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Diet and Exercise
Physical and Cognitive Stimulation
The benefits of physical and cognitive stimulation for brain health are now well-documented. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “exercise invigorates, and enlivens all the faculties of body and of mind…It spreads a gladness and satisfaction over our minds and qualifies us for every sort of business, and every sort of pleasure.
UCI MIND researchers have been at the forefront of demonstrating that exercise promotes brain health, improves brain function and can reverse memory deficits in mice with Alzheimer’s disease. Turns out that physical exercise increases the production of a key brain nutrient called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which becomes reduced in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. As individuals age, the connections between neurons, or synapses, are lost. Research shows that physical and cognitive stimulation increase these critical connections, enhancing brain function. So keep active, and don’t forget the results described above indicating that individuals 90 and older who had difficulty performing physical activities like walking had greatly increased odds of having dementia.