Elizabeth Agnvall

Betsy Agnvall is a health editor and writer. 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.
If there’s one food that people associate with Valentine’s Day, it’s chocolate. More than half of those celebrating are expected to give candy this year, spending 1.8 billion dollars on sweet treats, according to the National Retail Federation. Although studies that find chocolate is good for your brain grab headlines, this Valentine’s Day consider skipping the candy and instead spending quality time with loved ones.
In February, we are surrounded by hearts. They’re everywhere—in the grocery store, shopping malls and email inboxes. You may also hear more about heart health, because February is  American Heart Month. Taking steps to strengthen your heart yields a bonus—you’ll be protecting your brain as well.
iStock_000042229578_CoupleKissing
Love might be good for the heart, but it turns out that sex is good for the brain, especially as we age. And, in fact, a healthy sex life seems to benefit men’s and women’s brain’s differently, a new study finds.
Two women speed walking
Good news for speed walkers. Many studies have shown that walking and other exercise helps protect the brain as we age. Now a new study finds that slow walking speed may be a sign of early Alzheimer’s disease.
Pills on top of hundred dollar bill
Retail prices for more than 100 widely used specialty prescription drugs surged by nearly 11 percent in 2013, according to a new AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) report issued today. The report found that the average annual cost of a specialty medication used to treat chronic diseases and conditions rose to more than $53,000 — greater than the U.S. median income and more than twice the $23,500 median income of people on Medicare.
Mature woman at the gym
Want a cheap and easy way to improve your brain health? Try lifting weights a couple times a week.
Delicious  portion of  fresh salmon fillet  with aromatic herbs,
With the recent news tying processed and red meats to cancer, you may already be cutting back on steak dinners. Here’s even more incentive: Two new studies have found that a Mediterranean-style diet — featuring more fish, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and less meat — may not only help keep your memory strong but also slow age-related brain shrinkage. There’s also good news for those who find it difficult to eat healthy all the time: Both studies found that just incorporating a few of the recommended foods into your diet seems to help.
Older couple preparing healthy meal with fresh vegetables
En español | An  AARP survey on brain health has found a significant gap between what people believe is good for their brains and what they actually do to preserve their cognitive function. The survey, of more than 1,500 adults over age 40, found that although 98 percent said maintaining and improving brain health was very or somewhat important, only about half are participating in activities — such as exercising, eating a healthy diet and reducing stress — that have been shown to protect cognitive health. Nearly 4 in 10 surveyed also said they have noticed a decline in their ability to remember things over the past five years.
happy ordinary mature couple cooking food with vegetables
In English | Una nueva encuesta realizada por AARP (en inglés) sobre la salud del cerebro demostró una diferencia significativa entre lo que las personas creen que es bueno para el cerebro y lo que realmente hacen para conservar la función cognitiva. La encuesta de 1,563 adultos mayores de 40 años encontró que aunque un 98% dijeron que mantener y mejorar la salud cerebral es muy o algo importante, solo alrededor de la mitad participan en actividades que han demostrado proteger la salud cognitiva —tales como hacer ejercicio, comer una dieta sana y reducir el estrés—. Además, casi cuatro de cada diez encuestados dijeron que durante los últimos cinco años han notado un deterioro en su capacidad para recordar cosas.
Two senior black women exercising together
For years, doctors have recommended exercise as one of the best ways to keep our brains healthy as we age. Now new research finds that regular sustained exercise may be able to slow or even reverse the biological changes that cause dementia. What’s more, exercise may even be an effective treatment for those with Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
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