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The No. 1 Rule for Keeping Your Brain Sharp (According to 101 yr old Dr)

August 10, 2023.

At 101 years old, I’m the ‘world’s oldest practicing doctor’: My No. 1 rule for keeping your brain sharp

Written by: Dr. Howard Tucker.  This article originally was published here: At 101 years old, I’m the ‘world’s oldest practicing doctor’: My No. 1 rule for keeping your brain sharp (cnbc.com)

Photo: Austin Tucker for “What’s Next?”

I’ve been a practicing doctor and neurologist for more than seven decades. And at 101 years old, people often ask me how I keep my brain sharp.

Good genes and a bit of luck can give you a head start, but there is one principle I live by that anyone can implement: Keep your mind engaged through work, social and entertainment activities.

As we age, we go through natural changes that affect our mental processing abilities. Some areas of the brain may shrink, communication between neurons may become less effective, and blood flow may decrease.

But like any other muscle in the body, our mind needs consistent exercise to thrive. I use three daily rituals to boost my brain health.

  1. I go to work.

Research shows a correlation between retiring and increased cognitive decline — which is why I still haven’t retired.

I was named the world’s oldest practicing doctor by the Guinness World Records. Sara, my wife of 66 years, also still practices psychoanalysis and psychiatry at age 89.

My job requires me to review a number of medical subjects and think through problems. Staying up to date with the latest advancements in neurology keeps my brain busy.

Volunteering, pursuing a hobby and learning new skills can provide great mental stimulation. In my early 60s, for example, I attended law school at night, after conducting my full-time medical practice. I passed the Ohio Bar Exam at 67.

  1. I stay social.

Research has indicated that strong relationships may help maintain our memory and cognitive function.

Unfortunately, at my age, many of my closest friends, family members and colleagues have passed away.  But I am fortunate that my job has allowed me to build relationships with younger colleagues.

Sara and I also make it a priority to have dinner with people in our community.

At least twice a week, we eat with my daughter and her husband and my son and his wife. We enjoy trying new restaurants with friends and colleagues, too.

  1. I read for entertainment.

When I’m not reading about the latest advancements and treatments in neurology, I like to read biographies and detective stories.

Immersing yourself in a good book, fiction or non-fiction, requires your brain to process a bulk of new information. I believe this is key to keeping your mind sharp.

 

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References

Tucker, Howard.  “At 101 years old, I’m the ‘world’s oldest practicing doctor’: My No. 1 rule for keeping your brain sharp”.  At 101 years old, I’m the ‘world’s oldest practicing doctor’: My No. 1 rule for keeping your brain sharp (cnbc.com).  August 10, 2023.

 

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