioxidants (which include vitamins C and E and beta carotene) prevented or slowed age-related declines in learning. Also, a study from the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center found that when people in their 70s with age-related memory problems drank anti-oxidant-rich blueberry juice, they showed significant improvement on learning and memory tests. Many other berries and vegetables contain significant amounts of antioxidants.

8. Add some curry
Spice up your diet and boost your brain by having have an occasional Indian meal. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that seniors who ate an occasional meal that included curry had less cognitive decline, even if they ate the spice only twice a year.

9. Don’t smoke
A French study found that smoking was linked to developing cognitive problems in middle age and may speed the development of dementia. The link was strongest in those people who smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day. According to the Mayo Clinic, smokers have twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Even if you’ve smoked for years, stopping now can reduce your risk of memory problems. The researchers found that people who stopped smoking before the age of 53 had a slower loss of memory than those who continued to smoke.

10. Feed your brain fish
Studies found that DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a component of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, helps maintain brain function throughout life and may protect brains from the ravages of aging. The American Heart Association recommends eating brain-boosting fatty fish such as tuna, sardines, mackerel, and herring twice a week or taking 1 gram of omega-3 fish oil daily.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Sylvia Booth Hubbard

1. Exercise your brain
An active brain continues to produce new connections between nerve cells. Play Scrabble, learn a foreign language, do crossword puzzles, read, or learn a new hobby — all will stretch your brain power. One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 10 sessions of mental workouts in middle-aged and elderly people kept mental decline at bay by strengthening the brain in the same way that physical exercise strengthens and tones the body.

2. Get enough sleep
Good, restful sleep allows your brain to process information, allowing you to think more creatively and have a better long-term memory. A study published in Neuroscience found that a restful night’s sleep sparks changes in the brain that improve memory. The National Sleep Foundation says adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.

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3. Exercise your body
Two new studies found that regular aerobic exercise in mid-life, including brisk walking, biking, swimming, and yoga, not only forestalls memory problems that often come with aging, but can actually improve the brain function of adults with mild cognitive impairment. One of the studies, conducted at the University of Washington School of Medicine, showed that six months of 45 to 60 minutes of exercise four days a week did the trick. Another study found that exercise appears to slow the loss of brain tissue that usually begins around age 40s. Recent animal tests performed at Columbia University discovered that exercise actually grew new brain cells.

4. Take vitamin E
High levels of vitamin E in the blood reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in old age, says a new study. Italian and Swedish researchers found that several components of vitamin E helped prevent cognitive deterioration in people 80 years of age and older.

At the beginning of the study, the blood levels of all eight natural components of vitamin E were measured. People with higher blood levels were compared with those subjects who had lower blood levels. The scientists found that seniors with the higher blood levels of all the forms of vitamin E reduced their risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 45 to 54 percent, depending on the levels of specific components.

In addition, a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health found that Alzheimer’s patients who took vitamin E supplements slowed their decline in function.

5. Get enough magnesium
Studies have found that magnesium, a key nutrient in memory function, is essential for healthy brains. Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine found that a new synthetic magnesium supplement, magnesium-L-theronate (MgT) crosses the blood-brain barrier and helps both young and aging animals to improve memory. Animals given the supplement showed an improvement in cognitive functioning, and also illustrated an increase of synapses in the brain — nerve endings that carry memories from one part of the brain to the other.

Another study conducted by neuroscientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tsinghua University in Beijing also found MgT improved the ability to learn as well as enhanced both short-term and long-term memory. Foods with the highest levels of magnesium include barley, buckwheat flour, and raw oat bran.

6. Drink in moderation
A British study from the University of Teesside found that people who drank more than 10 drinks a week had 25 percent more everyday memory problems, such as missing appointments and forgetting birthdays. Researchers at Wellesley College in Massachusetts found that heavy drinking — more than 14 drinks each week — shrinks brains.

7. Load up on antioxidants
Antioxidants combat free radicals that damage the brain. According to the AARP, a series of studies showed that a diet rich in antioxidants (which include vitamins C and E and beta carotene) prevented or slowed age-related declines in learning. Also, a study from the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center found that when people in their 70s with age-related memory problems drank anti-oxidant-rich blueberry juice, they showed significant improvement on learning and memory tests. Many other berries and vegetables contain significant amounts of antioxidants.

8. Add some curry
Spice up your diet and boost your brain by having have an occasional Indian meal. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that seniors who ate an occasional meal that included curry had less cognitive decline, even if they ate the spice only twice a year.

9. Don’t smoke
A French study found that smoking was linked to developing cognitive problems in middle age and may speed the development of dementia. The link was strongest in those people who smoked more than 20 cigarettes a day. According to the Mayo Clinic, smokers have twice the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Even if you’ve smoked for years, stopping now can reduce your risk of memory problems. The researchers found that people who stopped smoking before the age of 53 had a slower loss of memory than those who continued to smoke.

10. Feed your brain fish
Studies found that DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a component of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, helps maintain brain function throughout life and may protect brains from the ravages of aging. The American Heart Association recommends eating brain-boosting fatty fish such as tuna, sardines, mackerel, and herring twice a week or taking 1 gram of omega-3 fish oil daily.