Happy Mind, Happy Life

Happy Mind, Happy Life: 10 Simple Ways to Feel Great Every Day. A science-backed guide to a calmer, happier you.

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How To Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s and Keep Your Brain Young with Dr Tommy Wood

by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee   /  November 30, 2022

In the UK, one in 14 people over 65 will develop dementia, with that figure rising to one in six once we’re over 80. It’s fair to say it’s the disease many people fear the most. But this podcast makes it clear that cognitive decline is not a natural or inevitable part of ageing. During the course of this conversation, returning guest Dr Tommy Wood outlines plenty of simple, enjoyable things that we can all start doing right now to improve our brain health and stave off age-related dementia.

Dr Tommy Wood is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Neuroscience at the University of Washington, US. He holds a degree in biochemistry from Cambridge, a medical degree from Oxford, achieved his PhD in physiology and neuroscience in Oslo, and has published papers and lectured across the globe. It’s fair to say that when it comes to brain health and longevity, he knows his stuff.

We kick off our conversation with the empowering news that we can resist declining brain function simply by challenging ourselves more. We can make new cells, new connections and change the structure around them, harnessing the neuroplasticity of the brain. And it doesn’t matter if we’re 28 or 80, he says. MRI scans prove the brain can adapt at any age.

Tommy explains the importance of rest, for the brain to consolidate all its new pathways, and nutrition to provide the fuel it needs to function well and grow. We talk about the role of B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids for brain development, and the fact there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to optimum diet.

We also talk about the similarity between training your muscles and training your brain. And the research conclusively shows that the more muscle mass you have, and the more you move it, the lower your risk of cognitive decline. Tommy talks us through the types of exercises and the number of reps we need to do to gain muscle and brain benefits. And it’s probably less than you think.

We also cover the surprising value of video games, the importance of social connection, and why going to dance classes might just be the best thing you can do for your brain and body. This is a fantastic episode, jam packed with life-changing practical information. I hope you enjoy listening.

Disclaimer: The content in the podcast and on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.*

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Watch the video version of this interview – click below.

Find out about Tommy:

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Related Feel Better Live More episodes:

#167 The Truth About Fitness and Keeping Your Brain Healthy with Dr Tommy Wood

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*DISCLAIMER: Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have heard on the podcast or on my website.

†Disclosure: All books marked with a † are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We take part in Amazon’s affiliate advertising program designed to provide a way for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon’s website. You are not charged any extra by using these links to purchase books.

Dr. Rangan Chatterjee MbChB, BSc (Hons), MRCP, MRCGP