How to Keep Your Mind 8 Years Younger

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There is a way to keep your mind 8 years sharper. Scientists from the University of Michigan have found that preventing a stroke keeps your mind 8 years younger and sharper. Another recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association followed over 25,000 people and also found that thinking ability and problem solving ability were significantly worse after a stroke.

What are thinking skills anyways?

Thinking skills, often referred to as cognitive skills, include the many different ways we use our brains to think.

These thinking abilities help us get through our daily lives and thrive through our ability to remember things, respond to events that happen around us and carefully plan out our actions.

Thinking skills include:

  • Executive function, which is the ability to carry out tasks
  • Problem solving is the skill of thinking through a solution. 
  • Memory and recall allow us to remember words or events after a time has elapsed.
  • Learning skills measure the ability to learn new information.
  • All of these skills work together to help us solve simple and complex problems.

Stroke and thinking skills

The researchers evaluated study participants’ thinking skills in a few interesting ways. 

Verbal memory, which is the ability to remember words, was one of the skills tested by asking participants if they could recall words through phone interviews. Another test, the animal fluency test, asked people to list animals in a category, which involves connecting and linking classifications, a skill that requires a higher level of thinking.

Why does a stroke affect thinking?

All of these skills were worse for people who had a stroke. But what is even more concerning is that the skills continued to get worse throughout the years after a stroke and declined at a faster rate for stroke survivors than for people of the same age who had not had a stroke.

 

A stroke can affect any part of the brain. Most of our cognitive abilities come from the complex, sophisticated interactions between several regions of our brain on both the right and left sides. When even a small region of the brain is damaged due to a stroke, the collaboration between cooperative areas of the brain becomes impaired.

How can you protect your thinking skills?

There are some effective methods you can use to protect your thinking skills at any age. 

There are some benefits to an aging brain

While thinking ability is something you want to keep sharp, healthy aging does provide wisdom and insight. The ability to use that hard-earned wisdom is enhanced if you have a healthy and sharp thinking brain.

Sources

Trajectory of Cognitive Decline After Incident Stroke, Levine DA, Galecki AT, Langa KM, Unverzagt FW, Kabeto MU, Giordani B, Wadley VG, JAMA, July 2015

Does Stroke Contribute to Racial Differences in Cognitive Decline?, Levine DA, Kabeto M, Langa KM, Lisabeth LD, Rogers MA, Galecki AT, Stroke, July 2015

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