31 March 2024

Save Your Brain: Simple steps and proven strategies to reduce your risk of cognitive decline – before it’s too late

| Rama Gaind
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Dr Ginni Mansberg makes a crucial case about what we should be doing right now to preserve our mental faculties and quality of life as we age. Photo: Supplied.

We don’t give it much thought unless medical issues surface, but the brain is the most important organ of our body — it’s the control centre. That is why it’s essential to protect it before the onset of old age.

The crucial case for protecting our brain, and having proven strategies at our disposal on how to do it, carries weight especially when they are written by well-known practising GP and media doctor Dr Ginni Mansberg.

Maintaining a healthy brain during one’s life is the uppermost goal in pursuing health and longevity. This is a subject that has personal significance because her family members had dementia. Dr Mansberg wanted to write this book so she could work out what could be done today to maximise our brain health and avoid dementia.

As the health of our brains increasingly takes centre stage, Dr Mansberg gives up-to-the-minute advice and strategies you can implement now to protect your brain as you age. The simple steps and proven strategies can reduce your risk of cognitive decline — before it’s too late.

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The evidence is clear: almost half of all cases of dementia and cognitive decline are preventable. Sadly, however, none are treatable. So, what are these lifestyle changes that really make a difference to our brain health? What do the experts do to protect themselves from cognitive decline? What can we do right now to safeguard our quality of life as we age?

The brain is a vital and complex organ. It controls what you think and feel, how you learn and remember, and the way you move and talk. It also controls things you’re less aware of – such as the beating of your heart and the digestion of your food.

Timely medical advice: now is the time to act to preserve your brain. What can we do to maximise our brain health and avoid dementia?

We want desperately to hold back the tide and delay this as long as possible. Think of the brain as a central computer that controls all the body’s functions. Brain health is a topic that weighs on the minds of many of us in midlife. A lot of us are now caring for parents or in-laws affected by dementia. It’s a stark reminder of our own brains’ vulnerability.

Dr Mansberg has packed this book with pearls of wisdom, from small tweaks you can make, to the ways you can change your whole approach to life, including diet, exercise, sleep and physical health.

“I delve into the studies and connect the dots between any given intervention and the proposed mechanisms behind it,” Dr Mansberg said.

“I also present the opinions of a range of brain health experts from around the world. And perhaps most interestingly, I invite these experts to share what they do in their own lives to prevent cognitive decline.

”These men and women have spent an enormous amount of time and energy researching our brains and, in many cases, helping people suffering from dementia, so the decisions they make when it comes to their own brain health are revealing.”

There are also some eye-opening comments from internationally renowned researcher in clinical psychiatry and brain health, Professor Ian Hickie.

“You know what you want to work in your 70s? Your brain,” Professor Hickie said. “I don’t mind if my knees don’t work so much if I have my brain working!”

He says if you wear out your teeth, you can get false ones. Even getting new knees is a reality.

“We even have amazing ways of renovating and repairing a worn-out heart. But your brain is precious. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.”

The co-director of health and policy at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre, Professor Hickie said “people are right to start thinking about their brains in midlife”.

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Furthermore, Dr Mansberg separately records her takeaway tips and advice from the experts.
All the strategies she suggests will make amazing differences to the structure of your body and mind.

“And, while warding off dementia, we’ll throw in a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even many cancers, for free! Every little change you make will help act as a prevention for all of these.

“There is no elixir of youth for the brain. There are no expensive supplements or brain games that will work wonders. It comes down to basic good health with a big dose of common sense. What is good for the heart is good for the brain.”

Save Your Brain, by Dr Ginni Mansberg, Murdoch Books, $34.99

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