Earlier this summer I attended an engaging lecture given by Charles M. Reynolds, III, MD, a professor of Geriatric Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
In his talk, Brain Health As You Age: You Can Make a Difference, Dr. Reynolds discussed information aging and the changes that occur in the brain. He also highlighted an Institute of Medicine report, Cognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action (available to download as a PDF).
While Dr. Reynolds pointed out that each person differs in some ways from every other individual, he described the steps that people can take that may protect the brain as it ages.
These steps include:
- Stopping any smoking habits
- Avoiding over-consumption of alcohol
- Monitoring, along with a health provider, the medicines taken to understand how they interact.
- Exercising and taking steps to minimize the possibility of falls
- Getting good quality sleep
- Treating depression
Dr. Reynolds also described the results of a number of research studies, noting, however, that everyone who reads these studies should understand the difference between findings that identify causation and those that make an association. If you do not understand these two concepts, please read my post, Causation vs. Association – the Basics.