The following is a guest post from Robert Traister of the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), a Nutcase partner in loving all brains. This is the second of four posts from BIAA this March (Brain Injury Awareness Month), to cover some of the issues BIAA works on all year-round. Flickr Photo Credit: Maira.Gall
A healthy brain is one which can handle tasks such as remembering, learning new information, planning, concentrating, and making decisions. Conversely, when the brain isn’t healthy (also known as cognitive impairment) a person can have trouble remembering, learning, and making decisions.
People of all ages can experience cognitive impairment. A person with mild impairment can still handle everyday activities and may notice difficulty remembering things, even though it may not be obvious to others. People with more severe cognitive impairment have difficulty expressing themselves as well as understanding what others are saying to them. They may not be able to handle everyday tasks such as preparing meals or managing finances. Ultimately, they may become unable to care for themselves and lose their independence.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 16 million adults live with some form of cognitive impairment. More than 5.3 million people are living with disabilities as a result of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Many more, especially older adults, are suffering from cognitive impairment, even though impairment is not an inevitable part of aging.
So how can you maintain a healthy brain?
- Keep your heart healthy:
- Quit smoking;
- Decrease cholesterol levels;
- Reduce salt intake;
- Decrease alcohol consumption.
- Protect your head from injuries
- Always wear a helmet when riding your bike;
- Wear a seat belt;
- Avoid falls.
And yes, eat blueberries! Want more tips on loving your brain? Here’s a little smattering of great brain posts: five brainiac sites to follow; a mini-movie on memory; and a musing on the possibly dorky direction of helmet innovation. Enjoy.