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Your Mind at Its Best -- 40 Ways to Keep Your Brain Sharp
by David B. Biebel, DMin, James E. Dill, MD, and Bobbie Dill, RN © 2011
(Revell: Grand Rapids, MI) All rights reserved. [233 pages]
[Answer 28 of 40 questions to receive 8 hours of Continuing Education credit]

Chapter 1: Alter Your Brain with Prayer and Meditation (p. 15-18)
1. The authors make the bold claim that it is an “undisputed fact that prayer and meditation actually alter the brain in ways that promote physical, emotional, cognitive, and relational health.” What is the best evidence for their claim?
a. testimonies from hundreds of people who pray and meditate.
b. brain scans which show a more active anterior cingulate in those who pray and meditate, evidencing greater empathy and less fear and anger.
c. numerous biblical injunctions to pray and meditate.

Chapter 2: Is It Alzheimer’s, Aging, or Stress? (p. 19-24)
2. Who has LEAST likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s?
a. Seniors who make extra-virgin olive oil a part of their diet, since it contains Oleocanthal, a compound which inhibits the protein Amyloid, which is linked to Alzheimer’s.
b. Seniors who eat a Mediterranean-style diet but don’t exercise.
c. Seniors who exercise regularly and eat whatever they want to eat.
d. Seniors who eat a Mediterranean-style diet and exercise regularly.

Chapter 3: Avoid Dirty Water (p. 25-30)
3. Which is TRUE?
a. All bottled water is safe for drinking.
b. City-regulated tap water is safe for drinking, since it must meet standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
c. You can have your tap water tested by contacting your state’s environmental health department for a referral to a certified laboratory.
d. Fresh creek water is safe to drink.

Chapter 4: Become a Lifelong Learner (p. 31-34)
4. Learning stimulates the growth of new brain cells, even in seniors.
a. True
b. False

Chapter 5: Brain Safe Your Home (p. 35-40)
5. We no longer are at risk for lead-poisoning in our homes, since lead-based paint was banned in the United States in 1978.
a. True
b. False

Chapter 6: Discover Something (p. 41-45)
6. Our brains grow new neuronal pathways in response to mental challenges, including new discoveries. Considering great moments like Newton’s discovery of gravity and Descartes’ Cartesian coordinates, what is the best state of mind for the brain to discover something new?
a. When the brain is busy with a flurry of activity.
b. When the brain is at rest, such as during sleeping.
c. When the brain is in a happy, serene moment.
d. When the brain is under the influence of a stimulant.

Chapter 7: Discover Your Gold Mind (p. 46-49)
7. Our brain sends messages through neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). A proper balance of neurotransmitters is necessary to ward off depression. The author recommends all of the following for managing depression EXCEPT
a. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish
b. anti-depressant medications
c. relying upon one’s faith in God alone and nothing else
d. attending a depression support group

Chapter 8: Dodge a Stroke (p. 50-54)
8. Stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of disability. Which of the following does NOT increase a person’s chance of having a stroke?
a. Women taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during menopause or using birth control pills.
b. Smoking, illicit drug use, or excessive alcohol consumption.
c. Obesity
d. Having LDL lower than 70, HDL higher than 50, triglycerides less than 150, and blood pressure less than 120/80.

Chapter 9: Don’t Eat Squirrel Brains (p. 55-59)
9. You can prevent contracting trichinosis from eating pork by cooking it at 137 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
a. True
b. False

Chapter 10: Don’t Let Your Habits Become Addictions (p. 60-64)
10. Any behavior that is done in excess and that causes the pleasure centers in our brains to short-circuit with too much dopamine can become compulsive behavior that leads to addiction. We become hooked not so much on the activity, but on the feelings produced by the chemicals in our brains. This includes compulsive use of the Internet, sex, pornography, shopping, gambling, eating, work, and exercise.
a. True
b. False

Chapter 11: Eat Safe Fish (p. 65-69)
11. The fish that are highest in Omega-3 fatty acids include wild salmon, high mountain trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, and anchovies.
a. True
b. False

Chapter 12: Embrace the Digital Age (p. 70-76)
12. The authors recommend using the Internet for
a. finding good books to read.
b. communicating with family and friends.
c. buying almost anything at affordable prices.
d. obtaining information about current events quickly.
e. playing games that sharpen one’s mind
f. all of the above

Chapter 13: Enjoy Sports (p. 77-80)
13. Because they require too much sitting down, the authors discourage spectator sports.
a. True
b. False

Chapter 14: Equip Your Brain by Exercising Your Heart (p. 81-84)
14. Moderate exercise produces the maximum brain benefits. For most people, this would be exercising for thirty to forty-five minutes 4 to 5 times each week, at 60% of one’s maximum heart rate.
a. True
b. False

Chapter 15: Feed Your Neurons Well (p. 85-89)
15. Eating a wide variety of whole foods rich in antioxidants such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and berries, helps to combat free radicals which cause degenerative diseases.
a. True
b. False

Chapter 16: Get Off the Couch (p. 90-93)
16. In this chapter, the authors only recommend “brain fitness” programs that have been substantiated by the gold standard of scientific inquiry (double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized studies).
a. True
b. False

Chapter 17: Go to Church (p. 94-98)
17. Research shows which of the following methods worked better and faster to reduce stress?
a. listening to music
b. reading
c. going for a walk
d. having a cup of tea

Chapter 18: Improve Your Thinking Day by Day (p. 99-103)

There are eleven different ways of thinking:
Visual, Numerical, Recollective, Empathetic, Verbal,
Predictive, Ethical, Creative, Critical, Reflective, Applied

18. _____ thinking enhances logic and reasoning, while improving IQ and creating extra cognitive reserve.
a. recollective
b. critical
c. numerical
d. applied

Chapter 19: Keep Your Nose Clean (p.104-108)
19. Some research shows a possible connection between the loss of one’s sense of smell and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
a. True
b. False

Chapter 20: Know How Your Meds Affect Your Brain (p. 109-113)
20. Which is NOT true?
a. Herbal medicines can be taken without consulting with a health care provider, since they have few side effects.
b. Many over-the-counter popular medicines, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, sleep aids, itching remedies, and digestive and urinary tract aids, produce cognitive impairment in older adults.
c. Long-term use of a prescription medication can lead to the suppression of reward circuits, increasing the amounts needed to get the same effect.
d. Self-medication, without consulting a doctor or health care provider, is very dangerous and should be avoided.

Chapter 21: Learn a New Language (p. 114-117)
21. Learning a new language exercises the same part of our brain that we use to read and to have a conversation.
a. True
b. False

Chapter 22: Learn to Paint (p. 118-123)
22. If your life is full of details, sequential tasks, financial analysis, and learning, you may be living a ___ brain dominant life. Living life to the fullest may require thoughtful choices to unleash your unique power of ___ brain perception and processing.
a. left; right
b. right; left

Chapter 23: Memorize (p. 124-128)
23. In preparing to take an exam tomorrow, which would NOT strengthen your recall of the study material?
a. Rehearsing it over and over again.
b. Clearing away distractions and really focusing on the material.
c. Making associations, such as attaching visual images to the material.
d. Staying up all night to have more time to study.

Chapter 24: Mind Your Head (p. 129-134)
24. The top leading causes of head injuries in America include all of the following EXCEPT
a. auto accidents.
b. bicycle and motor cycle accident falls.
c. falls
d. military duty.

Chapter 25: Pay Attention to the Brain in Your Gut (p. 135-139)
25. The Enteric Nervous System (ENS) is located all through the lining of the gastrointestinal tract (GI). It communicates with the brain via the spinal cord. The ENS is made up of neurons, proteins, and chemicals which allow it not only to learn and remember but also to produce our “gut feelings.” Stress signals from the brain can alter nerve function and turn up the volume of serotonin circuits in the gut. This over-stimulation can cause problems all through the GI tract such as trouble swallowing, heartburn, nausea, abdominal pain, altered bowel habits, or bloating. Twenty percent of the U.S. population suffers from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Which of the following does NOT help to reduce IBS?
a. Stop smoking.
b. Have a couple of alcoholic drinks every day to calm your nerves.
c. Drink plenty of water.
d. Exercise regularly.

Chapter 26: Play Mind-Friendly Games (p. 140-143)

26. Which is NOT true?
a. Playing games -- board games, word games, card games, crossword puzzles, and computer games -- produces healthy cognitive functions and reduces the risk of dementia in seniors.
b. The maximum benefit from playing games is obtained by playing the same games over and over again.
c. Anything that relies on logic, word skills, and math will help improve your brain’s speed and memory.
d. Video games help improve one’s pattern recognition, system thinking, patience, short-term memory, and concentration.

Chapter 27: Practice Positive Self-Talk (p. 144-147)
27. At the end of this chapter, the authors refer to Philippians 4:8,9 which in one Bible translation, say, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things…and the God of peace will be with you.”
This serves as a biblical basis for positive self-talk. What can we do to change our thinking from negative to positive?
a. Examine our basic beliefs about ourselves to make sure they are TRUE and POSITIVE. Our beliefs influence our thoughts, which influence our self-talk, which influence our attitudes and behaviors.
b. Make sure we are not undermining our positive thinking with negative thoughts such as, “I never do anything right” or “I’m so stupid.” Instead, we can replace negative thoughts with positive ones: “What can I learn from this mistake?”
c. We can be inspired by Scripture, like the one above, to think positive.
d. All of the above.

Chapter 28: Protect Your Brain from Insects (p. 148-153)
28. This chapter summarizes the dangers of the insect-borne diseases of Lyme disease (ticks), the West Nile virus (mosquitoes), and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (ticks). To prevent possible infection from either mosquitoes or ticks, effective repellents contain ____.
a. DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide)
b. Picaridan
c. Oil of lemon eucalyptus
d. IR 3535 (3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester)
e. any of the above

Chapter 29: Rearrange Your Living Space (p. 154-157)
29. Spouses who periodically rearrange their furniture are
a. not productively engaged enough outside the home.
b. difficult to please.
c. in need of a hobby.
d. growing new brain cells.

Chapter 30: Refuse to Retire (p. 158-161)
30. People who retire at age 65 are LESS likely to live longer than those who retire at 55.
a. True
b. False

Chapter 31: Rejoice (p. 162-167)
31. Joy is a settled attitude of the soul, something you can experience even in the midst of sorrow and difficulty.
a. True
b. False

Chapter 32: Replay Good Times (. 168-173)
32. Nostalgia, or recalling pleasant memories from one’s past, can promote positive feelings, higher self-esteem, feeling loved and protected, boost optimism, spark inspiration, and foster creativity. It can also counteract loneliness.
a. True
b. False

Chapter 33: Resolve Damaging Emotions (p. 174-178)
33. Since our primitive emotions are processed in the amygdala, the only way to reduce fear and anxiety is through prescription medication. Positive self-talk is ineffective.
a. True
b. False

Chapter 34: Stay Focused (p. 179-184)
34. Research shows that ____ can prevent and possibly reverse decline of our brains most important functions, those that help us focus, study, retain information, behave appropriately, memorize, plan, schedule, and multi-task. This can actually increase the volume of the prefrontal cortex of our brains.
a. getting 8 hours of sleep each night
b. 6 months of aerobic exercise (of sessions 30 minutes or longer)
c. having 2 or 3 close friends
d. reading a good book before bedtime

Chapter 35: Stay Socially Active (p. 185-189)
35. Research shows that older persons with five or six social ties are significantly less likely to demonstrate cognitive decline compared to those who had no social ties.
a. True
b. False

Chapter 36: Stop Killing Your Brain with Your Fork (p. 190-194)

36. Unhealthy foods hurt us in two ways: 1) by clogging arteries and restricting blood flow, thus reducing levels of oxygen and nutrients, and 2) by causing a roller coaster effect (mood swings) of a temporary spike in sugar levels, followed by a crash from too much insulin, cortisol, and epinephrine. Which is NOT among the good foods we should eat?
a. Omega-3 fatty acids
b. whole grains
c. simple carbohydrates
d. higher glycemic index foods

Chapter 37: Teach Your Brain to Tango (p. 195-198)

37. Research indicates that the brain benefits from observing dance nearly as much as from the physical experience itself. This is because certain brain regions, including the premotor, inferior parietal, and temporal regions, are similarly active when performing actions and when watching others perform the same actions.
a. True
b. False

Chapter 38: Tune into Your Senses (p. 199-204)
38. Which is NOT true?
a. Turning down the volume on your music can protect you from hearing loss.
b. Reading helps to keep your vision sharp.
c. People who are losing their hearing are less likely to fall down.
d. Core training, or strengthening our abdominal, gluteal, lumbar, and groin muscles helps maintain our sixth sense, proprioception, which is our brain’s ability to know where our body is in space. This allows us to maintain an upright position and physical balance.

Chapter 39: Understand How Alcohol Affects Your Brain (p. 205-209)
39. The liver is able to metabolize one drink, or ½ ounce of ethanol, every ____.
a. 30 minutes.
b. 1 hour.
c. 90 minutes.
d. 2 hours.

Chapter 40: Worship God in Spirit and Truth (p. 210-215)
40. Every person, even an atheist, has an innate drive to worship something.
a. True
b. False