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Could Covid shrink the brain?

An Oxford University study examined 400 people who caught the virus and compared scans of their brains before and after infection.

They found degeneration was happening three times faster than normal for middle-aged people.

There was shrinkage and tissue damage in regions linked to smell and mental capacities, months after the subjects tested positive. Researchers mentioned that even though the effects were more pronounced in older people who had been hospitalized for their symptoms, even those with mild symptoms had some changes. It looks as if Covid does speed up cognitive decline - a subject worthy of further investigation.

Tips to reduce your risk of dementia

For many people, growing old comes with many health fears and one of the most terrifying is the risk of developing dementia.

Thankfully, however, experts are saying that a few simple lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of developing the progressive cognitive condition, which can affect cognitive function by a third.

"Most people believe that aging causes major health problems, but that doesn't happen until your 90s," says Professor Sir Muir Gray, co-author of Increase Your Brainability and Reduce Your Risk of Dementia.

The good news is there are effective ways to help you protect your brain:

1. Walk every day

Brisk walking every day for 30 minutes is one of the best things you can do to reduce your risk of dementia. Especially with age, you need to do a little more, as aging reduces your resilience.

2. Sort your sleep

Too little sleep (less than six hours) or too much (more than nine hours) is associated with a reduction in cognitive ability.

3. Reduce stress

When stress becomes long-term, it allows inflammation to get out of control, which eventually contributes to conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and dementia.

4. Reduce your cholesterol

High levels of 'bad' cholesterol indicate a higher risk of stroke, heart disease, and vascular dementia. Medication can help but should be taken in addition to lifestyle changes.

5. Lower your blood pressure

It's possible to lower your blood pressure by not being overweight, stopping smoking, reducing your salt intake, cutting back on alcohol, and exercising regularly.

6. Boost social interaction

Keeping up interactions with those around you is one of the most significant things you can do to reduce your risk of dementia. Try to learn new skills by engaging in purposeful work, as well as maintaining and increasing contact with other people.


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