“I did yes” – you answer.
“Will you brush them again this evening? – I ask.
“I will of course” – you answer, looking at me like I’m a bit mad.
“So what did you do for your brain health today?” – I ask.
And you look at me like maybe I’m not the crazy one in this conversation.
Take comfort you are not alone most people score 100% on dental health and 0% on brain health. How crazy is that? Of course you need your teeth to eat, speak and smile so they are super important but you need your brain for everything, and I mean everything. There is not one thing that you can do without your brain. You can’t read this blog, you can’t sit up, come to think of it you can’t even brush your teeth without your brain.
So brain health matters.
You were obviously a smart kid, because you grasped the complex concept of investment at a very young age – time spent now reaps future benefits. You developed a dental health habit that includes daily brushing because you know that the time that you invest in brushing your teeth today extends the life of your teeth, protecting against tooth decay and dental pain in the future. You know that other activities like flossing, dental visits and diet offer further protection.
As a grown-up you came to understand that even if you do everything that you are supposed to your investment doesn’t come with an absolute guarantee but rather reduces the risk of pain and delays the onset of decay. Nonetheless, you learned that the benefits are well worth the time invested.
The same applies to brain health.
Certain activities offer protection against decline in brain function in later life while some lifestyle factors increase your risk of developing diseases that affect brain function such as Alzhimer’s Disease and other dementias. The important take home message is that key lifestyle changes and activities that reduce risk or offer protection can easily be incorporated into your daily routine.
However, as is the case with dental health, developing good brain health habits is not an absolute guarantee but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that it is definitely a worthwhile investment if you fancy holding on to important brain functions like memory for as long as possible.
If you answered yes to my third question above, well done you are already ahead of the posse. If you answered no you might be wondering why there is a sudden focus on brain health. Well there are currently more than 35.6 million people living with dementia in the world today and that figure is set to double by 2020 and triple by 2050. Thats 1 new case every 4 seconds. These prevalence predictions and the absence of a cure make prevention imperative. Delaying the onset of dementia by 5 years would give rise to a 50% reduction in the number of cases of the disease. Focusing on brain health as a means of prevention is a legitimate evidence based approach
This blog series will give you some brain basics so that you can get a head start on brain health.
Next in the Brain Health Matters Blog series:
Did you know that your brain is constantly changing, your behaviours and experience can help shape it at any age?
- Brain Health Matters 2: Decline is not inevitable
- Brain Health Matters 3: Your brain is plastic
- Brain Health Matters 4: Resilience and Reserves
- Brain Health Matters 5: Risk and Protection
Young or old this blog series is for you, because it’s never too early or to late to think about brain health. Its not rocket science but it is neuroscience. Click the Follow button in the side-bar to get all four blogs direct to your inbox.
Top Tips for Brain Health 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5