By Richard P. Brown, MD and Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD
Have you noticed your memory is not quite as reliable as it once was? You’re not alone. Most adults lose 1 to 2 percent of their memory capacity every year. Age-associated memory impairment (AAMI), has no connection to a specific disease or condition. It affects nearly 6% of the total population and 18.5% of people over age 50. With advancing years, this number climbs higher, with about 40% of those between ages 60 and 78 showing signs of AAMI.
Age-associated cognitive impairment (AACI) refers to decreases in our abilities to think, analyze and understand complex information, solve problems, and process information quickly and accurately. These changes are usually slow and considered to be ‘normal’ aspects of aging, as opposed to indicators of dementia.
[There are many supplements and practices you can use] to protect and improve brain function. Combining these methods can protect or restore brain function for individuals with age-related changes, vascular dementia, other forms of dementia, post-stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s Disease, or other causes. Certain treatments can also enhance brain function for those dealing with intense academic or work demands.
Age is only one of many causes in the loss of cognitive and memory functions. Our genes, environment, diet, lifestyle, health status and even the medications we take affect how well our brain works from infancy to old age. We can’t change our genes, nor can we completely eliminate exposure to environmental toxins, but we can do something about many of the other factors that influence brain function.
Fortunately, certain herbs (eg. Rhodiola rosea), antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, melatonin, nootropics (substances that restore and maintain brain cells), and mind-body practices can help prevent, delay and, in many cases, reverse damage to neurons.
Maintaining healthy habits—good sleep, nutrition, brain-stimulating activities, and exercise are the foundation for brain health. Learning about the best supplements and other methods to protect against the effects of stress, toxins, aging, and illness can enhance and optimize brain wellness.
Adapted from How to Use Herbs, Nutrients and Yoga in Mental Health by Richard P. Brown, MD and Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD (W.W. Norton and Co., 2009).
Richard P. Brown, MD, is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at New York Medical College.
Get Smart Naturally: Cognitive Enhancement and Prevention of Age-Related Impairment
An Evening Workshop with Dr. Richard Brown
Friday, May 3, 2019, 6:30 – 9:30 pm
To learn more and register, click here.