Kelly I’ve never heard of brain health. What is it? Does it affect me?
Sabina Yes. Brain health affects everyone. In fact, everyone who has a brain should consider brain health, just like everybody who has teeth should consider dental health. So our brain is amazing, in fact it’s really our most precious resource. It allows us to think, to feel, to plan, to love, to laugh, to remember. It also controls and co-ordinates our actions and our reactions, so it’s really vital to keep it in good shape. Our brain is the most complex system in the universe and like most other complex systems, how it operates and functions is influenced by the environment within which it operates. For example, and for our brain, that environment is how we live. And our brain is constantly changing and our behaviours and experiences, so the things that we do every day and the lifestyle choices that we make help to shape it and have the capacity to boost our brain health. Now, we can even build resilience. Scientists call this resilience cognitive reserve and this reserve may minimise the impact that neurological conditions and neurogenerative diseases can have on cognitive function. In fact, research suggests that a brain healthy lifestyle can delay the onset of symptoms of MS that affect cognitive functions like memory retention.
Kelly asks Sabina what brain health is and does it affect MSers?
This interview is part of an MS Reporters Sponsored Series on brain health, supported by Novartis.
MS Reporter: Kelly
MS Expert: Professor Sabina Brennan is based at the Trinity College Dublin and researches cognition and the development of interventions to prevent decline.
Professor Sabina Brennan is co-director of the NEIL research program and professor at Trinity College Dublin’s Institute of Neuroscience. Her current research interests are in understanding differential decline in cognitive ageing, the early detection of cognitive decline.