Use It or Lose It!: How to Protect Your Most Valuable Possession by Allen D. Bragdon, David Gamon
Twenty-five tests of mental acuity with scientific scoring norms.
Table of Contents1. HOW ARE YOU DOING?A series of tests of mental acuity to try alone or timed with a friend. They include norms for scoring to determine if there may be any need to consult a neurologist or other professional practitioner qualified to evaluate specific symptoms of cognitive performance. 2. MENTAL LAPSES THAT YOU DON'T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT (A) Signs of Normal, Healthy Age-related Decline including: * Divided attention tasks (interference of distractions) * Reaction time ("quiz-show" speed response to supply known data) * Short-term recall (recalling street directions right after asking) * Short-term recall (recalling street directions right after asking) * Naming (searching for the right word) * Retroactive inhibition (forgetting why you entered a room) (B) Pertinent Research Results: Berkeley professors tested against students show usual decline in reaction time but are strong in comprehension and recall of data (C) Personal Brain Profile: All brains are different < you may use a habitual problem-solving approach that results in a low test score in spite of normal cognitive function (For example: counting backwards by sevens from 100 is easier if certain strategies are used.). (D) Inherited/Learned Mental Skills and Strategies that Produce Competence in the Six Zones of Practical Intelligence: * Executive Planning for Goals * Appropriate Emotional Response * Productive Social Interaction; n Language & Computational Skill * Spatial Orientation & Visual Construction * Short, Intermediate and Long-term Memory 3. COMMON COGNITIVE PROBLEMS THAT ARE NOT ALZHEIMER'S and what you can do about them: (A) Sources of Problems: * Depression n Mini-strokes (TIA's) * Inappropriate Diet n Social Isolation n Stress (including the role of caregiver for someone mentally/physically incompetent) * Mental Attitude (defeatist vs. proactive self-reliance) * Lifestyles Without Challenge (B) Common substances in the body that may harm the brain on an ongoing basis, and how to produce less of them: * Cortisol * Free radicals * Beta-amyloid protein * "Killer" proteins (C) If you do have Alzheimer's what can you do? New pharmaceuticals including: * Available prescription medications * Homeopathic choices, with pros and cons * Likely to be coming soon as a result of recent research in cognitive sciences: pharmaceuticals and targeted therapies 4. PREVENTING AND REVERSING NORMAL DECLINE WITH AGE based on current research results of non-Alzheimer's conditions (A) Outmoded beliefs about the ability of the brain to restructure physical circuitry in response to demand (called plasticity) * Extent that brain structure is fixed early in life * Central nervous system cells don 't regenerate * Brain functions are strongly localized, so destruction of one region results in irrevocable loss of the associated function (B) New findings based on current research in gene biochemistry and brain neuroimaging technologies * The brain is a fluid system, constantly changing in response to the environment and behavior * CNS (basic stem cells that can become specialized neurons) can regenerate to fill cognitive demand * Brain functions are widely distributed, and there are many possible responses the brain can take to damage in one region (C) Practical ways to apply results to real-world living styles * Intellectual challenge * Stimulating neurogenesis by changing old patterns * Exercises for specific cognitive skills (D) Aptitude Battery-Engaging mental exercises for the 6 Zones of Practical Intelligence including strategies for stimulating neural connectivity to enhance real-world performance (E) Common substances in the body that may help the brain on an ongoing basis, and how to produce more of them: * cell adhesion molecules * trophic factors * growth factors * antioxidants TEST SCORING NORMS & SOLUTIONS TO MENTAL EXERCISES BIBLIOGRAPHY INDEX Copyright (c)2000 by Brainwaves Books