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Brain health depends on exercise, social engagement

Mitigating risk for Alzheimer’s disease is crucial in one’s 40s

February 20, 2024

IN THE NEWS: The risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease may feel like a distant one for many people in their 40s.

well + good logo black wg on lavender backgroundWhile it’s true that most sufferers don’t show symptoms until after 65, according to the National Institute on Aging, there’s no time like the present to do things that keep the mind strong.

Hayley B. Kristinsson, PsyD, a UCI Health neuropsychologist who specializes in memory disorders, dementia, Alzheimer's disease and neuropsychological testing, spoke to Well + Good about brain-sharpening behaviors.

"People who are physically active in their 40s have a lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment. Not only does exercise increase volume in some regions, it can also help your brain function better.”

She also stresses the importance of being social and connecting with friends.

“We are innately social beings, and social neuroscience has shown us that social engagement can impact brain health.”

Kristinsson is an assistant professor and the director of clinical training for adult neuropsychology in the Department of Neurology at UCI School of Medicine. She is a board-certified UCI Health neuropsychologist whose clinical interests include memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, cognitive issues in aging, neuropsychological testing and neurological disorders.

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