My problem with this fairly large study is that in many cases, women in their fifties and sixties who have come to me complaining of loss of short term memory and/or brain fog have reported significant improvement when using either of two sophisticated nutrient and anti-inflammatory protocols. In fact clients can claim back product costs from both companies if they fail to experience a powerful enough response.
I don’t doubt the findings of lead author Arun S. Karlamangla, MD, (professor of medicine, Division of Geriatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA). However, it seems to me that given the reported reversal of cognitive challenges, the question should be why are they seeing these declines? In this study published in the January 2017 eddition of PLOS 1, the lead study author suggests it’s just a normal part of ageing but I rather suspect it’s a matter of reductions of capability in the brain’s support systems. The brain’s not a standalone system in its ivory tower. It’s a part of that wonderfully sophisticated integrated multi-directional feedback system known as the human body.
It’s already recognized that for most of us the gut which supplies all the needed building blocks for the brain become less efficient as we age. The same applies for the body and brain’s inflammation control systems. Both nutrient deficiencies and central nervous system inflammation have repeatedly been implicated in reduced cognitive capabilities.
As an Integrative therapist, my middle aged and older clients regularly use the above mentioned nutrient and anti-inflammatory programs. However, I’ve also seen a number of women in this post-menopausal age range who’ve been highly stressed by feeling trapped in the “sandwich generation”. Feeling responsible for aging parents, a partner and perhaps children still at home or otherwise needing their attention, they’re overwhelmed by feelings of guilt, incompetence, stress and burnout.
It’s estimated that 40% of the horsepower from the logic processing parts of the brain are regularly diverted to the minutia in our lives; what’s for supper, I need to pick up the kids, what I will wear tonight etc. When stress builds and the fight/flight/freeze process kicks in, blood flow is diverted away from these logical parts of the brain. This reduces the effective ability to perform mental tasks well adding additional stress; and so it goes. The brain chasing itself down a scary rabbit hole.
When coached in the effective use of the AAMET model of Emotional Freedom Techniques where the power of negative thoughts and emotions are neutralized before the positive is introduced, they’ve typically reported marked improvements in short term memory and/or brain fog.
Of course it’s great to have options available to address cognitive challenges, but let’s not forget the epigenetic impacts of our daily choices. Eating a Mediterranean type diet, getting adequate good quality sleep, regular exercise, mental stimulation through novel experiences and maintaining social contacts all go a long way to improving the odds of our brains aging well.
Here’s to good brain health.