Brain matters | Senior Lifestyle – E-Edition

The importance of exercise for the ageing brain

 Professor Perry Bartlett of the Queensland Brain Institute.

Professor Perry Bartlett of the Queensland Brain Institute.

MOST of us enjoy a game of trivia once in a while, but we never really consider the long term benefits it can have on our brains as we age.

And when the Redland District Committee on the Ageing (RDCOTA) embarked on trivia event Tournament of the Minds (TOTM) 20 years ago, the realisation of the impact on senior mental health was profound.

TOTM convenor Marianne Thornton-Vincent said the friendly competition helped to stimulate the brain into thinking.

“In addition to keeping minds active and exercising their memories, just as importantly, it is a chance to meet, have a chat and exchange jokes with each other away from their usual surroundings,” she said.

Seven Redlands aged care facilities take part, meeting on a monthly basis with each facility in turn acting as host, providing both the trivia questions and a lovely morning tea.

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 Senior Lifestyle.

Senior Lifestyle.

“Together with their accompanying diversional therapists, residents are challenged to answer the questions,” said Marianne.

Meanwhile, the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) has been conducting focussed studies in the hope to cure dementia.  

Memory is the reactivation of a group of neurons, and the strength of memories depends on the strength of connections (synapses) between neurons (synaptic plasticity).

Researchers at QBI focus on the central nervous system as a remarkably adaptive and continually changing system.

These neuronal changes (neuroplasticity) allow for the acquisition of new skills, the retention of memories, and even the recovery from brain injury.