Maximize Your Memory: The Latest Research

English: PET scan of a human brain with Alzhei...
PET scan of a human brain with Alzheimer’s disease (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many patients with cancer have mild impairments in mental functioning. Forgetting where the keys are is not uncommon among those who recently completed chemotherapy, for example. Others amongst you have never been treated for cancer, but would like to hear about the latest research to keep your brain sharp. And thus, today we focus on memory maximizers.


Control your blood pressure to reduce your chances of Alzheimer’s dementia: New research suggests that keeping your BP within health limits can significantly reduce the risk of dementia, especially if you have a risk factor for Alzheimer’s known as apolipoprotein E4 allele (APOE4). Aim for a systolic (the top number) BP or 119 or less, and a diastolic (the bottom number) BP of 79 or less. You can pursue these strategies:

1. Monitor your blood pressure regularly and seek treatment for high BP;

2. Maintain healthy levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol (lower than 130) and HDL cholesterol (keep this good cholesterol over 40 for men and 50 for women);

3. Seek treatment for cardiovascular disease, including atrial fibrillation;

4. Exercise regularly, aiming for 30 minutes, 5x per week;

5. Quit smoking and (if you drink) use alcohol in moderation;

6. Maintain a healthy weight [go online and calculate your Body Mass Index using height and weight: Aim for 20-25];

7. Eat a nutritious, low calorie diet with plenty of fresh fruits and potassium-rich vegetables, whole grains, legumes, low-fat fairy products, and fish;

8. Restrict your salt intake to 1,500 to 2,000 mg of sodium per day;

9. Review your medications with a valued health provider, avoiding those that raise blood pressure, including over-the-counter medications such as some cold and allergy remedies;

10. Lear relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation to lower your stress levels;

11. Get adequate sleep (at lease 6-7 hours/day).

BONUS POINTS: Challenge your mind and body.Mental and physical exercise can help to keep your brain sharp. Try computer work, educational DVDs, a new language, aerobic activity, stretching, or toning. No matter what mental or physical activity you do, you may improve your cognitive functioning! I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

Available now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Both can be found at the Apple Ibooks store. Coming Soon for iPad:  Understand Breast Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minuteable now: Understand Colon Cancer in 60 Minutes; Understand Brain Glioma in 60 Minutes. Thank you. 

Reference: Mind, Mood & Memory (vol 9, no. 6, June 2013)

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Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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