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New Study Promotes Brain Exercise

BrainMEDFORD, Ore. — A new study shows a rigorous workout regimen can keep dementia at bay. There is a Southern Oregon specialist who helps patients retrain their brain.

It could be hereditary, or just a difference in brain function, but research shows some form of dementia hits more than half of people over the age of 85. Fortunately, there’s hope for patients who are willing to put their noggins to work and regain that function.

The key is to keep your brain active; try to think of all the fruits and vegetables you know of and repeat them to someone you know. Physicians also sometimes ask patients to categorize things. Maybe ask the patient to recall all of the vehicles they can think of, or list things that are made out of wood, or say a series of words and ask the patient to repeat it back to them.

Doctors say playing scrabble, solving puzzles or word searches can improve a small part of the brain, but they want the patients to share what they learn with others, because that part of the thought process is more complex.

“We also like to tell them to do things like please watch the news, because when then watch the news they may kind of focus on an article in the news and if they talk to somebody about that then there’s more interaction and then there’s more brain function,” explained Rich DeWitt, a Speech and Language Pathologist.

Also creating a routine schedule will help make it easier to organize thoughts. Dewitt has patients look at a calendar every day or send him an email about the plans for the day.

For people with no signs of memory loss, you can stave it off with online programs that offer brain exercises, but physical exercise is also important. Dewitt says the more active you are the more oxygen gets to the brain.