Modern people suffer more and more from forgetfulness
What would you ask of a goldfish? Everyone has a sea of desires, but if you approach him wisely, then… he is the one to ask in the first place! Rather, he improves the functioning of the brain. Good memory, excellent concentration of attention, high efficiency – the dream of any person. What makes its implementation difficult? How to invigorate and heal your brain? The next issue of the KP series on a new healthy life is dedicated to these important topics. Most of us make a promise to start it, if not from the New Year, then from next Monday.
Our expert is the head of the Scientific and Clinical Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Botulinum Therapy of the Human Brain Institute. PUBLIC NOTARY. Bekhtereva Russian Academy of Sciences, Head of the Department of Neurology No. 2, Candidate of Medical Sciences Irina Milyukhina.
THE MYSTERY OF THE DESTRUCTION PROTEINS
– The number of neurodegenerative diseases is constantly increasing in the modern human population. With such ailments, the nerve cells of the brain gradually die, the doctor says. – Among the most famous are Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Symptoms of the latter were found even among the Egyptian pharaohs. The disease was described by the British paleontologist James Parkinson more than 200 years ago. But recently, science has been discovering new diseases of the central nervous system.
Why is the brain destroyed? The basis is the accumulation of incorrectly folded proteins, explains Irina Milyukhina. They form clots (aggregates) and literally rupture nerve cells from the inside. Having entered the intercellular space, they do not calm down and begin to attack healthy neurons. This behavior of the killer proteins seriously puzzles scientists. “Usually prions do this, one of the most mysterious entities in biology and medicine,” says the expert (prions are abnormal formations of proteins that behave like microorganisms. – Ed.).
Neurodegenerative diseases lead to dementia. Unfortunately, they are incurable. And even stopping brain degradation, if it has already started, is extremely difficult. But, on the other hand, there are effective and scientifically proven ways to reduce the threat of developing such diseases, Irina Milyukhina encourages. The good news is that these same techniques can also help improve brain performance in healthy people.
1. Do not start caries and other inflammations.
Any inflammation in the body increases the risk of brain cell death, the doctor warns. If a person has a lot of untreated cavities, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases several times. Herpes viruses, the flu, and the coronavirus can also contribute to brain degradation.
– Covid is expected to fuel the epidemic of neurodegenerative diseases. Nerve cells were among their targets, – notes Irina Milyukhina. – Once in the nasal mucosa, the coronavirus is capable of entering the brain through the threads of the olfactory nerve.
Vaccines are believed to reduce the threat. As well as compliance with security measures: distancing, use of medical masks and respirators in crowded places. With an exacerbation of herpes, you need to undergo treatment – this group of viruses is one of the few for which there are effective antiviral drugs.
2. The best diet for the brain
– It has been shown that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by almost 50%! – pleases the expert. – And this is only due to food.
First of all, antioxidants have a beneficial effect. They are rich in fruits and vegetables. “Blueberries are the most powerful product for protecting the brain, a real superfood,” notes Irina Milyukhina. Ideally, eat a cup of blueberries several times a week. Or cook fruit drinks from frozen berries.
Also, fish (better – sea), nuts, olive oil are useful for the brain. The coffee is great! But only not soluble, but freshly ground, the doctor specifies.
ON A NOTE
On the “black list” of foods that damage our brain, red meat, alcohol and sweets.
– Chinese researchers tested the quality of sleep of employees of a confectionery factory, – says Irina Milyukhina. – It turned out that the depth of sleep suffers from sweets. The phases are shortened when memory consolidation occurs. Redistribution of information between short-term and long-term memory storage areas is disrupted.
The fewer sweets in your diet, the better, the doctor advises. Alcohol has also been shown to impair memory. As for red meat, if you can’t completely replace it with fish or poultry, experts recommend eating barbecue or steak no more than a couple of times a week.
3. Sleep and stress
If you want to improve memory and concentration, you need to get enough sleep, says science. Studies on experimental animals have shown that during sleep, the brain is more actively cleaned of “garbage” that accumulates in the process of life. This reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other CNS diseases.
Chronic stress, unfortunately, not only prevents us from falling asleep, but also activates all inflammatory processes, increases the risk of developing brain-destroying diseases. Anxious-depressive syndrome, which can lead to stress, is especially dangerous, warns the doctor. And yes, this is not a myth: prolonged stress literally “knocks down” memory.
To do? Take all the measures that reduce stress, from meditation to visiting a doctor to choosing medications for anxiety disorders.
4. All for aerobics!
During life, part of the nerve cells in the brain are updated, says the expert. The best part is that one of the most active sites of neurogenesis is the hippocampus. It’s a memory zone!
According to research, aerobic physical activity contributes to the synthesis of nerve cells. That is: running, swimming, bicycling, skiing, skating, aerobics, brisk walking.
5. Learn languages
In one of the experiments, a group of volunteer intelligence officers studied a foreign language intensively, from scratch, 6 days a week. The second group – civilians, in the same regime were engaged in mathematics. The participants in the study underwent an MRI of the brain: at the beginning of the experiment and after almost a year. It turned out that those who studied languages markedly increased the volume of the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory. The “mathematicians” did not have tangible changes.
There is a hypothesis that more areas of the brain are involved when learning foreign languages than when studying other sciences.
6. Digital detox
– Due to the abundance of information, its endless flow, modern people increasingly suffer from concentration of attention, – explains Irina Milyukhina. – Information overload also damages memory. When you quickly scroll through social networks, the brain stops feeling the value of the incoming data. Analytical thinking deteriorates.
A neurologist supports the idea of a digital detox and gives the following advice:
– stop watching news and social networks for an hour and a half before bedtime;
– if possible, disconnect from the Internet on weekends;
– reduce the number of subscriptions on social networks. Choose the ones you really need, turn off the rest. Constantly popping and blinking messages distract and overload the brain.
7. We follow the analysis triad
The performance of the brain, including memory, seriously depends on blood circulation and the state of the blood vessels, emphasizes Irina Milyukhina. Doctors identify the three most important indicators that need to be monitored:
– blood pressure. If it exceeds 130/80 mm Hg, be sure to see a doctor;
– the level of total cholesterol in the blood. Norm – not more than 5.5 mmol / l;
– blood glucose level. Norm (on an empty stomach) – not more than 6 mmol / l.
“Elevator” from the gut to the brain
“In recent years, the brain-gut axis has been studied very actively,” says Irina Milyukhina. – Communication is bidirectional. It turned out that the gut microbiota is involved in the development of most brain diseases.
As it turned out, pathological agents (viruses, microbes, toxins) from the intestinal mucosa penetrate into the nerve plexuses, and then into the vagus (vagus) nerve. It connects the intestines with the brain. And disease-causing agents, like in an elevator, rise to our heads.
Therefore, it is very important that your stool is regular, pathogenic microflora and toxins do not remain in the intestines. Drink more water and eat fiber (vegetables, fruits), the doctor advises.