Due to the 15-21 March World Brain Awareness Week, Acıbadem University Faculty of Medicine Neurology Department, Acıbadem Taksim Hospital Neurology Specialist Dr. Faculty Member Mustafa Seçkin talked about 6 problems that cause damage to our brain; made important suggestions and warnings!
Is your brain ready to age? According to TUIK data; In our country, the number of individuals over the age of 65 is around 10 million and in 2040, this figure is expected to exceed 16 million. Advances in the field of medicine also increase their life expectancy. As the proportion of elderly people in the society is increasing day by day, scientific studies have begun to seek answers to new questions: Will the brain of an individual who succeeds in reaching an advanced age remain as healthy as his other organs? While an individual's kidneys, lungs, liver and heart remain healthy, can their brain age faster than these organs? The answer is, unfortunately, "yes". Related to these, “Cognitive Reserve Theory” which has been emphasized in recent years; It is based on the principle that our brain is enriched or impoverished, in other words, 'tired early', as a result of our diet, education, lifestyle and the diseases we have experienced from birth, like a piggy bank. So what are the factors that rapidly age our brain?
In a research conducted at Imperial College London; Cognitive effects of Covid-19 were examined. In the research; In some of these patients, a kind of 'confusion' in the form of attention, memory and focus impairment was defined, which can persist even months after the symptoms of Covid-19 infection have improved. In IQ tests, it was shown that patients experienced up to 19 percent loss compared to before the Covid-10 infection. Neurology Specialist Dr. Faculty Member Mustafa Seçkin said, "This table means that the brains of some of the patients who have had Covid-19 have aged at least 10 years and once again reveals the importance of strict adherence to pandemic measures." says.
BRAIN VASCULAR DISEASES
High cholesterol, heart rhythm and valve disorders, high blood pressure (hypertension) and cerebrovascular diseases caused by diabetes are among the important diseases that tire the brain. Poorly controlled sugar and blood pressure levels, conditions affecting the heart rhythm and high cholesterol that can cause atherosclerosis can disrupt the blood supply of the brain and lead to brain damage that develops slowly or suddenly. “Sudden events are usually symptomatic, that is, they give symptoms. However, although it can be diagnosed and treated, serious permanent damage occurs in the brain tissue in most patients. warned Dr. Faculty Member Mustafa Seçkin continues as follows. “Small vessel diseases, especially caused by conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension, are mostly silent and insidious if they have not affected critical areas of the brain, such as memory-related areas. The millimetric damage seen as a result of the small vessels being affected can combine over the years, causing a large area to be affected and may reveal some kind of dementia or parkinsonism symptoms.
Sleep is a process in which the brain rests, empties its garbage and regenerates its strength. Dr. Faculty Member Mustafa Seçkin pointed out that the hormones secreted during sleep are of great importance for brain and mental health, “In addition, abnormal proteins produced in the brain during the day are cleared from the brain during sleep. Sleep disturbance causes these abnormal proteins to accumulate and contribute to the pathological process that leads to Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, sleep disorders are not only brain tiring but also serious clinical conditions that can be directly related to Alzheimer's disease. says.
The deficiency of vitamins such as B1, B6, B12 and vitamin D, folic acid or important structures such as iron, which is mostly associated with nutritional deficiency, but can also be seen due to impaired absorption as a result of stomach and intestinal diseases, disrupts the function of nerve cells and if this deficiency lasts for a long time, permanent damage to the brain can lead. Dr. Faculty Member Mustafa Seçkin emphasized that these conditions, which can be diagnosed with very simple screening tests, are among the problems that can be corrected in the fastest and easiest way. It has been shown that it can trigger neurodegenerative processes such as headache, depression, motivational disorders, and even Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases by creating inflammation. " says.
Hundreds of chemical reactions take place in nerve cells every second. Among the most important building blocks of these chemical reactions; electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, chlorine and magnesium. Inadequate or excessive intake of these electrolytes through diet, drinking insufficient water or chronic kidney diseases can lead to electrolyte disorders in the body. Electrolyte imbalance; From forgetfulness, fatigue and drowsiness, meaningless speech and even coma, it can cause unconsciousness, paralysis-like loss of muscle strength and epileptic seizure-like attacks. In addition, toxic substances that cannot be excreted in the urine in kidney failure can reach the brain through the circulation and directly damage the brain. This damage can be in the form of directly affecting brain functions as in other metabolic disorders. As a result of the failure of the kidneys to filter, the blood level of the drugs that need to be excreted from the kidneys can cause side effects in the brain, as if overdose. For example, if a blood thinning drug cannot be excreted from the kidney and reaches an excessive dose in the blood, it can cause bleeding in the brain and other organs. A significant part of kidney disorders seen in old age are due to insufficient drinking of water.
STABILITY AND STRESS
Another important factor that ages the brain early is; that most of us suffer from social isolation in the pandemic; 'inactivity'. It is stated that the cognitive abilities of the elderly individuals who never leave the house, remain inactive and experience intense stress by following the precautions in the Covid-19 pandemic, even though they do not have Covid-19, their cognitive abilities deteriorate much faster than expected. This shows the negative effects of inactivity and stress on aging of the brain. In addition, individuals with chronic depression from their youth may shrink in the hippocampal areas responsible for memory functions in their brains with the effect of stress hormones. This can increase the risk of dementia in old age.
6 important signs that the brain is tired!
Dr. Faculty Member Mustafa Seçkin, "The most important sign that the brain is tired, in other words damaged, is that our functionality has decreased." He explains the first signals of a tired brain as follows:
- If you have started to do a job in a short time before, or even have difficulty completing it,
- If you have difficulty running multiple jobs at the same time.
- If you have difficulty keeping track of appointments and invoices,
- If tiredness and drowsiness have started during the day,
- If you have decreased interest and motivation towards your hobbies,
If you're having trouble remembering a simple shopping list without writing, your functionality is beginning to be affected.