Try This Simple Test Of Brain Health — You Can Do It Standing On One Leg – Forbes – David DiSalvo, Contributor
Once in a while, brain research dishes out a simple, practical way to run a self-diagnostic test on your brain’s health.
A recent study from Japanese researchers offers such a test, and it’s simple enough that almost everyone can give it a try. Here’s what you do:
stand up, raise one leg in front of you bent at your knee, and try to maintain your balance in that position for as long as you can.
Do that twice and record your time with a stopwatch both times.
According to the study, people who aren’t able to stay balanced on one leg for longer than 20 seconds should consider further evaluation from a doctor.
The reason is that imbalance strongly correlates with the presence of tiny lesions, or “microbleeds”, in the brain, which can be there even when you’re otherwise feeling healthy. Over time these microbleeds can lead to serious issues such as stroke and dementia.
The study assessed 1387 adults, average age 67, all of whom were in good overall health. Everyone in the study performed the test twice and their best times were recorded. The participants were then given an MRI brain scan to identify any abnormalities in brain tissue.
The results showed a straight line correlation between inability to balance for at least 20 seconds and the occurrence of microbleeds and other forms of tissue damage in the brain.
While only 10% of people who couldn’t hold balance for 20 seconds showed no signs of microbleeds, 30% with two or more microbleeds had trouble balancing.
The same held true for another type of tissue damage called a “lacunar infarction lesion” – less than 10% of those who couldn’t balance showed no lesions, but almost 35% who failed the test had two or more lesions.
The researchers also examined a possible link between the balancing test and cognitive ability (such as thought processing speed and memory) and found that an inability to hold balance for 20 seconds correlates with “reduced cognitive function” independent of other factors.
The takeaway: try the test, and if you can’t pass it, schedule a visit with your doctor. It may help identify and prevent serious issues later on.
However, such balancing is unusually difficult for those of us with EDS because our joints tend to be a bit loose. For the same reason, we have poor proprioception and strength issues.
We are like string puppets with loose strings.