Protecting your Brain from Cognitive Decline

The risk for dementia is 10 percent in people 65 years or older and nears 50 percent by the age of 85, experts say. Credit China Photos/Getty Images

Do you have a normal brain? With all the hype lately about mental cognitive declines and Alzheimer’s disease, we have to decide sometimes what is normal, and what is abnormal.

At the Center for Brain-Mind medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, they have listed a few things as memory lapses that should not be classified as memory loss. They list some things that are normal and should not be the cause of alarm. I was worried when I read them because, at my age, you never know.

One. You sometimes cannot think of the right words to say in a conversation.

Two. You have good judgment and can make decisions with no problems in the majority of decisions.

Three. Being a little absent-minded but not continuously.

Four. A tendency to forget facts over some time.

Five. You have good judgment and decision choices.

Six. You may not recall something in a detailed storyline or long-term dissertation.

Seven. Your mood, worry, or prejudices may experience some forgetfulness in a story or conservation.

Eight. You may not remember names when you first hear them, or multiple names if introduced in a group.

Nine. You still have good control of words and directions.

The good news is that the brain is capable of growing new brain cells. Physical exercise and brain exercises stimulate new brain cell development. Best of all, a great brain diet, physical and mental exercises, crossword puzzles, research of subjects, and music signal brain cells to act like stem cells and produce neural pathways and cellular growth. This new cell growth and neural pathway production are called “neurogenesis.” In these instances, the brain can develop alternate pathways and increase the brain’s neural function. There is no question that these exercises help prevent and reverse cognitive decline. Those facts stimulated me to do three more hours of research today using my brain to write this bulletin.

According to the World Health Organization, 20 percent of adults over 60 years old suffer from some type of neurological disorder. Four percent of adults over 60 have enough mental decline that it interferes with their daily tasks. Other factors that affect this group are isolation, loneliness, psychological disorders, illness, depression, and lack of exercise. As the lack of physical exercise decreased in older people, the amount of cognitive decline increased.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Fifty percent of lifetime mental illness cases begin as early as 14 years old. Seventy-five percent by the age of 24. They found that fifty percent of children 14 and older, that have mental illness will drop out of high school.

The World Health Organization estimated that worldwide, the amount of money spent on mental health care in 2015 amounted to over 6 trillion dollars.

There are many tasks that older people can do if they are starting to forget basic things like losing their car or home keys, forgetting their phone number, leaving their stove burners on, tap water running, forgetting what they are in a room looking for, forgetting their neighbor’s name, putting butter in the pantry, etc. A very important function is for a wife, relative, or close friend to know the extent of early decline and direct those afflicted to a physician, naturopath, or health professional. These professionals can zero in on changes in a person’s diet, low blood sugar, building up the ketones and lactic acid in a person’s body, physical exercise, mental exercise, social interaction, musical playing, singing, or listening, social interaction, sleep, rest, etc.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), All children age two and older should participate in at least 60 minutes of enjoyable, moderate-intensity physical exercises every day. If they can’t get 60 minutes of consecutive exercise, It can be broken down into 30 or 15 minute periods.

Adults, with or without mental decline, should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise per week. This can be met with 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise 5 days a week, or 20 to 60 vigorous-intensity exercises 3 to 4 days a week. The AHA stated that the older population over 65 should follow the same guidelines as other younger adults.

Helping people with motivation to include physical and mental exercise is a wonderful, great, and very helpful deed. Professionals should include these exercise rules in their office handouts to help prevent physical and mental decline. There are many great benefits of exercise, and many adults are very lax in getting any exercise at all.

I just read a great article entitled, “7 mind-blowing benefits of physical and mental exercise.” Most physical exercise improves blood flow to the body and brain, improves muscle strength, improves neuron cognitive function, and slows mental cognitive decline. For adults, these can be playing tennis, taking dancing lessons, dancing, brisk walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, going up and downstairs, gym machines, lifting moderate weights, basketball, soccer, stretching, yoga, and more that I cannot think of at the moment. They also can get a dog. Dogs need exercise every day and can be the best motivator for adult brisk walking.

Mental cognitive exercises are lacking in many of the retired and older adults in the U.S. Canada, and England. With the help of information on mental and cognitive decline, this tragedy has been at the forefront of the news lately.

The brain is very underutilized. We only operate with less than 50 percent of our brain. There is a pathway called “plasticity,” where regular BRAIN EXERCISES set up growth factors. This process can reverse and/or prevent cognitive decline. Most of all, it improves cognitive function and prevents brain shrinking in older adults.

There are many ways that a person can overcome strokes, diabetes, heart disease, and cognitive decline. I mentioned that a great electromagnetic diet is very helpful., but MENTAL EXERCISES are also critically important for older adults. When a stroke or accident blocks certain brain functions, professionals use mental exercises to help repair neuron and axon damage, make new brain cells, and improve brain function. People WITH OR WITHOUT MENTAL COGNITIVE DECLINE should adhere to the same practices and use mental exercises every day to keep their brains alert, prevent brain shrinkage, and improve cognitive thinking. One great mental exercise is doing crossword puzzles. Others are playing cards, playing music with and/or without notes, reading, doing research, knitting, sewing, embroidering, putting puzzles together, doing math in a person’s mind, creating, or doing a hobby. Social interaction with other adults also is a great cognitive mental booster.

February 12, 2022

~ the Author ~
Merle E. Loudon, B.S., D.D.S. graduated from the University Of Washington School Of Dentistry in 1957. After two years of service in the Air Force, he started a private practice in East Wenatchee, Washington. For the past 45 years his practice has included Orthodontics and TM Dysfunction treatment specializing in temporomandibular pain treatment, headache, head and neck pain control, functional jaw orthopedics, and straight wire orthodontics. Associated with mercury elimination, oral surgery, crowns and bridges is TMJ treatment, diet control, parasite elimination, intestinal cleansing and healing (wellness).

Merle E. Loudon, B.S., D.D.S. has taught advanced courses for dentists on TM Dysfunction treatment, orthodontics and related pain control for more than 30 years. In 1972 he was the first dentist in Washington to use straight wire orthodontics and the first dentist to correct vertical deficiencies in children by placing vertical dimension-primary molar buildups and/or vertical (erupting) appliances. Merle E. Loudon, B.S., D.D.S. was involved with the first group of dentists to recognize lateral tongue splinting in young infants and integrate functional and fixed techniques to correct vertical dimension deficiencies and condylar placement. He is the originator of vertical dimension-primary molar build ups, which help to correct deep bites and Otitus media in children. He invented the Loudon-Chateau Anterior Repositioning Appliance, the functional muscle malocclusion concept, the twelve commandments of occlusion and the vertical overbite domino rule. Merle E. Loudon, B.S., D.D.S. has written numerous articles in several American and foreign dental journals and has lectured in over 50 cities and 7 foreign countries on functional jaw orthopedics, fixed wire orthodontics, Otitus media treatment and TM Dysfunction treatment. He has been instrumental in setting up criteria for teaching in the International Association For Orthodontics, including the certified instructor program.

Dr. Loudon is a member of The American Dental Association, Diplomat and Senior Instructor in the International Association for Orthodontics, and is a Diplomat of the American Academy of Pain Management. He also is a member of the American Orthodontic Society.