Career Guide


How old is your brain?

Take the test!

Your brain may be younger or older than your actual age. Are you ready to take the test?

Dr Vincent Fortanasce, professor of neurology at USC, has developed The Real Brain Age Test. He says that people can outlive their brains! Alzheimer’s and other types of brain diseases leave clues. These clues can be used to determine your real brain age.

If you want to take the test keep two things in mind:

This is not a “real” test, but rather a broad assessment of your general risk at any point in time.

There is a lot you can do, at any time, to improve the quality of your brain.

Take a sheet of paper and number from 1 to 25 and answer true or false to the following statements:

1.        I get seven to eight hours (or more) of sleep each night.

2.        I eat at least five or more servings of fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants daily.

3.        I eat at least one serving of blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries daily.

4.        I eat baked or broiled fish high in omega-3 fatty acids at least three times a week.

5.        I take fish oil supplements high in omega-3 fatty acids or flaxseed supplements at least five times per week.

6.        I take folic acid supplementation with my daily multivitamin.

7.        I take a low dose of aspirin daily.

8.        I drink red wine or grape juice at least five times per week.

9.        I exercise most days of the week for at least 30 minutes each time.

10.        I read challenging books, do crossword puzzles or sudoku, or I engage in activities that require active learning, memorisation, computation, analysis, and problem solving at least five times a week.

11.        My total cholesterol is less than 200.

12.        My LDL (“bad”) cholesterol is less than 110.

13.        I have “longevity genes” in my family, with members who lived to 80 and older without memory loss.

14.        I am not obese (less than 20 pounds overweight for a woman, less than 30 pounds overweight for a man).

15.        I eat a Mediterranean style diet (high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and olive oil as the source of fat; little red meat).

16.        I use olive oil and spreads with no trans fat instead of butter or margarine.

17.        I have never smoked cigarettes.

18.        I have normal blood pressure.

19.        I do not have diabetes.

20.        I do not have metabolic syndrome (high triglycerides, central obesity, and hypertension), also called insulin resistance syndrome.

21.        I do not have a sleep disorder such as snoring or obstructive sleep apnea, or untreated insomnia.

22.        Daily uncontrolled stress is not a problem for me.

23.        I have a strong support group and enjoy many activities with friends, colleagues, and family members.

24.        I have no problems with short or long term memory.

25.        I am ready to prevent Alzheimer’s and am willing to do whatever it takes.

Now please go back and count how many of the 25 true or false statements you marked “True”. Write your score on a sheet of paper and then use the following key to determine your Real Brain Age and risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Keep in mind that your score points out a general direction. It will give you useful information that will be easy to understand and apply to your diet and lifestyle habits.

23-25

Congratulations! You are aging well. Subtract 15 years from your chronological age for your Real Brain Age.

You are presently healthy with a youthful, productive mind. Keep working to become even healthier. Unless things change in your life, your risk of Alzheimer’s disease is extremely low.

20-22

Not Bad! Subtract 10 years from your chronological age for your Real Brain Age.

You are doing a lot to take care of your physical and mental health. Check the specific questions you marked “false” and be sure to pay attention to changes you need to make.

15-19

OK. Your Real Brain Age is the same as your chronological age.

That said, you have a mild risk of Alzheimer’s disease, so pay attention. Carefully review your results to see what changes you need to make on your diet, exercise, mental stimulation, or rest and relaxation.

12-14

You have a moderate risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Add five years to your chronological age for your Real Brain Age.

While there’s not a lot of disparity between your chronological age and your Real Brain, it’s important that you review the quiz and circle any of the statements that indicate some work is needed. Talk to your doctor about your Alzheimer’s risk factors you have to see if treatment is indicated.

0-11

You have a high risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Add 10 years to your chronological age for your Real Brain Age.

You may want to call your doctor and talk openly about health problems you may have. Ask if you’re doing all you can to manage these problems. Flag responses that may help to decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

How did you do?

I scored 21 out of 25. Considering what I do for a living, I wasn’t really pleased.

But, I feel good about now having four things to work on. I plan on bringing them up with my doctor because I believe any changes should be discussed with a physician.

Dr Fortanasce’s recently published book is called The Anti-Alzheimer’s Prescription - The Science-Proven Plan to Start at Any Age. I highly recommend it! I have no financial interest - zero - in recommending it. I do believe that if you are serious about taking care of your brain this is a book you should read.

We used to believe that Alzheimer’s just occured randomly. Neuroscientists now know that damage associated with this disease begins long before any symptoms show up – even while you are “at the top of your game”. You can choose to have a healthier brain!

In the next Brain Bulletin you will learn about the surprising power of a smile.

And always remember: “You are a genius!”

Enjoy your brain.

Terry Small is a brain expert who resides in Canada and believes that anyone can learn how to learn easier, better, faster, and that learning to learn is the most important skill a person can acquire. To interact with Small, email mystarjob@leaderonomics.com

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