Brain "Boot Camp" Relieves Forgetfulness, Improves Memory
June 23, 2004
you found yourself searching for where you left your car keys more
frequently lately or have you missed appointments because you forgot
you scheduled them?
One woman, 43-year-old Kimberly McClain, became increasingly irritated
with herself because of her growing inability to remember simple
daily tasks in her life. McClain’s memory problems were restored
to razor-like sharpness after she attended a two-week program designed
to boost brain functioning.
The memory program, created by Gary Small, a psychiatrist and director
of the UCLA Center on Aging, integrated components from the following
four areas: nutrition, exercise, stress reduction and memory-enhancing
Characteristics of the Program
- The diet in the program includes a high intake of foods that
contain omega-3 fatty acids and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
The diet also centers on eating three meals and three snacks a
- Light stretching, walking and stress-relieving exercises are
performed many times throughout the day.
- Memory exercises are practiced for around 15 minutes a day.
A study evaluated 17 volunteers who experienced minor memory problems.
Eight of the study participants were randomly chosen to take part
in the two-week "brain boot camp" program while the other
participants went on with their lives as usual.
Results from brain scans, which were taken before and after the
participants completed the program, showed dramatic improvement
with brain activity in the frontal portion of the brain, which is
responsible for daily memory functions.
Those who participated in the program also reported a definite
decrease in forgetfulness over those who didn’t take part in
Some experts stated the results of the study weren’t foolproof
evidence that a person who completed the program wouldn’t develop
Alzheimer’s disease. On the contrary, supporters of the program
claimed that keeping your brain stimulated could help delay memory
problems. Researchers also stated the four lifestyle components
that contributed to dementia were high-fat diets, little physical
activity, stress and lack of mental stimulation.
Recommendations for future studies included performing studies
with a larger number of people and focusing on one of the four components
of the study to determine if some were more effective than others
in helping improve memory.
In another study, it was discovered that the systolic blood pressure
reading of those who participated in the program dropped by seven
points. Research has shown a connection between normal blood pressure
levels and the postponement of Alzheimer’s disease.
Today June 7, 2004