(The first chapter of my book “I Want My Mind Back” is available for free here.)
I saw a woman post some really good news on Facebook recently. She had gone to see her neurologist, and the neurologist had given her a memory test, and her score had gone up. I mean, like, up significantly.
Of course, she was thrilled, and people were thrilled for her. They were like, “Wow, that’s amazing. Great. How did you do that?”
And she said, “Well, let me think. Uh, I took . . .” and then she listed like two or three things she’s taking. She didn’t mention anything she’s doing.
What really moves the needle often isn’t what you take, it’s what you do.
And you know, I’m really happy for her. But here’s something important here I really try to help people understand. For most people with cognitive impairment who are trying to slow it down, or stop it, or get better, what really moves the needle for them often isn’t what they take, it’s what they do.
That’s what I want to talk to you about today. Hi, I’m Tony Dearing of GoCogno.com, the website for people with mild cognitive impairment.
Go Cogno is not just a catchphrase. It’s an approach.
It’s the basis of my book, “I Want My Mind Back,” and toward the end of the book, I break it down into the seven basic concepts that I call the Go Cogno Credo. Right now, I’m doing a series of videos where I talk a little more about each of those concepts.
So in this second video, I talking about the first “O” in Go Cogno. It stands for: Orient yourself toward action. By that, I mean measure yourself more by what you do than by what you take.
For sure, there are things you can take for better brain health. Certain medications or supplements may be appropriate for you, and if your doctor recommends them, then yes, take them.
There are no drugs approved by the FDA for the treatment of MCI.
But for the treatment of MCI, there really isn’t a whole lot you can “take.” There are no drugs approved by the FDA for the treatment of MCI. There are a handful of Alzheimer’s drugs that a doctor may prescribe “off-label” for someone with MCI, but at best those have limited benefit and very serious side effects.
On the other hand, there are plenty of things you can “do.” And they work.
Someday, we’ll have better treatments. But here’s what I want to impress upon you: Lifestyle choices, particularly physical activity, diet, stress management, restorative sleep, brain training — already offer a proven benefit for people with MCI that medicine may never be able to match.
And they’re available right now. So put your emphasis there. They can make a real difference for you.
Here’s an exercise that may help. Divide a piece of paper down the middle. On one side, list the things you are taking. On the other, list the things you are doing. Ideally, the list of things you’re doing should be at least as long as the list of things you’re taking, if not longer.
That’s how you can know you’re taking a balanced, comprehensive approach to aggressively defend your cognition.
Take what you’re told to take, but define yourself by what you do.
So just remember, the way to go after your MCI is less in the taking than in the doing. Take what you’re told to take, but define yourself by what you do.
Of course, I go much deeper into all of this in my book, and if you want to learn more about that, I invite you to read the first chapter for free here.
Thanks for joining me today. I’ll see you again next week, when we’ll talk about the concept of compounding. You know what compounding interest can do for your money, right? Just wait until you see what compounding can do for your cognition. See you next Sunday. Until then, as always, be kind to your mind.
The Go Cogno Credo
G — Grind it out: What “superpower” helps people halt memory loss? Sheer relentlessness
O — Orient yourself toward action: Why the best medicine for MCI may not be a pill
C — Compound your way to a better outcome
O — Optimize for maximum benefit
G — Go with your gut
N — Know your numbers
O — Overindulge in self-care