Betsy Agnvall is a features editor for health at AARP Media. She's fascinated by research that helps us understand how to live our lives to the fullest - keeping mind and body strong and sharp. She previously worked as a freelance writer for The Washington Post, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Safety and Health magazine and other publications.

A Delicious Diet That Protects Your Memory

Want a diet that gives an extra boost to your brain? Try a few almonds for a midmorning snack, extra-virgin olive oil on your salad at lunch, and walnuts on your fish dinner. Adding additional helpings of extra-virgin olive oil and nuts to the already brain-healthy Mediterranean diet can help protect your memory and thinking skills, at least according to one new Spanish study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The research builds on previous studies finding that the Mediterranean diet — rich in …

Tough Job? You May Reap Brain-Health Rewards Later

Ever feel like you’ve worked so hard that your brain needs a break at the end of the day? Or that you’ve negotiated your way through so many political minefields that you feel you should get a peace prize? Although it may seem as if your workplace is frying your brain, it turns out the mental demands of work help protect your memory and thinking skills later in life, at least according to one new study published in the journal …

Major Report Shows What Works, What Doesn’t, for Better Brain Health

The Institute of Medicine today released a groundbreaking new report that spells out what older Americans can do to keep their brains healthy into very old age, while offering insight into the lifestyle habits and medications that can lead to cognitive decline. The report, cosponsored by AARP and authored by some of the leading neuroscientists, psychiatrists and brain-health experts in the country, offers the first multidisciplinary look at how aging affects the brain. It creates a new term — “cognitive …

Informe importante revela lo que funciona y lo que no funciona para mejorar la salud del cerebro

In English | El Institute of Medicine (IOM) publicó hoy un informe innovador que explica lo que pueden hacer los adultos mayores en Estados Unidos para mantener el cerebro sano hasta edades muy avanzadas, al tiempo que ofrece una perspectiva de los hábitos de vida y los medicamentos que pueden provocar el deterioro cognitivo. Fotos: 9 maneras de hacer amistades y mejorar la salud de tu cerebro. El informe, coauspiciado por AARP y escrito por algunos de los principales neurocientíficos, …

Recipe for Brain Health: Diet, Exercise, Brain Training

A large new study has confirmed what doctors have suspected for years: that embracing a healthy lifestyle can slow the rate of cognitive aging in older adults at risk of dementia. The study, published this week in the Lancet, found that a combination of a healthy diet, strength training, aerobic exercise, brain games and controlling blood pressure and weight slows mental decline in older people. For this study,  1,260 Finnish men and women between the ages of 60 and 77 who were at …

Common Sleep and Allergy Medications Linked to Dementia, Alzheimer’s

You may want to check your medicine cabinet after reading this. A new study links long-term use of common medications — including over-the-counter drugs for insomnia and hay fever — to a higher risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Medications in the study included antihistamines found in Benadryl, sleep aids found in Tylenol PM, and certain antidepressants and treatments for bladder control. >> Hidden Dangers of Common Cold Meds Dementia risk in older adults starts to rise after three years of regular use …