Blog: The Brain Dialogues, filtered by tag: Dementia prevention

Can an Old Dog Learn New Tricks? Neuroplasticity and Improving Your Memory in Older Adulthood

DR NICOLE KOCHAN, PhD It is common thinking that as we age our memory function deteriorates.  But over the past 20 years, research indicates that even the older brain has a degree of plasticity.  This means that the brain has the ability to make new connections between its neurons (or brain cells) in response to various types of stimulation or learning experiences, which in turn can help improve memory and other cognitive skills.  It has also been shown that older adults who regularly engage in complex mental activities have a lower risk of dementia.  The more, the better! Based on current… Read More

Positive Ageing

PROFESSOR HENRY BRODATY and PROFESSOR PERMINDER SACHDEV In historical times, the elderly were highly revered.  Wisdom and knowledge were respected and ageing was seen as a positive experience.  Over the decades, our opinion of ageing has shifted and certainly in parts of the first-world ageing has become a loaded term.  ‘Being old’ is sometimes associated – particularly by many of the younger generation - with health issues and decline.  From the perspective of everyone at the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), it’s time to stop that trend and re-think the meaning of ageing.  Positive… Read More

What is Successful Ageing?

PROFESSOR PERMINDER SACHDEV, MD, PhD "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?"  Satchel Paige (1906-1982) A great demographic change of the last century has been the ageing of our population.  The good news is that we are increasingly living to an older age.  At present, about 15% of Australians are aged 65 years or over, and this proportion is likely to be nearly 25% by the middle of the century.  A girl born today can expect to live to the age of 94 years and a boy to the age of about 92 years.  An increasing number of older people are over the age of 80 years, which is… Read More

Grow Your Brain

NICOLA GATES, PhD A lifetime of engaging enriching activities has been shown to delay the onset of cognitive decline and dementia. Therefore growing or building up your brain through new experiences gives you credits to reduce possible deterioration. Brain reserve is a concept to describe a brain’s physical and physiological robustness and resilience against disease and trauma. High reserve is due to the growth of more neurons, more synapses, greater connections and neuronal networks. Cognitive reserve is a related idea to describe how a lifetime of cognitive effort through education,… Read More
16 Apr 2014

The Good-ish News About Alzheimer's Disease

ADELE HORIN Of all the things Australians fear, cancer is number one and dementia is number two. For me the order is reversed. I’ve had cancer (radiation, chemotherapy, lumpectomy). I’ve seen people die of cancer. It’s not easy or pretty. But I’ve also seen people die slowly of dementia – whether Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia, it doesn’t matter. Dementia holds a particular horror because it robs people of their intellect, their personality, their memory, their speech, their essential self. Cancer sufferers, on the other hand, remain recognisably themselves through the experience,… Read More
20 Jan 2014

Exercising the Mind

CHeBA Blog: Exercising the Mind
CHeBA Champion, Stephanie Campbell with her grandparents
STEPHANIE CAMPBELL, CHeBA CHAMPION (FITNESS AMBASSADOR FOR CHeBA) I’m jogging up a ridiculously steep street in Sydney’s leafy, bayside suburb of Mosman. My knees ache, my quads are burning, and my lungs hurt from straining for air. No point pretending – I hate uphill. Forehead glistening with sweat, I grit my teeth and finally reach the crest, attempting to breathe through a massive stitch in my side as I take the pace back down to a steady walk to recover. The oversized Garmin fitness watch strapped to my left wrist bleeps encouragingly at me to signal I’ve covered another kilometre, and… Read More

Ageing Well - Living Healthier

PROFESSOR HENRY BRODATY, MD, PhD Prevention We all become slower and more forgetful as we age, some of us more than others. When this change is accelerated and interferes with a variety of thinking or cognitive abilities and interferes with our day to day functioning, this is diagnosed as dementia, of which the most common type is Alzheimer’s disease. Surveys of the population indicate that dementia in general and Alzheimer’s in particular, along with cancer, are the health problems that we generally fear most. Rightly so! As we are living longer the chances of developing a dementia… Read More