BOONVILLE –  The University of Missouri Extension in Cooper County is offering a Boost Your Brain & Memory: Brain Fitness Class. Just as you can control and improve your general physical health with good habits, so too can you improve the health of your brain — boosting your memory and mental agility, as well as reducing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementias.

Although research is finding links between genes and one’s risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, the exact cause is more likely a combination of genetics and other factors. Practicing good brain health at any age can help stave off the disease, as well as build up your cognitive reserve. Cognitive reserve is a term describing the brain’s resilience toward damage.

The good news is that our brains are able to continue forming new neural connections throughout our life cycle. (This is called neuroplasticity.) In other words, no matter what your age, your brain health can improve as the internal structure of its neurons changes and as the number of synapses between neurons increases. Both of these phenomena can be triggered by changes in our behavior, environment, and learning.

You can boost your brain health by focusing on healthy habits in six areas: heart health, nutrition, physical activity, social engagement, cognitive engagement, and stress management.

The class uses a whole-person approach that helps you form new habits to live a

healthier lifestyle, remember things better, be more organized, pay closer attention and

regulate your emotions. Each participant will receive a workbook including memory

exercises, tips on nutrition and exercise, and summaries of evidence-based research on

brain health. Our aim is to help participants implement new habits to maintain

cognitive health while also practicing new skills for better memory.

The workshop will meet on seven consecutive Thursdays, starting November 8th through

December 20th, in the Extension Office's conference room located at 510 Jackson Road

in Boonville, MO from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The workshop has a registration fee of

$25 and is open to any and all participants.

To register, call the Cooper County Extension Office at (660) 882-5661.