National Brain Awareness Week 11th – 15th March 2019
This year, National Brain Awareness Week runs from the 11th onto the 15th March 2019; a full week dedicated to brain health to increase public awareness of the progress and research of brain health.
Every single brain is unique and therefore, there are no two brains that are alike. The brain is an incredible and powerful organ which works throughout your life – starting from the womb to the end. It controls your body functioning in response to processing new information, developing new experiences and allowing you to understand and interact with the world. It contains one hundred billion nerve cells or neurons and each of the neurons can contact thousands of other cells via tiny structures called synapses. Our brains form a million new connections for every second of our lives.1
There are many conditions which can affect the brain including brain injuries, cerebrovascular injuries such as strokes or brain tumors, neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease, or even psychological conditions.
There is increasing evidence that the choices we make in life can have significant impacts on the health of our brain and bodies as we grow older. Doctors and scientific researchers have discovered that it’s possible to improve brain health and reduce the risk of dementia and age-related cognitive decline by making simple yet small lifestyle changes – for example, improving your physical exercise.
Physical experience is not only good for the heart but also has a positive impact on the brain as well. People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease as exercise improves blood flow and memory. Another way to improve your brain health is to get your eight hours of sleep. Poor sleeping patterns can increase your chances of developing the brain conditions highlighted above. Also, eating well and eating foods that improve brain function will go a long way – for example, berries, fish, turmeric, green tea, avocado, walnuts and even dark chocolate.
Caroline Abrahams, Director of Age UK said: ‘The changes that we need to make to keep our brains healthy are already proven to be good for the heart and overall health, so it’s common sense for us all to try to build them into our lives.’ 3
Randox Biosciences offers the Apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4) Array. The Apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4) Array is a research use-only product developed for the Evidence Investigator. The ApoE4 Array measures both total ApoE protein levels and ApoE4 protein levels directly from plasma samples and by using a ratio it can classify patients as negative or positive for ApoE4. In turn we can then assess their risk for the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
For further information about the Randox Alzheimer’s Array or our Evidence Investigator, please email email@example.com
Do you want to have optimal brain function later in life? We do. The majority of people focus on keeping their bodies in optimal condition but often forget about the most important organ, the brain. With more of us living until we’re much older, reduced brain function and Alzheimer’s are becoming increasingly more common; it is one of the most feared consequences of aging. We expect our bodies to age due to wear and tear; however there are easy ways to slow it, you will be glad to hear. Here are some top tips to keep your brain health at its peak.
- Get physical exercise
It is becoming an increasingly well-known fact by scientists that regular exercise may be the single most important thing you can do to ensure optimum brain health. The reason for this is that exercise increases the blood supply to your brain so therefore increases your brain capacity. Experts advise 30 minutes of exercise every other day to ensure good mental health. Exercise also helps with cholesterol levels, mental stress and diabetes.
- Eat, eat, eat
Good nutrition is also essential for good brain health. Your brain is no different to any other organ: the better the fuel it receives; the better it works, simple. As with everything it is important to keep your calories in check as it has been proven to reduce mental illness. We aim to reduce the consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol as these can decrease brain function. No matter who you are, vitamins are also very important to ensure not only a healthy brain, but a healthy body. Vitamins of particular importance are folic acid, B6 and B12 which it is well-known can help lower your homocysteine levels. There is an ever-growing body of research which suggests that homocysteine levels have a strong correlation with Alzheimer’s and dementia. If you would like to read more about the link between homocysteine and Alzheimer’s, check out our previous blog post ‘How important is homocysteine research for Alzheimer’s disease?’
- Get enough sleep
Recent studies have suggested that a poor sleeping pattern is linked with cognitive decline in old age. A good night’s rest can actually double the chances of finding creative solutions to problems faced in everyday life! It has been proven that when we don’t sleep, proteins build up on the brain. These proteins build on the synapses, making it hard to think and learn new information; which is not conducive to good brain health.
Relaxation is key in a healthy lifestyle. Stress has a negative impact on the brain. It creates harmful chemicals to flow over areas of the brain that are in control of memory. Too much of these chemicals can lead to dementia and other memory loss related diseases, so maybe it’s not such a bad idea that you take that trip to the Bahamas you were thinking about!
- Improve you cholesterol
Cholesterol is commonly split up into good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). There are loads of ways to improve your cholesterol levels such as exercise, weight control, dieting and avoiding tobacco. It is very important to keep you levels of LDL down as high levels can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia and cardiac problems in old age. At Randox we are constantly coming up with new and exciting ways of monitoring your cholesterol and the launch of our new HDL3 test is coming soon. For more information on HDL3, check it out here!
- Brain exercises
Challenging your mind from time to time is important for good brain health; it keeps your brain active and uses cognitive thought to try and learn or solve a problem. It is thought that a lack of education is a strong influence in cognitive decline. Challenging your brain improves memory, develops critical thinking and stimulates the whole brain ensuring brain health is kept to a maximum. It can often be done in fun ways like brain teasers, puzzles and jigsaws. Check out our recent brain teaser here!
These are only some of the ways in which to keep your brain in peak condition. Aging will take a toll on everyone and it is impossible to avoid; however these 6 techniques can help maintain optimal brain function! We have been keeping up to date with Alzheimer’s in celebration of World Alzheimer’s Month. Remember a healthy brain is the key to success!
For health professionals
Randox Laboratories manufacture a wide range of routine and niche biochemistry reagents suitable for both research and clinical use. These include an automated homocysteine test and our new HDL3 cholesterol assay. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.