The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) today launched an online quiz to help older Iowans determine their risk for cognitive decline and what steps to take to reduce that risk. Anyone can take the Save Your Brain quiz online at https://idph.iowa.gov/save-your-brain.
“’Save Your Brain’ is based on the most recent science available,” said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. “The assessment analyzes diet, physical activity, brain engagement and social interaction, and comes up with a list of things an individual can do to lower their risk for dementia or other forms of cognitive decline.” Because of the continuing research in this area, the quiz will be reviewed at least annually to reflect the most up-to-date science.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in Iowa and the U.S. and cognitive decline and dementia are often contributing factors in other deaths. IDPH is encouraging health organizations, community groups and individuals to access and use the online materials; for example, Broadlawns Hospital in Des Moines is using the quiz as part of its dementia risk reduction program.
One aspect of the assessment, diet, focuses on the consumption of “brain healthy” foods; research shows some of the best foods for brain health are vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine.
The risk reductions suggested because of the quiz often work together to benefit brain health and it is important to maintain healthy habits in all areas. The goal of the quiz is to identify areas in an individual’s everyday life to improve current and future cognitive health, as well as improve physical health. Quinlisk recommends taking the quiz, working on the suggested improvements for six months, and then taking the quiz again to see how their risk of dementia has been reduced.