Discover this ONE simple action for lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s

Dear Friend,

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Did you know that learning a new skill can give you a longer and healthier life?

Many of us think of learning new simply as a way to enhance our life proficiency. Maybe you want to learn a certain skill in order to become better at your job or get a raise. Maybe you want to get yourself a new hobby or learn to play the piano just good enough to play a certain melody at uncle George’s next birthday party, or maybe you just want to know how to use that washing machine to be able to wash your own clothes.

Learning new skills and expanding your mind means that you push yourself past your comfort zone and upgrade yourself to be able to master something completely new, and create more confidence and life satisfaction. That in itself is amazing and enough for many to seek the chance of learning new and wanting to become a better version of them self, but what you will discover in this post is that the effects of learning new is actually much bigger and more profound than you think.

Never has there been as much focus on the study of our brain as there is today, and one of the most terrifying findings is; that the number of people who develop Alzheimer’s is increasing at an alarmingly high pace. Alzheimer’s, discovered in 1906 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, is the most common form of dementia.  According to alz.org an estimated 5.4 million Americans of all ages live with Alzheimer’s in 2016. Watch this short video below to understand the effects and reach that Alzheimer’s has!

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Because of this escalation, researchers are working assiduously to find a cure, but until the day comes when we can get a vaccine for Alzheimer’s, let’s focus on our mind’s natural ways to affect/prevent the damaging effects of Alzheimer’s. It turns out there are several things we can do ourselves, that doesn’t require a doctor or medical professional.

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The Nun Study

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Some time ago I read about a convent of roman catholic nuns of which 678 participated in a study about aging and Alzheimer’s.

The nuns gave the scientists access to their full archival and medical records and participated in annual assessments of their cognitive and physical functions, and donated their brains after death for neuropathological studies.

As a strike of luck it turned out that, back in the days, when the nuns had first joined the convent, each of them had been asked to write an essay about their lives and expectations going forward. Those essays still existed and became part of the study. The essays showed that while they were young, the nuns were more or less eloquent, and the degree of how eloquent each individual had been, became a way for the scientists to predict, who would develop Alzheimer’s and who wouldn’t. 80 percent of nuns whose writing lacked linguistic density developed Alzheimer’s, while only 10 percent of the nuns whose writing did not lack linguistic density suffered from the disease.

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Sister Mary

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After the study had ended, especially one nun, who died at age 101½, stood out. She was called Sister Mary and had only had eight years of formal education until she was 19, but kept on studying and got her high school diploma when she was 41. She taught full time till she was 77 and part time till she was 84, and after that she kept giving lessons about ‘Aging with Grace’. She staid active all her life and never stopped developing her mind. When Sister Mary died at age 101½ and her brain was handed over for medical testing and research, scientists were surprised to see that her brain showed clear signs of Alzheimer’s, even though she had never been impaired by it.

After this extensive study and research the scientists came to a few conclusions. One conclusion in particular made an impact and created a shift in how we all should look at the importance of learning new and expanding our minds throughout our whole lives. The conclusion was that using your brain and learning new things helps prevent the brain from getting impaired by Alzheimer’s disease. Your brain can still develop the disease, but it becomes able to find ways to stay sharp and functioning.

This natural way of preventing and improving Alzheimer’s is still recognized and used to this day.

“A nutritious diet, physical activity, social engagement, and mentally stimulating pursuits have all been associated with helping people stay healthy as they age. These factors might also help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Clinical trials are testing some of these possibilities.” Stated by the National Institute of Aging.

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Auto-pilot vs. learning new

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Have you ever noticed that the more you do the same action and let that action become a routine, the more it becomes a reflex and not a conscious action? For instance; how much do you remember about driving to work 3 days ago? Or what you did at work last Friday?

The things we tend to remember the best are the things that are different, unexpected or new, like when the coffee machine went out of order on Wednesday or we got a new printer we had to get used to, or Betty from the office got fired, or we finally had the needed ‘aha-moment’ that made us understand that ONE thing that had been bugging us for months.

The Majority of the time, most of us find ourselves in a kind of auto-pilot state, where we tend do what we know already. It’s a safe state of mind to be in and we don’t have to use a ton of energy to take the next step forward or make a decision or face the heightened risk of failure (If you want to read more on the subject of habits, risk and fear we have the right blogpost for you).

As a result of auto-pilot our days seem to get shorter and shorter, as we rely more and more on our (otherwise amazing) ability to turn our knowledge and skills into routines. We tend to remember less of the details that make up our days and life and consequently “miss out” on many hours, days and months of precious and memorable life.

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We need routine to survive

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It turns out that you can’t completely ditch routine and habit all together, as it makes up a huge part of our ability to function in this high paced world. If we weren’t able to shut off our brain once in a while, we wouldn’t be able to live as long as we do.

You need to have a functioning auto-pilot to stay alive, but we all need to become more aware and make the conscious decision not to go through our whole life on autopilot. Use it when necessary but then make an effort to learn new and expand your mind.

Do like Sister Mary; create the foundation for a long life and healthy mind by continually educating yourself and staying curios.

We need a healthy balance of auto-pilot and new stuff in order to live a long and healthy life and a life we can remember…

Ergo: Learn new stuff! Start with things that excite and engage you; now and then learn something that may not be the most interesting thing for you, but that will be of benefit to you; train your memory: recite poems, remember long strains of numbers, play memory games, do crosswords, and keep your brain sharp as a razor!

Is any of this information new to you or do you consciously practice learning new to keep your mind alert and strong?

Do you have any experiences, thoughts or tips you want to share on this matter?

I would love to hear from you, so leave a comment in the comment section below!

Have a wonderful day!

Love

Cirsten

Note!

The author of this post is not a medical professional nor is she making any claims. The facts in this post are based on external research and findings. Always consult a doctor before you try any alternative path for recovery. The Author isn’t responsible for any aggravation of any type of disease or any side effects caused by the mentions in this post.

Sources:

Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease: Lessons from the Nun Study1
http://gerontologist.oxfordjournals.org/content/37/2/150.full.pdf

Major Milestones in Alzheimer’s and Brain Research
http://www.alz.org/research/science/major_milestones_in_alzheimers.asp

National Institute of Aging
https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-fact-sheet

 

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