Comedian George Jessel once said that the human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public. It’s believed that everyone’s #1 fear is public speaking, with loneliness at #7 and fear of death at #5. Probably, because you don’t have to live through the lonely experience of being “up there!”
A week or so ago, UCLA Longevity Center director and co-author of The New York Times’ best-seller The Memory Bible, Dr. Gary Small lived to tell about Keeping Your Brain Healthy: Preventing Alzheimer’s in a presentation to UCSB Arts and Lectures series.
Had Dr. Small come to READY FOR MEDIA for presentation training, we would have coached him on the #1 Rule of Public Speaking, know your audience. In our view, the technical expertise about the brain’s biology and how it is affect by Alzheimer’s was baffling.
But he posed and answered two really important questions for his audience. “Do we have control over our brain health as we age, and if so, what can we do to forestall symptoms of Alzheimer’s?”
Dr. Small states today’s society is living longer but not necessarily better, and coincidentally age is the single greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s. But there are preventative measures that can be taken to avoid and/or delay symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
His prevention methods include four foundational non-genetic factors: 1) physical conditioning, 2) mental exercise, 3) stress management, and 4) nutrition.
Physical activity allows our bodies to pump oxygen to the brain and keeps us fit resulting in healthy brain volume.
Participating in mental exercises and cognitive techniques keeps the brain stimulated, lowers dementia risk, and improves memory.
Developing good stress management skills either through meditation or relaxation reduces chronic stress, which according to Dr. Small stigmatizes brain growth.
Finally, having a healthy diet full of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fruits and veggies, and the occasional taste of alcohol and caffeine are important lifestyle changes that factor into the prevention of Alzheimer’s.