22/07/2024
Cognitive decline
As the years go by, the brain, like the rest of the organs, is affected, reducing its functions. In this way, it is normal for aspects such as the ability to concentrate, learning, memory and decision making, among others, to begin to decrease. This is what is known as cognitive decline.

This ability to reason, make decisions based on prior analysis, speak or simply dance is what differentiates us from other species of animals. Not precisely because of the size of our brain but because of the capacity and number of neuronal connections that we are capable of forming.

The human brain, that network of nervous connections, has more than one billion neurons. Each of them can have between 5,000 and 500,000 connections or synapses with other neurons. This forms incredible neural networks that are responsible for memories, emotions and analysis. Some studies claim that around 700 connections are formed every second.




These connections will be strengthened or lost as we use the information that formed them. So the more intellectual work we do, socialize, listen to music or read, the better mental health we will have.

As these intellectual activities decrease, we are increasingly exposed to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's, just to give two of the most common examples.

To minimize cognitive deterioration, it is necessary to continuously stimulate its functions, thus strengthening neuronal connections.








Performing physical exercises such as walking, dancing, cycling is very beneficial since it increases cerebral blood flow, providing nutrients, oxygen and stimulating the appearance of new neurons.

Read frequently. Reading activates several areas of the brain, including those associated with language comprehension, memory, attention and problem solving. Reading we stimulate these areas and help keep cognitive functions active.

Socializing with friends and family provides great benefits. This has a positive impact on cognitive health and potentially preventing cognitive decline. Social contact involves communication, language processing, interpretation of gestures and facial expressions, among other aspects, which exercise and stimulate various areas of the brain.

Board games that allow you to make decisions. Studies have shown that these games have a positive impact on cognitive ability. In addition, they help exercise skills such as concentration, problem solving, memory and verbal fluency.

Play a musical instrument. Musical practice and active listening to music prevent the deterioration of working memory, promote brain plasticity and cognitive reserve. Playing a musical instrument or singing are activities that stimulate various brain areas, promoting concentration, motor coordination and memory.

Learn language. Learning a language involves memorizing vocabulary, grammatical rules and linguistic patterns, which has benefits for short- and long-term memory.

Make crafts. Making crafts involves the use of cognitive skills such as planning, attention, visual perception, problem solving and fine motor coordination, which exercises and stimulates different areas of the brain.

Eliminate toxic habits such as alcohol and smoking which cause vascular damage. In the case of alcohol, excessive consumption contributes to an increase in blood pressure, which in turn puts additional pressure on the walls of blood vessels.

Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption leads to elevated levels of certain lipids in the blood, which increases the risk of the formation of atheromatous plaques in the arteries, a process known as atherosclerosis.

As for tobacco, the toxic components of smoke cause direct damage to the inner layer of blood vessels, which contributes to the formation of fatty deposits and chronic inflammation in arterial walls. This combination of factors leads to narrowing of blood vessels, increased blood clotting, and an increased risk of clot formation.

Maintain an adequate weight. Obesity is associated with elevated levels of inflammatory molecules throughout the body, which has adverse effects on the brain and contributes to the development of neurodegenerative diseases.

Sleep the necessary hours. During sleep, especially during the stages of deep and REM sleep, memory is consolidated and the day's experiences are processed. Lack of sleep negatively affects short-term and long-term memory, contributing to cognitive decline.

As a summary we can say that these strategies help maintain brain health throughout life and potentially reduce the risk of certain conditions such as dementia. It is important to remember that leading a healthy lifestyle and being attentive to brain health is beneficial not only for cognition, but also for overall quality of life.

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