What’s your brain health score?
How do we know how healthy your brain is?
In an ideal world we’d measure both structure and function of your brain, look at blood flow to the different areas, or create a detailed map to see the different parts and how they are connected. BUT these scans are expensive, complex, lengthy, and not very practical to do on your daily commute.
Our simple survey aims to quickly and easily give an indication of your brain health right now; and is something you’ll be able to revisit after your habits and lifestyle have evolved.
The brain health score combines both inputs - the daily behaviours that affect your brain health, and outcomes - some self-reported measures of how well your brain has been functioning recently.
The test focuses on lifestyle behaviours, since these are within your power to change, and have an influence on neuroplasticity - the brain’s ability to grow and adapt at any age.
Higher scores are awarded for:
- Healthy food choices
- Regular physical movement
- Practicing mindfulness
- Strong social connections
- Good quality sleep
- Low alcohol consumption
- Not smoking
It’s very difficult to get a precise measure of some lifestyle habits without asking an awful lot of questions, so we’ve kept things simple by asking you about your satisfaction with things like what you eat and your sleeping patterns. Of course, it’s possible that you might feel satisfied on a diet of junk food or after 2 hours’ sleep, but we have a hunch that everyone has an inkling of what healthier choices are. It’s putting them into practice that is often the hardest part.
We have also included a few specific, easy-to-measure behaviours which are likely to reap rewards for brain health - namely frequent 10+ minute mindfulness practices, regular exercise for 30+ minutes and drinking at least 1.5L water a day.
These are not ‘magic’ numbers. There is no amount of meditation, exercise or water which will guarantee anyone a top notch brain. But research points to more frequent mindfulness practice, exercise and hydration as being beneficial - so the more routine your habits, the higher your scores.
(**If you take prescribed medication or other drugs which are designed to alter brain function, it will be important to consider whether these are influencing your wellbeing independently of your lifestyle choices, when you compare your scores over time.)