US News and World Report has a recent article on “Keeping Your Brain Fit.” An initial point: “”Some of the myths about the brain—that it was not changeable, that there was nothing you could do about cognitive decline—have really been dispelled in the past 10 years,” says Lynda Anderson, director of the Healthy Aging Program at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
What to do? Keep using your brain, which means keeping active mentally and physically. Stay curious and engage in learning and novelty, which will hopefully help your brain generate new synapses, recruit neurons to new activites, avoid selective pruning and perhaps (perhaps!) promote neuro-genesis. And stay involved socially–as social creatures, our relationships have a generous impact on our brain, from stress to protection to fun to hope. That’s about the best I can say, but a lot of it is opinion–the research is still fairly new and tentative, as the article admits, so I am channeling my inner anthro Dr. Phil.
I also touched on this topic earlier in “Keeping Brains Agile,” so check that out if you’re interested.