Here’s something you should do for your health: stand on one leg.
Can you do it for at least 20 seconds? If so, your brain’s probably in pretty good shape.
Japanese researchers have found this simple test is an excellent way to determine whether someone has cerebral small-vessel disease (SVD), reports Prevention magazine. SVD can be a factor in strokes, dementia and Parkinson’s disease. “Cerebral small vessel disease is a frequent finding on CT and MRI scans of elderly people and is related to vascular risk factors and cognitive and motor impairment, ultimately leading to dementia or Parkinsonism in some,” wrote an unrelated 2011 study published in BMC Neurology.
The Kyoto University study, published last December in the journal Stroke, observed some 1,400 men and women with an average age of 67 attempt to stand with one leg raised and eyes open. All of the participants later had MRI scans done of their brains.
Almost without exception, the study participants who had trouble maintaining balance on one leg had SVD; some of them had brain lesions or other brain disorders.
Those who successfully balanced on one leg generally had brains without any signs of disease. They also scored higher on other, more traditional mental tests.