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“Intelligent brains are lazy!” – City lecture series remains very popular

“Factors influencing the development of intelligence and the decline of cognitive abilities in old age” was the motto of the second Hof City Lecture in the student café “Zur Auszeit”. In her lecture, Professor Cynthia Sende, a business psychologist, explored the extent to which genes and the environment influence the development of intelligence in youth and its decline in old age. She placed a particular focus on the most common dementia disease, Alzheimer’s.

Once again a “full house” for the city lecture in the student café “Zur Auszeit” in Hof’s Karolinenstraße; Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

Higher intelligence is associated with many positive life outcomes, such as higher education, higher professional and financial status, as well as better health and longer life expectancy.

“Genes have a major influence on our intelligence, but the extent to which we exploit our hereditary intelligence potential is then significantly influenced by environmental factors.”

Prof. Dr. Cynthia Sende

And we can influence many of these environmental factors ourselves. This can be sufficient sleep – this ensures that the nerve cells in the brain are well “flushed” and harmful substances that accumulate during the day are removed. This also includes a diet with appropriate micronutrients, fish and good oils with a high omega 3 content or avoiding nicotine and alcohol, which are pure cell toxins. With regard to Alzheimer’s, current studies assume that the individual risk can be reduced by around 40% through lifestyle adjustments. Exercise and sport, social contacts, stress compensation – but also wearing a hearing aid if you have hearing loss – are important measures. On the other hand, particulate matter, highly processed foods, red meat and various viruses and bacteria – all factors that also promote inflammation and therefore increase the risk of Alzheimer’s – are harmful.

Lively discussion

Professor Sende also had some surprising findings and tips: “Depression doubles the risk of Alzheimer’s,” said Sende, “unless those affected are treated with lithium.” This trace element, which helps against mood swings and depression, can also be found in very small quantities in certain mineral waters. In addition, the natural sleep hormone melatonin helps to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. The reference to a well-known sexual enhancer also caused great astonishment among the audience, who joined in the lively discussion. This would generally promote blood circulation in men and women and thus also lead to an increased oxygen content and better removal of harmful substances in the brain.

Prof. Dr. Cynthia Sende

Tips for a good life

Sende also made the guests smile when she said: “Intelligent brains are lazy”, because a high IQ focuses specifically on the task at hand and blocks out everything else – which ultimately saves energy.

It was also interesting to hear that IQ has been declining in many industrialized countries since the 1990s. That’s why a good, long-term education is important, as it adds around 1.5 points to IQ per year of education. Reading, playing 3D computer games and regular moderate exercise also boost the mind. Even unpopular memorization can be an effective way to train your brain.

University wants to appeal to citizens

With this event, Hof University of Applied Sciences wants to address the urban community and draw attention to interesting research topics. The two previous events have been a success: “We were either fully booked or overbooked and unfortunately had to turn away spontaneous guests,” says Professor Valentin Plenk, who initiated the series as Vice President of Hof University of Applied Sciences. He advises people to register early for the last of the three events here.

The next event will take place on June 26 from 5.30 pm in the Auszeit again. The topic: “Of cyborgs and digital creatures”, this time the speaker will be Professor Andreas Wagener, Hof University of Applied Sciences.

Prof. Dr. Cynthia Sende
Anne-Christine Habbel

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