I have started finding ways of exercising executive function and of testing it. I am doing Alzheimer’s tests and find that I can set Siri at 60 seconds and do test after test.
When I started, I genuinely was in the low range. They gave examples of list how many animals you can think of in 60 seconds or list how many words starting with a certain letter in 60 seconds.
The cool part is that they gave if you are at 14, which I was the first several times, that it is a bad thing. Below 17 is not so good. It took several tries to finally get a 19.
Anyway, I am following in Bob’s footsteps. If these are the tests they will give, then they are the ones I will do every day with the ICES.
I read a rationale for how this test measures executive function.
"Interestedly, the role of executive functioning increases with the degree of retrieval difficulty in the fluency tasks. That is, the ability to retrieve correctly (without breaking the rules) a limited set of words demands more planning, monitoring, judgment, and decision-making, in order to inhibit irrelevant information and select the correct responses (9). In order to promptly retrieve the target words from memory, more strategic planning is required, making the test more challenging, consequently, semantic fluency provides a more refined test for potential executive impairments and to magnifying different performances between study groups. Furthermore, within semantic or phonetic fluency, degrees of difficulty can help to assess retrieval function and distinguish it from memory deficits. For example, fruit names (category fluency) and words beginning with the letter A (word fluency) are considered more difficult to identify in the English vocabulary than animal names or words starting with the letter F, respectively for which searches are more limited because of reduced availability, thus demanding more attention and executive skills (10).
Impairments in semantic fluency are either related to blunt executive functioning (lack of sustained retrieval management) or to a breakdown of semantic knowledge (associated with semantic/conceptual memory disruption or/and storage shrinkage). In phonetic tasks, words are retrieved without a complex track of meaning. In contrast, in semantic fluency, knowledge of meaning is critical for the test performance, because words are needed to fit into categories, by grouping targets, according to meaningful and conceptual features. It has been recognized that this structural semantic knowledge is mainly impaired in Alzheimer’s patients (11–15).
The temporal neocortex, particularly its posterior aspects, has been indicated as the anatomical substrate of semantic storage, whereas frontal lobe functioning (especially the left frontal cortex) and frontal-subcortical neural pathways have been implicated in retrieval actions (16,17). Semantic fluency appears to require a much more widely distributed neural system than phonetic fluency, since semantic cues are more jeopardized after diffuse axonal injury than letter retrieval (18).
In Alzheimer’s dementia, there is a disproportional impairment in semantic (categorical) but not phonetic (letter) fluency, which means that the conceptual memory and its representation in cortical areas are critically affected (19,20). The retrieval process, which relies on the activation of frontal lobes, is not jeopardized to the same degree (21,22), explaining why phonetic fluency is not similarly compromised. On the other hand, in Huntington’s and Parkinson’s dementia (10), which are characterized by major sub cortical impairments, the retrieval process is most impaired, leading to equivalent declines in semantic and phonetic performance, because retrieving information is a mandatory pathway to reach efficiently stored pools of verbal memory (Figure 1)."
It was a young person bathroom habits study, so that part doesn’t fit, but it gives me a way to exercise executive function.
Dr. Greger’s video gave me a way to increase blood flow to that area using greens and beets.
Dr. Ornish spoke about exercising to increase brain size and I have researched which types of exercise work for that. It works if you are earlier in the disease and it is aerobic and weight training, which have benefits for different things. Balance and stretching and isometric didn’t do that much for brains, so I am just going to go with what I find.