Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

January 17, 2014

The brain needs mental stimulation

What was his name? Why did I come into this room? What was I doing?

Many of us have probably asked at least one of these questions recently.

As we deal with our daily responsibilities, we may also have trouble keeping track of and remembering everything that needs to be done.

Julie Ackley of Trilogy Health Services, Louisville, Ky., who deals with life enrichment support, presented "Keep Your Brain Healthy" Jan. 13 at the Southeastern Indiana YMCA. She offered tips on how to exercise this vital organ and keep it healthy.

"There are 100 billion neurons in the average brain, and 85,000 are lost every day. That's kind of scary when you think about all that brain power being lost, but you can build more .... You can also change your IQ. It is not predetermined from early childhood. You can always learn more," she said.

"Our brain health has become more and more a topic of discussion in the last five or 10 years. When Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, it kind of woke people up."

Some of the 50 attendees wanted to know the difference between Alzheimer's and dementia. She explained, "Think of a big umbrella. That's dementia. Under it are many different kinds of it, including Alzheimer's."

Ackley announced, "In your 20s, the brain starts to lose some of its capacity. You are sharpest in your 20s, and then there's a gradual age-related decline. Because it's so gradual, you don't really notice it."

How can one determine if memory loss is age related or not? "If something is impeding or across multiple contexts and it is difficult to complete daily activities, then you want" to get checked by a health care professional to see if it is a form of dementia.

"With someone who has Alzheimer's, you will see short-term memory loss and will sometimes notice personality changes or loss of ambitions because the frontal lobe (of the brain) is diseased." That is the part "that controls impulses and may cause persons to act out more or have difficulty finding words.

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