Social activities strengthen mental dexterity of person - GulfToday

Social activities strengthen mental dexterity of person


Avoid brain shrinkage by being socially active. Photo used for illustrative purposes. Kamal Kassim / Gulf Today

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

There is no “perfect” brain. Yet, a healthy one through the twilight years could be had.

Six ways, based on national to worldwide research works, have been “recommended in order of importance” by Medcare Hospital (Al Safa) Neurology consultant Dr. Anas Abdul Majeed, asked for tips on how to keep the brain healthy from childhood since one’s state of health in the senior years reflects the ingrained lifestyle.

The six tips demonstrate that brain health and over-all health are not disjointed from each other.

On how healthy the brain must be, Majeed replied: “The health of the brain is crucial for over-all well-being and optimal cognitive function. A healthy brain is essential for a range of activities, including learning, memory, problem-solving, emotional regulation, and physical coordination.”

“However, it is important to note that the concept of ‘perfect’ brain health can be challenging to define precisely because of genetics, lifestyle choices, and environmental factors,” he continued.

Meanwhile, the University of Queensland-Queensland Brain Institute (UQ-QBI) enumerated three reasons for the assiduous study of the brain.

According to the institute established in Australia in 2003 with the mission “to unlock the mysteries of normal and abnormal brain functions and to translate discoveries into new approaches for overcoming brain disorders” the deep interest on the brain must be continuously embraced for “unravelling how the brain works will help us understand the basis of human behaviour and actions” and that “while each brain is unique, all healthy human brains share the same basic structures and functions, it is the specific ways in which our brain cells communicate that makes each of us different, and this is influenced by both our genetics and our interactions with our environment.”

The brain consists of “thousands of types of interconnected brain cells.” Recording their respective and collective activities would result in more discoveries on “how a normal brain functions and how it can instantaneously create new thoughts, learn new things and recall memories” that subsequently “harnesses the knowledge to enhance brain function.”

The third reason is connected with the World Health Organisation (WHO) data revealing that through the ages, neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions have been spiking globally, with approximately 70 per cent of the burden in poor and developing nations as neurological conditions have become the leading cause of disability at an estimated nine million deaths annually.

Recent WHO records disclosed that stroke (42.2 per cent), migraine (16.3 per cent), dementia (10.4 per cent), meningitis (7.9 per cent), epilepsy (five per cent), Parkinson Disease, premature birth, neonatal encephalopathy and neuro-infections are the “largest contributors” to regional and global disabilities.

From the UQ-QBI: “Dealing with the tide of neurological diseases and disorders is one of the biggest challenges of our time. Neuroscience advances in the 21st century will revolutionise health care. To effectively treat brain diseases and disorders, including dementia, schizophrenia, depression, motor neuron disease and many others, we need to understand how the healthy brain functions and what makes these processes go awry.”

The six brain health tips from childhood, according to Majeed:

l Exercise several times each week for 30 minutes to one hour. It increases heart rate and blood flow to the brain which would stall the “natural reduction in brain connections that occur during ageing.”

l Sleep for seven to eight uninterrupted hours each day. If unable to, ask assistance from sleep doctors. “Some theories state that sleep helps clear abnormal proteins in your brain, and consolidates memories effectively, and boosts over-all memory and brain health.”

l Love the Mediterranean Diet, basically rich in plant-based ingredients, whole grains, fish and healthy fats like olive oil that prevents Alzheimer’s disease, builds up mental focus, and deter cognitive weakening.

l Stimulate the brain cells by reading, engaging in mental exercises such as crossword and jigsaw puzzles, and card games. “The brain is similar to our muscles. We need to use it or lose it. Do not watch too much TV as this is a passive activity and does little on the brain.”

l Remain socially active. “Research links solitary confinement to brain atrophy (brain cells loss and consequent shrinkage).

l Avoid both tobacco and alcohol; keep the arteries healthy because these channel blood to the brain.

It was World Brain Day last July 22.

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