Guest Speaker
Jo O'Brien Registered Nurse Director of Education Alzheimer Society was introduced by Ed Telenko. Ed first saw Jo on television providing information about Alzheimer disease. Jo O'Brien came to Canada from Scotland in 1969 and has been a registered nurse for 11 years.

How is your Brain Functioning? 

Forgot where you put your wallet,the name of a person, ingredients in your favorite recipe. Walk in a room and forgot what you are there for. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. 

Tell yourself that you have a good memory and that it is improving every day. Focus on successes and actively navigate your mindset. Praise yourself for remembering, but never punish yourself for fogetting. A Recipe for a Healthy Brain.

Vascular Risk
The greater the vascular damage the greater the cognitive impairment during later years.


Vascular Risks You CAN Change

  • High Blood Pressure the higher your blood pressure-systolic or diastolic-the higher the risk of stroke and dementia get BP Checked routinely. Maintain and keep your systolic blood pressure below 140 (ideally below 120) and your diastolic blood pressure below 90 (ideally below 80).
  • Smoking. Smoking doubles the risk of stroke, in part by making blood vessels stiffer. Smokers in a large European study declined at an annual rate five times faster than individuals who never smoked. Quit smoking and your risk starts to drop immediately.
  • Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes nearly doubled the risk of developing dementia. What to do: Monitor sugars, Maintain diet, Exercise, Control blood pressure, Lose excess weight.
  • Clogged Neck Arteries. Up to ten percent of people over age 65 have carotid (neck) arteries more than half clogged. What to do: physical exams, Talk to your doctor about aspirin or statins, severe cases may suggest surgery to clear out neck arteries.
  • Atrial Fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat that allows blood to pool in the heart, making it more likely to clot. Twelve percent of people aged 75 or older have atrial fibrillation, six times more likely to have a stroke.  
  • Cholesterol.  LDL High Cholesterol Kivipelto in 2004 summarized a growing body of evidence linking elevated midlife cholesterol levels and high intake of saturated fat to increased risk of Alzheimer's disease.
  • HYPOPERFUSION Low Blood Pressure Over 65 diastolic ideally over 70. Monitor BP regularly Orthostatic Hypotension drop in blood pressure when moving from sitting to standing position. Monitor BP sitting and standing.
  • Sleep Apnea heavy snorers who stop breathing for several seconds during sleep.

Risks You CAN'T Change 

  • Age. The risk of stroke doubles each decade after age 55. Dementia risk increases with age  65 - 8% 75 - 15% 85 - 30% - 40% 95 - 50%.  
  • Gender. Men are more likely to have a stroke, Women are more likely to die of one, because they're usually older when the stroke occurs. 
  •  Race. Blacks, Hispanics and Asian have a higher risk of stroke than non-Hispanic whites. Native Indians have high risk of type two diabetes.
  • Genes. People with a family history are at greater risk.

Nutritional Risks

  • B Vitamins are essential to central nervous system functioning Thiamine (B1) deficiency - Alcohol related dementia B12 and Folic Acid,  B6- neurological symptoms including cognitive changes Vitamin C and E are antioxidants help reduce the oxidative stress that can lead to neurons dying.
  • Minerals Sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium are the key ions in the brain must be maintained in critical balance.  Glucose is the brain's primary energy source. The more complex the carbohydrate the better for the brain - Maintains a balanced level No ups and downs as with simple sugar Protein is needed to maintain and develop nerve cells and their branches through out life.
  • Fatty Acids 70% of brain is comprised of fat Fatty acids are what dietary fats are comprised of membranes of neurons and the myelin sheath are made up of fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6.
  • Imbalance in fatty acids corrected by: eating more omega-3-rich fish and flax seed oil, Eating less sugar, completely avoiding trans fatty acids found in partially-hydrogenated oils, margarine, and shortening.

Additional Risks

  • Stress Extended stress causes elevations in a hormone called cortisol which can kill brain cells, particularly in the memory area.
  • Brain Injury Falls, sports injury, Vehicle accidents. Always wear a seatbelt and wear a helmet in impact sports.

How to Maintain a Healty Brain  

  • Physical Activity Studies show that those not engaged in regular physical activity were found to have suffered the greatest decline in memory and other mental abilities.Those with the highest level of regular physical activity had cut their likelihood of having cognitive impairment and dementia by half. 
  • Endurance Increase your heart, lungs, and circulatory system as well as your energy.
  • Flexibility Gently reaching, bending and stretching. Keep your muscles relaxed and joints mobile. Improves agility.
  • Strength and Balance Lift weights, do resistance activities.
  • Walking Is known to: Lower blood pressure Increase the level of good cholesterol Reduce the risk of stroke by half. Reduce the risk of osteoporosis in women by 30%. Increase gastrointestinal mobility. Increase relaxation, reduce stress Improve memory.
  • Dancing One study showed that of all the physical activities that people participated in dancing was the only one that conferred beneficial effects on the mind. Unique demand for mental effort with the physical exertion. Listening to the music, coordinates movements with those of partner and remembering the complicated dance steps. 
  • Continued Learning Take a course on a new topic for you Reading Process new information Watch the learning channel.
  • Leisure and Socialization One study found that those who participated in multiple activities on a regular basis had a 38% less risk of developing dementia. There was also 8% less risk for dementia for each additional leisure activity.Those who preferred intellectual activities did better than those who enjoyed mainly physical or social options. 
  • Spiritual Needs Spirituality and belief can come in many forms: The feelings of enlightenment and well being some derive from religion can come to others through artistic expression, nonreligious meditation, watching a beautiful sunset or listening to stirring music.  
  • Brain Aerobics. Brain Gym Program helps the brain use all its abilities in an efficient and organized manner leading to whole brain functioning  and whole brain learning.
  • Memory Improvement. Remembering by creating a visual mental image. Remembering by association e.g. linking a person to a special characteristic Remembering by use of a familiar route.
  • Brain Fitness Exercise your perceptive abilities: in all five senses. Visuospatial Abilities. What is on the right as opposed to the left. Structuralization Ability. Jigsaws, reading and restructuring the words to mean the same. Logic Abilities: card games, board games. Brain Fitness Verbal Abilities: the precise use of spoken words. Give the main point of news that you have listened to.
  • Assess your Lifestyle Overcome monotony and routine. It generates mental lethargy and resignation. Watching TV puts our brain into neutral mode. Reduce distractions and allow your memory to work for you.   
  • Sleep During sleep the brain repairs itself and boosts the immune system. During rapid eye movement (REM) sleep the brain consolidates information learned during the previous day. Poor sleep or sleep loss leads to fatigue, immune suppression, memory, concentration and mood changes. Optimal learning cannot take place against a background of sleep debt.
  • Love and Nurturing Enriched conditions accelerates the growth of dendrites. give and get lots of TLC.
  • Laughter is the tranquilizer with out side effects