A series of environmental and lifestyle factors and psychological/emotional traumatic conditions can have a significant impact on your brain health.
Research has shown that environmental toxins such as pesticides, even at low levels of exposure can lead to a decline in cognitive function that manifests as dementia or Alzheimers’s disease.
The modifiable lifestyle risk factors like – an unhealthy diet, improper hydration, sleep deprivation, and smoking affects the brain over time and can often precede the onset of brain disorders.
Read on to learn what all risk factors you need to be careful of to protect your brain health along with strategies designed to improve the functioning of your brain and defend your brain against the neurodegenerative disorders.
Risk Factors Responsible For The Onset Of Brain Disorders
Pesticides impair the nervous system and can cause headaches, dizziness, and even visual impairment. Chemicals in our food can cause hormonal disruptions, birth defects, cancers, cognitive dysfunction, liver damage, chronic fatigue, depression, and forgetfulness. Children are more affected than adults. Inhalation of sprayed pesticides or intake of contaminated food is highly injurious.
Neuron stimulation-termination imbalance in the brain induces surges of electrical activities or seizures. They can result in loss of function in specific areas of the brain, depending on the trigger. They can reduce your cognitive abilities and manifest as behavioral abnormalities. They can hamper brain growth, affect memory recall, cause behavior changes and mood disorders.
A recent study found that 37% of car crash victims admitted to hospital were diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury, majority (79%) of which were defined as minor. Mild TBIs occur more often in women, younger drivers, and those who were wearing seat-belts at the time of the crash. It is important to check for brain injury too, and not just neck injury, after a low-speed car crash.
Brain fog is not a natural part of aging. Poor quality or less hours of sleep, protein deficiency, constant long term stress or digestive imbalance can cause inflammation and hormonal imbalance leading to brain fog. Eat good fats rich in omega-3s like flax seed and coconut oil and supplement with quality probiotics. Avoid problem foods like dairy, eggs and wheat.
Of all the things that dehydration does to a human body, the most critical one is that it reduces the efficiency of your brain or the way it functions. Dehydration can affect the way you feel as well and does immediate damage to your mental abilities, which is worse. According to most of the researches, dehydration even shrinks your brain. Therefore, lack of water in your body is a very significant deficiency, which should be prevented as often as you can.
Sleep is one of the major keys to a healthy and fit life. A recent study says that brain cells can be killed off due to extended periods of wakefulness. This new research emphasizes on how critical it is to get plenty of high quality sleep. Not only does it harm your brain, but it can also lead to increase in obesity, Alzheimer’s and other preventable diseases.
Cigarette contains nicotine, which somehow manages to travel to the brain and mimicks the neurotransmitters acetylcholine. As a result, it can increase acetylcholine signaling throughout the brain. The neurons that respond to nicotine reduces the number of receptors for acetylcholine to help normalize their activity, leading to withdrawal symptoms.
Research has proved that a brain protein (neural cell adhesion molecule-NCAM2) that connects the synapse membranes in the brain is essential for memory function. In Alzheimers patients NCAM2 shows low synaptic levels in the hippocampus. This causes abnormal clumps or tangled fibers or tau tangles that are proving to be early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
Strategies To Improve Brain Functioning
Studies have shown that sexually active older men and women have higher levels of cognitive function. Participants in the study scored higher on memory recall and number sequencing skill tests as compared to their less active counterparts. Also sexually active couples felt less lonely, physically more active, were not depressed and had a better quality of life.
Structural and functional plasticity of the brain refers to its ability to retain new info and reassign lost function to its different regions. These neuron repair and regeneration properties can be exploited to cure diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Solving crossword and Sudoku puzzles initiate new neural connections. Meditation, rehabilitation and physical therapy can stimulate inactive neurons.
The presence of lymphatic vessels in the brain helps advances in the study of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, Autism, Multiple Sclerosis etc. For eg: In a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, large amounts of protein deposits are traced in the brain. The new study suggests that this may be occurring because of these lymphatic vessels which fail to remove the excess protein. The difference in the appearance of these vessels with age, can explain their role in the ageing process.