Brain health myths people commonly believe, tips for boosting your memory

Here's some tips on how to maintain a healthy brain

HOUSTON – After a COVID-19 infection, many people are complaining about lingering symptoms of “brain fog.” It’s that sluggish, fuzzy feeling you get when you can’t think clearly, often felt while you’re sick.

Now, neurologist Dr. Desiree Thomas with Kelsey-Seybold Clinic said it’s driving patients in with complaints about how to recover their brain function after an infection.

“The scan looks normal but yet they know their body is not back to where it was before,” Dr. Thomas explains the common frustration.

Her advice for this kind of brain function is to eat a healthy, diet, exercise and get the COVID vaccine. Although people who’ve had the virus have natural immunity, the vaccine is associated with improving long-hauler symptoms. The idea is, it gives a boost of antibodies needed to kick the last symptoms and restore the body to where it was before the infection.

While talking with patients, Dr. Thomas finds many believe myths about brain health that may actually impede our ability to prevent cognitive decline:

MYTHS ABOUT BRAIN HEALTH

1. If your memory is bad, there’s nothing you can do about it
“There are lots of things you can do about it,” Thomas said. “More and more we’re finding that your diet and exercise make a big difference. Although we would like to think there’s a pill or a magic pill we can take that’s going to make our memory better, that’s not always true, but we certainly can try to have a more healthy diet and we can exercise, and so those are things you can do to make your memory better.”
2. Supplements boost your brainpower
While Gingko Biloba and other supplements are touted as brain-boosters, Thomas said they’re not better than a healthy diet.
3. Brains cannot function well on lack of sleep
“There are people that need less sleep than others and other people that need more sleep than others, that is true, but I don’t think there’s anybodys’ brain who can get away with very little sleep,” Thomas said.

BRAIN TEASERS

As for brain teasers and games, she said to get any benefit you need to choose something challenging that you do consistently and complete the task.

She also said there is growing concern GPS navigation can weaken the part of your brain for spatial awareness, which gives our sense of direction and memory. So, try to rely less on those!

FAMILY HISTORY OF DEMENTIA

Genetic dementia is very rare, according to Thomas. In most cases, she said just because a family member has dementia, doesn’t mean that you will. But consult with your doctor to see if that’s something that you might be at risk for and then determine if there’s anything you can do to reduce your chances of developing dementia.