Cognitive Impairment – Improve Your Brain Function

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a condition of cognitive decline which, although it does not affect the ability to lead an independent, self-sufficient life, is more pronounced than cognitive decline associated with normal aging. Approximately 10 percent of individuals with MCI will develop Alzheimer’s disease. Yet in other case, MCI has shown to improve over time. Its causes are not well understood but post-mortem scans indicate that the brains of those individuals have undergone similar changes to those with Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown a relation between MCI and small strokes, reduced blood flow and reduced glucose usage. Conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and smoking, lack of exercise and lack of social interaction have also been linked to MCI. The main risk factor for MCI is increasing age. No drugs have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat MCI.

Fortunately, research into prevention and stabilization of MCI has yielded important results. An influential article recently published in Nature describes evidence showing that physical exercise, brain training, social relationships and a healthy diet all lead to a lower risk of cognitive decline, MCI or dementia. In particular, the author discusses results from scientific brain training studies:

BRAIN TRAINING: Canadian researchers used functional MRI to analyze brain activity in 15 people with MCI. After a one-week program designed to teach the participants new memory strategies, focus and concentration, there was activation in several additional brain regions during memory tests, suggesting that intact areas of the brain were able to take over from damaged areas. The participants also scored better on the tests. Many studies of cognitive stimulation and dementia make use of neurotherapies such as BrainAdvantage, designed to boost mental skills. Such brain training interventions produce positive results in people with Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions. We selected a case study from our files to show you the progression of the therapy. Neurotherapy is a non-linear process to which no two individuals will respond in exactly the same way or at the same rate.