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Test Your Brain Health IQ

How much do you know about your brain and memory? The brain is like any other part of the body. Certain natural, predictable changes take place as we grow older. But today, brain researchers are learning more and more about the mysteries of the aging mind.

Man sitting on couch

Try this short quiz to see how much you know about the brain and the memory process.

True or False?

  1. As we age, we inevitably lose our mental abilities.

  2. Young people remember things better than older adults do.

  3. We lose brain cells our whole life, and they never grow back.

  4. Physical activity is one of the most important things an older adult can do to remain mentally sharp.

  5. We inherit our memory and intelligence.

  6. If a person has memory problems, he or she probably has Alzheimer's disease, and nothing can be done.

  7. Getting enough (and the right kind of) sleep is important for brain health.

  8. Around the age of 70, we begin having a harder time remembering names and words.

  9. You can "train" your memory.

  10. Saturated fat is bad for the brain.

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Answers to "Test Your Brain Health IQ"

1. As we grow older, we inevitably lose our mental abilities.

False. In reality, older adults can do much to retain, and even improve, mental ability. And although our brains may not be as quick as when we were younger, we have gained instinctive, increased knowledge about the world—otherwise known as wisdom.

2. Young people remember things better than older adults do.

True...and False. While older adults are less efficient at recalling recent events, researchers believe the older brain is "smarter" about what it does and does not need to remember.

3. We lose brain cells our whole life, and they never grow back.

False. Recent research proves that certain important areas of the brain can grow replacement cells throughout life.

4. Physical activity is one of the most important things an older adult can do to remain mentally sharp.

True. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, and stimulates the production of substances that protect it.

5. We inherit our memory and intelligence.

True...and False. Genes do enter in, but many other factors determine intelligence and memory skills. Education, nutrition, exercise and other lifestyle choices are equally important.

6. If a person has memory problems, he or she has Alzheimer's disease, and nothing can be done.

False. While Alzheimer's is a common cause of memory loss, many other conditions (including stroke, depression and overmedication) can also impair the memory. Many of these causes may be treatable, even reversible.

7. Getting enough (and the right kind of) sleep is important for brain health.

True. Not only does the brain "recharge" during sleep, but sleep is also necessary for memories of the previous day to be retained.

8. Around the age of 70, we begin having a harder time remembering names and words.

False. The process actually begins when we are younger. Most people begin to notice this around the age of 40.

9. You can "train" your memory.

True. Older adults, even people with earlier stage Alzheimer's or other memory impairment, can learn skills and tricks to enhance memory.

10. Saturated fat is bad for the brain.

True. More and more researcher confirms that foods which are bad for the heart are also bad for the brain. Remember: a "heart smart" diet is also "brain smart"!

Learn More

MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, offers resources for consumers on memory and other brain health topics.

To learn more about the importance of proper diagnosis of memory problems, see "Confusion and Forgetfulness: the Right Diagnosis is Importantin the December 2009 issue of Caring Right at Home. Caring Right at Home is pleased to offer information each month on brain health, memory care, and resources for family caregivers whose loved ones are living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia. See the next article in this issue to learn how home care supports family caregivers.

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Right at Home is a national organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for those we serve. We fulfill that mission through a dedicated network of locally owned, franchised providers of in-home care and assistance services.


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