Cognitive Aging: The Best 6 advice you could ever get

Do you forget the names of people at times? Do you experience a senior moment often?

Cognitive Aging
Cognitive Aging

He decided to see his doctor. After a detailed check-up, his doctor said that Ravi was fine. His forgetfulness was just a normal part of getting older. The doctor suggested that Ravi take a Cognitive training class, play chess with friends, attend Meditation sessions or help out at the local orphanage to help his Brain Fog condition.

When you make a mug of coffee, use the internet, or read a book, you are using your cognitive abilities. Cognitive abilities are the mental skills you would like to hold out a task, it being the foremost simple to the foremost complex. These mental skills include awareness and handling of information, memory, and reasoning.

What is Cognitive Aging?

Age-related impairments in reasoning, memory, and processing speed can arise in people during adulthood and progress into the elders. As we get older, our cognitive abilities eventually deteriorate. Cognitive decline in a certain amount is a normal part of aging. Some people will experience a severe deterioration in cognitive skills, which leads to dementia. This can make it impossible for them to cope with ordinary day-to-day tasks. Different People observe the different degrees to which their brains and the rest of their bodies decline with age.

This significant decline in cognitive functioning considerably varies depending on genetic influence, early environment, education, and social class in adulthood. 

The deterioration in cognitive functioning has also been attributed to behavior such as alcohol consumption, fruit and vegetable intake, cigarette smoking, and low exercise. A serious degree of cognitive decline is unavoidable in such cases and remains one of the greatest concerns in the current scenario of our aging populations around the world. Cognitive impairment and serious levels of cognitive deterioration represent important predictors for the development of dementia.

What is normal Cognitive Aging?

In Cognitive aging, there is a little decline in some mental functions such as vocabulary, numerical skills, and general knowledge, while other mental capabilities decline from middle age onwards or even earlier. These mental functions are vital for carrying out everyday activities living independently and for general health and wellbeing.

The aspects of age-related decline are seen altogether; the slowed speed of information processing accounts for our large proportion of the age-related decline in all cognitive domains. The slowing of the speed of brain processing begins in young adulthood. To be able to schedule and undertake multiple activities every day appears to be sensitive to aging, and particularly striking impairments in dual-tasking or multitasking appear to signal the onset of dementia.

Normal cognitive aging is a crude average; it also hides the truth that there are more or less successful trajectories of cognitive change as people grow older. Identifying the risk factors for and mechanisms of individual differences in age-related cognitive decline is one of the

biggest challenges to enhancing the health of older people. The spectrum of deterioration ranges from normal cognitive aging to dementias.

Factors Affecting Cognitive Ageing

There are some factors that affect cognitive aging:

Medications may produce side effects such as drowsiness and mental illness, which in turn affect cognitive aging.

Sensory changes interfere with the processing of information.

Health-related changes which can affect areas like concentration and processing speed of individuals

Mental Conditions like depression and anxiety can alter one’s motivation to learn new information and to apply active strategies.

Brain changes with Aging?

Like our body, the brain too changes with each passing year. From the time when we were infants, our brains are adapting, learning, making memories, and much more. We become smarter and sharper by earning the wisdom that truly only comes with life experience. The less desirable effects of the passage of time can certainly be felt. Losing a set of keys or a to-do that never seems to stay on top of the mind are some examples.

When aging begins, we begin losing neurons which are the cells that make up the brain and the nervous system. By our sixties, our brains have begun to shrink. This process is quite natural, and it happens to everyone.

As the brain ages, it shrinks or loses volume primarily in the frontoparietal and hippocampal regions. The Occipital lobe part, which is situated at the back of the brain, shrinks much less with age. 

It is common for older adults to show increased activity in both frontoparietal regions. Younger adults execute the same word judgment work mainly in the left frontoparietal region. This supplementary activation in the brains of older adults plays an important role in providing the neural resources needed to sustain performance on a cognitive task in the face of brain shrinkage.

It is thought that a healthy older brain may look similar to a twenty-year-old’s brain; it is approximately the same size and displays similar activation patterns. A 70-year-old with a strong brain volume and youthful activation patterns is more likely to have good cognition. But even if older adults have slower cognitive changes with age, time is inexorable. The brains of these individuals will show cognitive decline due to use over.

How does cognition change with age?

It is actually unclear how much cognition deteriorates with age for a given set of people. The environment and context in which people are aging are continuously changing, and it may affect the way the aging of the brain takes place. 

Being surrounded with information from all directions could impact a child’s developing brain and mold their cognitive function as that age. E.g., older adults of the pre-calculator era maintained quite good computational skills, which may take a comparatively long time to become proficient in a video game that requires quick visual scanning and rapid responses. 

Children from this era may have a different cognitive signature from

this once they grow old. But everyone will Age. The most reliable age-related change is the decrease in speed of processing; that is, how fast you execute things and how fast you process information. It is a very subtle effect people don’t realize that they are getting slower typically until late life.

What is normal memory loss which comes with aging?

What is normal memory loss which comes with aging?

Forgetfulness and delay or slowing down in recalling names, dates, and occasions can be a part of the normal process of aging. There are multiple memory processes which include grasping new information recalling information, and recognizing similar information. Each of these processes can get disturbed, leading to the experience of forgetting things.

Adults often forget specific things like proper names because these names are uniquely linked to one person. The inability to remember specific things is a common and frustrating experience as we age. However, everybody experiences memory lapses while they age.

How to slow Cognitive Aging?

You can increase your memory capacity with training and increase your brain’s vascular health with exercise. You can also sculpt your cognitive future a little through diet, exercise, and mentally challenging activities. It would be best if you stayed stimulated, but you cannot completely change your trajectory of aging despite doing all these things. Certain activities can help your brain stay as sharp as possible. 

Break A Sweat

You can exercise, which helps to pump blood to the brain and encourages the growth of new brain cells, and you don’t have to spend hours at the gym to get positive effects. Aerobic exercises like walking or cycling for 30 minutes a day reduces brain cell loss.

Challenge Yourself

Mentally stimulating activities help reverse cognitive decline. You can read, write, put together a jigsaw puzzle, work on crosswords which will help the brain build its reserves of brain cells and connections. Listen to music Listening to music boosts the brain’s ability to anticipate events and stay focused.

How to slow Cognitive Aging
Group of senior friends sitting and watching tv together

Nurture Relationships

Invest in your bonds with your friends and loved ones. These physical and mental activities may also help you prevent dementia. You can sign up for a dance class that allows you to spend your time with friends, get moving and challenge your brain as it works to keep up with all those tricky steps.

Eat wisely

Some foods which are rich in vitamins and other nutrients can help thwart threats to your brain health. Eating vibrantly hued fruits and vegetables that have higher levels of disease-fighting antioxidants can help counteract disease-causing free radicals throughout the body.

Stay Smoke-Free

Smoking can affect your body’s capacity to deliver oxygen to the brain and nutrients that help keep it healthy. It acts as a trigger in the brain’s natural aging process. Smoking leads to the formulation of plaques that contributes to dementia.

Protect your Head

Protect your brain by wearing a seatbelt or employing a helmet when participating in sports.

Multimodal training to slowing Cognitive Aging

The National academies committees, through its reviews, did not find any interventions that were shown to definitively prevent cognitive decline. The committee did identify three interventions where the evidence was “Encouraging but inconclusive.” 

“Encouraging but inconclusive.” and those words are important. If you engage in these three activities, which by the way are good for you anyway, then at a bare minimum, we can say that they might help. 

One intervention is cognitive training which includes an array of exercises aimed at enhancing problem-solving, memory, and speed of processing.

Many people assume that cognitive training means computer-based brain games. It’s a much more complicated intervention than just sitting at the computer by yourself. There are encouraging but inconclusive shreds of evidence that show the potential impact of cognitive training on improving human cognitive skills. It brings a lot of attention of the public and scientific community towards scrutiny of the matter.

A second intervention is managing high blood pressure in people with hypertension. This could be accomplished through taking blood pressure management medicines and sometimes lifestyle. interventions such as diet, sleep, and exercises. Several studies show a connection between controlling high blood pressure in mid-life and reducing the risk of dementia later. 

Hypertension also needs to be addressed during middle age because this is the time when the brain changes rather than in his late seventies.

Aerobic Exercise

A third intervention is being physically active, e.g., increasing aerobics exercises and strength training. That just means doing more than what you currently do. It does not mean going out to a gym or to start a dong a weight lifting or anything. It just means that if you are a person who is pretty sedentary, then you can just start by just simply walking.

We know that over a short duration of time, in clinical trials, physical activity actually appears to show cognitive benefits. We also know that there are changes in the brain that can be measure, like on magnetic resonance imaging scans.

Some of the researches are demonstrating that multimodal training significantly improves learning. It effectively promotes skill learning across multiple cognitive domains, covering executive functions, working memory, planning and problem-solving

Managing blood pressure, hypertension, and physical exercise is good for us. Cognitive training won’t hurt you, and it looks like it may help. More research is needed to know for sure if these interventions prevent cognitive decline.

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Surabhi Sahai & Swa Raj

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