While our website and smart phone app may be new, the Hello Brain Health Challenge has already hit the small screen on RTE.
The Irish TV show’s Doctors on Call: Community Challenge showcased the latest cures, treatments and therapies being road-tested by members of the public and Dr Sabina Brennan, who is leading a Europe-wide brain health awareness campaign, took part in an episode about brain health.
Alongside episodes featuring hypnotherapy and new diets, Dr Brennan of the NEIL Programme at the Institute of Neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), challenged a group of retired ladies in Mitchelstown to reduce their fears about memory loss by being more proactive about their brain health over six weeks.
Dr Brennan gave the ladies a challenge pack which included short films and top tips for brain health developed at TCD which are now available on hellobrain.eu. The initially sceptical members of the Ozanam Active Retirement Group were asked to follow the top tips for brain health and keep a daily diary of the one thing that they did everyday for their brain health.
The ladies weren’t given a strict list of daily activities. Instead they were given broad guidelines and told to find activities that challenged them personally, that involved change and learning and, most importantly, that they enjoyed. Improving your brain health should be as routine as brushing your teeth and the challenge really focused on building a daily habit.
The diaries recorded the chosen brain health activity and then, on a scale of 1-10, the ladies rated each task in terms of the challenge it presented, the novelty of the task, the amount of learning involved and how much they enjoyed it.
And before you think these ladies were out jet-skiing, or taking on Russian chess masters or writing a novel to boost their brain health, the diaries they kept show simply keeping your brain constantly challenged or indulging in physical activity provided some of the most challenging and enjoyable activities.
Here’s just a few of simple tasks the ladies recorded in their diaries:
“Learned a new card game.”
“I climbed 54 stairs and back down.”
“Had lunch with my brother in law”
“Went to football match and visited a friend.”
“Went to a dance social.”
“Minded my grandchild for a few hours.”
“Relaxed with a book.”
All those above diary entries scored very highly in terms of enjoyment for the ladies, but they also follow the Hello Brain top tips. By keeping physically active, socially engaged, mentally challenged as well as managing your stress and thinking young you may be protecting your brain health.
All the ladies greatly enjoyed their time taking the Hello Brain Health Challenge and we think it showed them and the viewers that it’s really never too soon to start looking after your brain! The survey completed by the ladies showed that we reduced their fears about memory loss and many of the ladies expressed greater confidence.