Mental Health: Inside Depression

In this video, you’ll learn about depression which is one of the largest mental health diseases. Depression affects more than 350 million worldwide.

It was originally thought that depression was due a lack of the brain’s feel good chemical called serotonin. But while this may play a role, researchers now believe that the problem goes deeper.

There could also be an issue with the cell connections in the brain. Further, depressed people tend to have a smaller hippocampus. It’s a part of the brain that affects memory and emotion. The hoppocampus tends to shrink the longer someone is depressed. Stress seems to be a big factor in this event.

But the good news is that when stress subsides, the hippocampus will regenerate and grow.

Many people are pre-disposed to depression because studies indicate that there is a genetic marker.

Ultimately, depression is a serious disease with a biological basis. It’s much more than someone waking up sad one day and just needing a pep talk. Watch this video to get the full story.

The Type of Activity that Improves Memory

improve memoryOne of the key aspects of our brains that we pray never leaves us is memory. Of course, memory can be impacted with the onset of dementia or Alzheimers disease as some of us age. Loss of memory is a scary proposition.

My mom, who is 76 is always online flexing her memory muscles by completing different types of puzzles online and playing games. But stories put forth by other family members indicate that she does have memory lapses.

There have been a variety of how-to books written and courses sold on the topic of improving one’s memory.

I’ve also read that exercising regularly helps with memory. After all, exercising keeps fresh oxygenated blood flowing to the brain. In addition, exercising requires mental focus and agility to make sure you accomplish the tasks at hand.

So it raises the question. Which is better for improving memory, mental activity or physical activity?

Go ahead, take a guess.

Ok, here’s the scoop. First of all, there have not been many studies performed to arrive at a definitive answer. But in a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a group older citizens were put to the test.

They were divided into 4 groups. The first group performed intensive mental and physical activities. Group two performed intensive mental work, but only light physical activity. Group three watched educational videos and did intensive physical exercise. Finally, group four watched videos and performed light stretching activity.

So which group do you think had better memory improvement after 12 weeks?

I’ll bet you said, it’s the group that went all out with intensive mental and physical activities. You’d be right, sort of.

What the researchers actually found is that all of the groups experienced memory improvement, and the level of improvement between them was not significant.

Based on this limited study. the conclusion was that your memory can improve by stimulating the brain using either or both types of activities.

But in another study of individuals in their 70’s showed that physical exercise prevents the brain from shrinking and developing certain brain lesions that are associated with dementia.

Again, there has not been a whole lot of research done in this area. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of some of the benefits that have been uncovered.

As I mentioned, exercise protects the brain. What this means is that you should put your body in motion. If you aren’t impaired, then find an exercise program that’s right for you. Then get to where you’re averaging 30 minutes of exercise daily.

On top of that, do crossword puzzles and play games to keep your brain and mind agile, and maintain good mental health.

But the thing to remember is that you should do these things consistently. Doing them once a week will do you no good.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Use it or lose it.”. Yes, I’m talking about your brain and its amazing abilities.

Overview of Alzheimer’s Disease

Did you know that every four seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease? According to this video, it’s true. Not only that, Alzheimer’s affects over 40 million people worldwide.

You would think that with so many people impacted there would be something close to a cure or at least and effective treatment. But sadly, that’s not the case and the problem is only getting worse.

Alzheimer’s disease was discovered in 1901. It results when certain plaques and tangles work in tandem to breakdown the brain’s structure.

The first sign of Alzheimer’s is usually short memory loss. But as it progresses, patient will lose the ability to reason and will have erratic mood swings. There can even be paranoia and hallucinations.

In the final stages of Alzheimer’s, long term memories will be erased. And then the parts of the brain that control breathing and heart rate will be impacted, which leads to death.

Lower Your Blood Sugar to Help Ward Off Dementia

Dementia is a term that is used to describe a loss of mental and emotional capacities. This can include a loss in memory and intelligent reasoning.

But if you’re concerned about not being in control of your mental faculties later in life, this article might bring you a bit of hope.

In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, it was discovered that anyone with high-levels of blood sugar could be at risk for developing dementia. This is new because prior studies linked dementia to diabetes. But now you may not have to be a diabetic to succumb.

blood sugar

You may have noticed that I used terms such as “at risk” and “may”. That’s because the study is preliminary. It involved recording the blood sugar levels of people who were over 76 years old and didn’t have diabetes.

However, the researchers found that as a person’s blood sugar level increased, the greater the risk of having dementia. Again, for now this is all a nice theory based on preliminary information.

But I think it’s wise to maintain keep a low blood sugar level for a number of reasons. First of all, if it’s low, you probably won’t develop diabetes. And second, it will be good for your overall health.

Now, if your blood sugar level is currently high, there are some things that you can do to bring it down. If you’re over weight, you should lose enough pounds so that you are at the recommended weight for your body type and age. If you’re not certain of your ideal weight, your doctor can help with that.

The next thing that you can do is to exercise. I know, I know…it sound like a hassle. But exercise has always been a good thing. If you can squeeze in 30 minutes per day for exercising such as brisk walking, you’ll be ahead of the game.

I can appreciate that you may currently be carrying a few more pounds than you’d like and 30 minutes of intense activity could be a bit much. No worries. Do what you can. Get up and go.

Heck, you could walk up and down stairs, rather than take the elevator or escalator. Or, walk around the interior of your local mall.

Over time, you’ll be able to pick up the pace.

Finally, you should watch what you eat. This is tied to losing weight, but there are some specific foods that can directly spike your blood sugar. These should be avoided all together.

– white rice
– white bread
– sugary drinks
– alcohol
– red meat
– fast foods
– packaged baked goods

Instead, consume more fresh fruits and vegetables. Pay attention to what’s on food labels. If you can’t understand all the additives and preservatives that are going into your body, you should probably avoid them.

By doing these things, you stand a much better chance of living a longer life on your own terms without any long term continuous help from others. Good luck and good health.