* Alzheimer's Disease
* Memory Loss
The ability to think creatively, react quickly to new intellectual challenges and circumstances, remember phone numbers, addresses, even where we parked our car are just some of the valuable functions of a brain operating at peak efficiency. In a very real sense, our intelligence is perhaps our greatest gift.
Yet, the cells of the brain are under siege daily from both the inexorable and natural processes of aging, including exposure to cell-damaging free radical, age-related decrease in activity of important neuro-transmitters, as will as from exposure to toxic chemicals found in a wide range of consumer products, especially petroleum-based household cleaners, paints, and home and garden pesticides.
It is not surprising that experts have found the brain measurably loses function starting as early as age 45. Many otherwise healthy adults will lose a full 50 percent of their brain function related to memory, learning and concentration over the curse of their lives. A recent survey of 1,000 French adults found that two-thirds complained of memory problems. These problems are becoming more and more common in the 35 to 50 age group.
A decline in mental function can have a significant impact on both our physical and emotional health. Psychologist John Barefoot, of Duke University Medical Center, reports that in a study, which began in 1964 and followed people for several decades, those persons with the highest scores for despair, poor self-esteem, difficulty concentrating and low motivation had a seventy percent higher risk of heart attack and sixty percent higher risk of overall death compared to men and women with the lowest scores.
"We are living in a graying world," notes Ursula Lehr, Ph.D., of the University of Heidelberg and former Secretary of Health of the Federal Republic of Germany. "Never before in the world could so many people reach such an advanced age. Many studies have found that people who are mentally active, have higher IQs, a wider range of interests, a farther-reaching perspective and a greater number of social contacts, reach old age with greater feelings of psycho-physical well-being. It has been established that cognitive activity is essential for healthy aging."