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The main thing, guys, is not to grow old with your brain! Smart tips for your brain from neurologist Viktor Kholin (Part II)

The main thing, guys, is not to grow old with your brain! Smart tips for your brain from neurologist Viktor Kholin (Part I)
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Photo: mozok.ua

 

This person knows everything about our brain: about its structure, functions and even some secrets. Especially about how to make sure that the mind does not fail with age. After all, the older we get, the more the quality of our life depends on the state of the brain.

The secrets of how to prolong his youth are shared with the readers of the almanac by the neurologist Viktor Kholin, head of the department of clinical research at the Institute of Gerontology named after V.I. Chebotarev National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine.

 

Read Part I

 

SOME RECOMMENDATIONS

 

The diet

 

Perhaps the healthiest and most balanced diet is the so-called Mediterranean diet, which contains an optimal ratio of proteins, fats and carbohydrates (20/30/50). This diet has been well studied to date. It has been proven that it not only reduces the likelihood of heart attack and stroke, but also protects our brain from cognitive aging.

The adherents of the Mediterranean diet recorded the level of cognitive functions well above average. Among the products that reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, we can name a completely familiar everyday drink to us – coffee. If you do not have contraindications, such as hypertension, then in order to prevent cognitive impairment, you can drink up to 4 cups a day.

You can and even should drink wine. In small doses, it is good for the brain: no more than 1 glass a day for women and 2 glasses for men. On the other hand, higher doses of alcohol harm the brain, reducing the volume of white matter and causing negative changes in cognitive function.

You should also not get carried away with sugar and sugary carbonated drinks. Sugar sticks together our proteins, preventing them from performing important functions for the body. From dairy products, milk marked “A2” is recommended, which is taken from a breed of cows with a special genotype. It is well absorbed by the adult body.

In addition, you should pay attention to “Gerolakt” – a fermented milk product that contains bacteria that have a positive effect on our body. Sometimes the new is the well-forgotten old. “Gerolakt” was developed back in the Soviet Union after studying the intestinal microflora of Abkhaz centenarians. At one time, the patent was transferred to Europe, where it became incredibly popular. We can say that now in the post-Soviet space “Gerolakt” is experiencing a rebirth.

 

Stress and drugs

 

If we make a psychological portrait of people who have passed the age limit of 90 years, we will see that they are quite calm, benevolent, balanced people. Longevity is incompatible with emotional overload. It does not mean that a person can live their entire life without facing psychological or physical trauma.

It’s not about the traumatic experience itself, but about our emotional response to it. If genetics is difficult to correct, then we are quite capable of developing certain personality traits. In terms of their importance, the skills of coping with stress, the ability to control and manage their emotional states are on a par with physical activity, diet and vitamins.

But it must be remembered that relieving stress with drugs is a dangerous illusion. Scientists who have studied the effects of cannabinoids on a young, healthy body have found that people who regularly use marijuana for 5 years are at a constant risk of developing psychosis.

That is, having situationally smoked weed, a person, perhaps, calms down. But even the slightest stress can subsequently lead to the fact that he “goes off the rails”. And this is doubly dangerous, because it is impossible to predict such a breakdown.

 

Physical activity

 

Just 15 minutes of physical activity every day will extend your life by 3 years. After age 50, 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity are optimal. The options here can be very different. For some it is swimming, for others it is jogging or yoga.

 

Education

 

Reducing the effects of brain aging requires continual learning — not just in early childhood, but throughout life. The brain is created by evolution in such a way as to constantly learn something new. Therefore, it is important to be able to switch from the familiar everyday life to something else. Changing activities, pursuing a hobby, traveling, discovering new creative possibilities.

New impressions form new patterns in the brain. If we are in the same place, every day the same picture is in front of us, then the same networks work in our brain, and new ones are not formed. As a result, these networks get tired, wear out and stop producing normal results. Receiving new impressions, switching attention, we give neural networks the opportunity to rest and recover.

 

Hypoxic training

 

Hypoxic interval training helps to develop them well. It was first used in the Soviet Union to prepare athletes for participation in the Olympics in the South American highlands.

In order to adapt to the highlands in a short period of time, a person was put on a special mask into which an air mixture with different oxygen concentrations was alternately supplied, simulating either climbing the mountains or descending to sea level.

We noted that the procedure improves cognitive functions: short-term memory, attention and general processing. Now there are, including in Ukraine, modern devices, with the help of which any person can undergo hypoxic training in order to improve brain function.

 

Gadgets

 

The brain and gadgets are a topic for another big conversation. But a short recommendation might look like this. If, working with the phone, you are really learning something new, it is good for the brain. But if you have completely delegated all the functions of memorizing and processing information to a computer and a smartphone, then you are depriving your brain of the chance to “grow wiser”.

Back in the 1980s, when calculators came into fashion all over the world, a study of the abilities of schoolchildren was conducted in Japan. Children who began to count exclusively on a calculator, and not in their minds, for several years lost their mathematical thinking skills, the cognitive functions of their brains deteriorated.

 

Early detection of diseases

 

At one time, medicine believed that dementia was inevitable in old age. The latest research shows that this is not the case and 80% of it can be prevented. The aging process of the brain is successfully corrected through physical activity, Mediterranean diet, blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels. So don’t wait for the first signs of dementia to appear.

Conduct a comprehensive study in advance – not only of cognitive function, but also of the cardiovascular system, lungs, and pancreas. Having identified weaknesses, a specialized medical specialist will develop for you an individual program for the prevention of dementia and other diseases. According to statistics, 70% of cases of dementia are preventable.

The paradoxical feature of aging is that it does not follow an “average” scenario: a person either physically grows decrepit or loses memory. Therefore, people with Alzheimer’s disease are physically very healthy.

Those who could qualify for the “middle”, as a rule, die of heart attacks and strokes much earlier, before reaching dementia and Alzheimer’s. Early detection of diseases and prevention are especially relevant after 50, because they open up a unique opportunity for a person to remain full-fledged in old age, both physically and mentally.

 

Taking pills

 

There is a simple rule: if nothing bothers you, you do not need to take pills. Medication for the brain is only appropriate for certain symptoms. For example, with burnout syndrome resulting from mental or psychological overload at work.

Also, problems can occur as a result of a severely transferred infectious disease, the same COVID-19. We must remember about the insidiousness of this virus. Even if you had a mild covid, then within 6 months after recovery there is an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, peripheral disorders of neuromuscular transmission.

Among other things, postcoid syndrome has a bad effect on memory and performance – an increased concentration of toxic proteins in the brain destroys our nerve cells. Therefore, at the first warning symptoms, you should visit your doctor and he will prescribe adequate medication to protect your brain and prevent the risk of developing dementia in the future.

 

Biohacking

 

Biohacking, as a philosophy, originated in the IT environment, which really boasts the ability to successfully solve a number of human problems.

Representatives of the community decided to turn their attention to the problems of biology and medicine with the belief that with the help of algorithms and approaches they are familiar with, they can just as effectively hack Human Nature as programs and applications, while obtaining the expected result.

This philosophy decided to use and marketers from the field of biomedicine, trying to give (sell) wishful thinking. Therefore, while biohacking today is more of an idea than a reliable, effective and safe practical medical technology.

Although, of course, a number of concepts that successfully work in IT can be adopted by biomedical science and, moreover, are already successfully used in it. Genome editing is one such technology. It is known that a number of rather rare forms of pathologies are associated with the work or malfunction of one single gene.

In this case, indeed, using genome editing technology, you can get the desired result. However, aging and associated diseases are often associated with the work of a large number of genes and complex interactions of the latter with the environment.

At present, researchers do not have a detailed map or guide to describe such interactions yet. However, it does not stop some active biohacking apologists. In the classical scientific and medical paradigm, new methods should be not only effective, but also safe for human health.

Therefore, along with the pursuit of amazing results, biohacking interventions are not always evaluated in terms of their safety and possible harm from a particular procedure.

Biohacking today has become a fashionable, “hype” word, and before using the services of such hackers, carefully think about the pros and cons.

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