Everyday Health Tips from 6 Top Docs
Brain FitnessGAIL ROSSEAU, MD
Chief of surgery, Neurologic & Orthopedic Hospital of Chicago; assistant professor of neurosurgery, Rush Medical College
Dr. Rosseau makes a point of scheduling personal time to keep from burning out. During her 45-minute commute to work she listens to books on tape; she especially likes political science. "I need to read for my own mental health," says the 52-year-old neurosurgeon. "It keeps my brain sharp to stay abreast of the broad sweeps of thought, not just live in a medical bubble with nothing new to talk about when I go on rounds at the hospital."Her Advice
"Stay mentally engaged. It's the best way to keep your edge. Brain exercises are the latest fad, but anything that challenges you cognitively will help: Play Scrabble or chess, join a bridge or book club, or take classes."
"Eat for your brain: Dark-colored vegetables --kale, spinach, beets -- and bright-colored fruits like berries, prunes, and red grapes. I keep tangerines in my desk."
"Don't ignore persistent headaches. Most aren't serious, but occasionally they can signal an aneurysm or brain tumor. Three danger signs to check out promptly: Headaches are worse in the morning, they come on suddenly like a blinding thunderbolt, or you feel nauseated."
"Don't automatically reach for a headache pill. To avoid taking too much medicine I recommend nondrug strategies first, such as exercise, yoga, even meditation. If pain persists, try an OTC remedy before a prescription."Latest Breakthrough
"Recently scientists at Johns Hopkins identified a gene that puts people at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer's disease. This could lead to new therapies."
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