Any time we hear news about dementia, it’s rarely good.
There are currently 450 000 people in Australia living with dementia and this number is increasing by 250 people every day. But this does NOT have to be the case.
Aristotle taught ‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.’
Our health follows the same principle. Our health is the result of what we repeatedly do. Health then is not an act but a habit. This is especially applicable to our brain because our brain changes its structure with each different activity it performs. We can grow new brain cells in response to what we do, think, feel, experience and even believe.
But we’re equally efficient at pruning neurons that are damaged or no longer being used. Use it or lose it. But train it and regain it.
Think of an optimally functioning brain as a completed puzzle with many pieces. If you lose too many puzzle pieces, you risk developing dementia. But if you hold on to critical pieces of the puzzle, your brain function can stay in tact for the duration of your life. What are those critical pieces?
Dr Helena answers this question during her interview on ABC radio in Mackay for Dementia Awareness Month.