Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Keep Sharp by Sanjay Gupta, MD

The key to treating dementia,” Gupta writes, “is prevention...” (227) Prevention is what this book is about. Gupta addresses what he calls the five pillars of brain health. Originally identified by AARP, they include move, discover, relax, nourish, and connect.

I was most impressed with the value of movement. Exercise is good for the body and the mind. Immobility can kill you, Gupta writes. When you're immobile, circulation slows, your body uses less of your blood sugar, there is a negative influence on blood fats and blood pressure, and it promotes muscle atrophy. The surprising fact is that walking two minutes every hour is associated with a 33% lower chance of dying over a three year period. (103) Exercise reduces senility as it increases blood flow (105) and strengthens the immune system (106)

Gupta writes about the benefits of discovering, such as taking up a new hobby or learning a new software program or language. There is the importance of sleep and relaxing, reducing stress. He informs us that eating certain foods and avoiding others helps prevent brain decline. And connecting, interacting with others, boosts our immune system and reduces the risk of cognitive decline.

There is a twelve week program included, suggesting adding a habit a week. Gupta rounds out his book with a final section on what to do when the diagnosis of Alzheimer's is given, such as where to find help.

Some of the information included in this book may be well known or just plain common sense. I do recommend it as a good compilation including the latest findings, a good explanation of cognitive decline conditions, and wise advise.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Sanjay Gupta, MD, is CNN's Emmy Award-winning chief medical correspondent and New York Times bestselling author. A member of the National Academy of Medicine, he works as an associate professor of neurosurgery at the Emory University School of Medicine.

Simon & Schuster, 336 pages.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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