An analysis of data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Health and Retirement Study conducted by Jennifer Ailshire, PhD, of the University of Southern California is the first to look at how air quality affects the cognitive function of older men and women. The research focused on data from 14,793 people over the age of 50 and found those living in areas with higher levels of air pollution scored poorer on cognitive function tests even after factoring in age, race, education, smoking, behavior, and cardiovascular condition. According to Ailshire, older adults are particularly vulnerable to the hazards of unhealthy air and there is emerging evidence that exposure may have adverse effects on the brain, as well as heart and respiratory health. More here.
A study which followed nearly 70,000 women over 14 years found participants whose diet included the highest level of a flavonoid known as flavanones had a 19 percent lower risk of suffering a blood-clot related stroke compared to the women with the lowest level of the compound. Flavanones, one of thousands of flavonoids, is found in citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit and was specifically associated with a lowered risk of stroke. Previous research has suggested that flavonoids, which give fruits and vegetables their color, help to improve blood-vessel function and provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Via WebMD.
Forcing your brain to process new information or do familiar things in unfamiliar ways can help stimulate brain function and improve your memory. According to Manning Rubin, coauthor of Keep Your Brain Alive, there are a number of simple mental exercises that can be done daily to boost brain health. Rubin told realsimple.com that improving memory and mental function can be accomplished by regularly exercising each of your five senses. For example, Rubin recommends changing the radio station on your alarm clock and getting dressed in the dark in order to stimulate your brain first thing in the morning. Picking your clothes out in advance and then dressing blindly forces your brain to work harder to compensate for the loss of one of your senses. He also suggests brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand in order to challenge your brain. More here.