Study links busy schedules to better cognitive function

Posted at 1:51 PM, Dec 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-16 17:01:11-05

 Worried about your memory? A new study says staying busy may improve your memory.

How does staying busy help with memory?
Looks like having a long “to-do list” may not be so bad after all.  330 adults between the ages of 50 and 89 took part in the Dallas Lifespan Brain Study. Researchers found the participants with a busy lifestyle had better cognitive function compared with those who lead a less busier lifestyle. 

Can you explain what is cognitive health?
Cognitive health is not just about memory, it’s also decision-making, the ability to learn new things, and includes judgement, language and intuition.  When cognition is impaired, you have trouble with these processes and this can affect the things you can do in your everyday life.

What causes cognitive decline?
We all know about Alzheimer's disease and dementia, but other conditions like stroke and traumatic brain injury can cause cognitive impairment as well.   Also medication side effects, vitamin B12 deficiency and depression can lead to cognitive challenges and these may be treatable.

Roughly 16 million Americans are living with some form of cognitive impairment.  Be your own health hero – take steps to protect your brain health. Start by…

Partha’s RX
1. Being Physically Active
Exercise increases blood flow to the area in the brain that’s responsible for memory.

2. Reduce stress and get to the root of any depression
Otherwise you’ll be more likely to suffer with cognitive problems later on.

3. Take Care of Your Heart
Quit smoking, cut back on salt, and watch your alcohol intake

4. Keep Your Mind Active
Stimulate your brain by playing card games, solving puzzles, attending workshops or become a student again - sign up for community college courses.

What signs should we look out for?
People of all ages can experience cognitive impairment.  Watch for memory loss, asking the same questions repeatedly, not recognizing familiar people and places or difficulty carrying out tasks.  Some causes of cognitive impairment are treatable, so see your doctor for an evaluation if you suspect cognitive decline.