It’s easy to blame old age on bad memory, which can be the case, but not always. Recent studies are showing that boosting blood circulation to improve your brain health can help to improve memory function.
Scientists are finding that memory loss can be caused by high blood pressure and poor blood flow to the brain. Fortunately, they are finding solutions for this problem.
For some older people, staying sharp may be more of a priority than being physically healthy or feeling financially secure.
A study done by the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas researched the effects of aerobic exercise on the brains of adults ages 57-75. The researchers randomly separated the adults into a control or physical training groups.
Those that were placed in the physical training group exercised for an hour three times a week on a treadmill or stationary bike. They did this for 12 weeks.
Before the start of the physical training, mid-way through the 12 weeks, and at the end of the 12 weeks, the patients’ cardiovascular fitness, cognition, and resting cerebral blood flow were measured.
The founder/President of Advance MRI, Sina Aslan, said “By measuring brain blood flow non-invasively using arterial spin labeling (ASL) MRI, we can now begin to detect brain changes much earlier than before. One key region where we saw increase in brain blood flow was the anterior cingulate, indicating higher neuronal activity and metabolic rate. The anterior cingulate has been linked to superior cognition in late life.”
Participants in the physical training group who increased their blood flow in their brain, specifically the hippocampus, also showed an increase in their memory performance. The scientists first saw increased brain blood flow and then results would shortly follow for better cognitive function.
This means that they can use those same tests to assess if memory improvements look promising in future patients.
Mores studies are showing that the cause for vascular dementia is hypertension and high blood pressure. Because high blood pressure slows down blood circulation, the brain may not get a sufficient supply to keep it functioning well.
Researchers suspect that middle-aged adults with hypertension have a higher risk of dementia than people who do aerobic exercise regularly and do not have hypertension. Boosting blood circulation to improve your brain health can be done daily through brisk walking, biking, swimming, or any other exercise that elevates your heart rate.
Dr. Sandra Chapman, the chief director of the Center for BrainHealth and lead author of the paper said, “Physical exercise may be one of the most beneficial and cost-effective therapies widely available to everyone to elevate memory performance. These findings should motivate adults of all ages to start exercising aerobically.”