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Learning New Things

Want to stay sharp as you get older?  Learn at least three new things a day,  get a good night’s sleep and maybe take a pass on the supplements.   These are just some of the findings from new studies looking into any possible links between aging and cognitive decline. 

While I will admit to having a bit of ‘study fatigue’ when it comes to these things, I also admit I still pay attention to them.  I think that’s because I’m hopeful. I’m eager for insights into the aging process and how to make it better. Without question, not every study is ground-breaking, but most every study has something interesting to offer.

So, these three new ones, here we go:

  • Fascinating stuff out of the University of California Riverside which suggests seniors who actively seek out opportunities to learn or study not one or two but several new things every day create a huge and positive change to their cognitive function.   It says that learning new things simultaneously and routinely seems to get the brain firing on all cylinders.  Learn a new language for instance, maybe just a new word every day, while also mastering a favourite craft and then reading about a topic that interests you.  The secret the researchers say, is to be like a child, be a sponge! Take in as much as you can, as often as you can. Your brain will thank you. 
  • One good night’s sleep doesn’t make up for the two lousy nights that came before, according to a pilot project study out of Georgia Tech’s School of Psychology.   Good sleep patterns and consistency seem to play a big role in memory function.   You can’t ‘make up’ lost sleep. When it comes to seniors, sleep and brain health, the study indicates routine is key.
  • When it comes to supplements and vitamins  claiming to boost or maintain your aging brain’s function, some researchers say save your money.  With the exception of vitamin B12 and perhaps some Omega 3 fatty acid supplements, the American Association of Retired Persons researchers say any vitamins and/or nutrients that might be helpful in preserving brain health should be consumed as food, not supplements

So, there we go, a few new ideas to discuss with family, friends and by all means with your health care providers.   Studies on aging, I say keep them coming because one could offer a bit of information or a new way of thinking that could change your life.  Anything and everything that helps us make life better, as we get older and better, I say bring it on!

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