BRAIN NEWS YOU CAN USE (January, 2013)

By Gail Sanders Durgin, Ph.D., BCN-Fellow, QEEGT

Can brushing your teeth help reduce your chances of developing dementia?

In a study published in the August 2012 Issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers found that senior citizens who brushed their teeth regularly and kept their gums healthy reduced their chances of developing dementia as they age. The seniors were followed over an 18 year period.

The subjects were all free of dementia symptoms at the beginning of the study. Seniors who did not brush their teeth at least once a day were up to 65 percent more likely to develop dementia than seniors who brushed at least one time a day.

"Not only does the state of your mind predict what kind of oral health habits you practice, it may be that your oral health habits influence whether or not you get dementia," said Annlia Paganini-Hill the researcher who lead the study. Other studies have found that more bacteria related to gum disease are found in the brains of people with Alzheimer. Pagannini-Hill thinks the gum bacteria may enter the brain and cause brain damage and inflammation.

Other diseases that have also been linked to gum-disease related bacteria are heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

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Can Exercise Help Your Depression?

A special Health Report from Harvard Medical School evaluated depression. In this report, the usefulness of exercise as part of a treatment for depression was examined. They conducted a review of studies going back to 1981 and concluded that exercise on a regular basis can improve mood in people with mild to moderate depression.

In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 1999, subjects were divided into three groups in which one group did regular aerobic exercise, the second group took antidepressants and the third group exercised and took antidepressants. After 16 weeks, the majority of people in all three groups were no longer classified as having major depression. The antidepressants worked the fastest but exercise was effective if someone wanted to avoid medication.

In a follow-up study six months after the original study, the effects of the exercise lasted longer than the effects of the antidepressants. Researchers found that the people who exercised on a regular basis after the completion of the original study were less likely to have a relapse of their depression regardless of the original group they were part of.

A 2005 study found that walking fast for 35 minutes a day five times a week or for 60 minutes a day for three days a week was significant in reducing symptoms of depression. Lesser amount of time walking were not as helpful in reducing symptoms.

Exercise will increase the amount of endorphins that circulate in the body. The perception of pain is reduced by endorphins which may improve mood.
Other benefits of exercise are reduction of blood pressure, protection from cancer and heart disease and improved self esteem. For general health, experts recommend a half hour of walking most days of the week.


Gail Sanders Durgin, Ph.D. has been providing neurofeedback and biofeedback at Neurofeedback Associates Inc since 2000. She previously worked in mental health and developmental disabilities services for 18 years. Dr. Durgin offers the most advanced treatment services in the field in order to offer individualized client centered solutions to improve brain and life performance.

Published in Natural Triad, January, 2013


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