Neurology and Neurosurgery

Tips from a neurosurgeon: How to keep your brain sharp

Brain health tips from neurosurgeon - Dr. Joshua Marcus


Dr. Joshua Marcus shares what he does to maintain his cognition and keep his brain healthy

Neurosurgeons have years of extensive and intense training to learn how to diagnose and treat brain, spine and nervous system conditions. They continuously learn new techniques to bring the latest care options to patients. They need to stay alert for emergencies and traumas and hyper-focused during complex and intricate surgeries.

So, how do neurosurgeons stay at the top of their game?

Dr. Joshua Marcus said sleep, exercise and activities that keep him well rounded are tools he uses to keep his brain sharp.


Headshot of Joshua Marcus, MD
Dr. Joshua Marcus, Neurosurgery

Question: What daily or regular activities do you practice to help improve or maintain your cognition, and what is the benefit?


Answer – Dr. Marcus: I aim to get at least seven hours of quality sleep a night. Research shows that sleep stimulates cognitive function including our attention, memory and thinking skills because the brain rests and recovers when we sleep.


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Answer – Dr. Marcus: I play hockey and run several times a week. Research shows that exercise has many emotional and physical benefits. Specific to brain health, exercise increases blood flow and in turn oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Exercise also releases chemicals that affect overall health of new brain cells, boost mood and reduce stress.


I also like to play hockey because of the social component. Research shows that having positive social connections contribute to maintaining brain health.


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Well-rounded activities

Answer – Dr. Marcus: For me, being a neurosurgeon is all-consuming work and I am hyper-focused before, during and after surgery, which can be mentally draining.


Participating in activities that keep me well rounded and diversify my areas of focus help me avoid burnout and preserve my cognition. I like reading articles, news and non-fiction books. I also like teaching and training residents and peers. I enjoy helping others develop new skills and teaching helps me stay alert and sharp, too. And, I love spending time with my family.


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Dr. Joshua Marcus cares for patients in New York and Connecticut by contract through the Nuvance Health Medical Practice. He specializes in endovascular surgery and neurointerventions to treat cerebrovascular conditions — such as brain aneurysms and stroke. He also has expertise in minimally invasive treatments for brain and spine conditions and spine surgery. Request or book an appointment directly online with Dr. Marcus.


Learn about neurosurgery at the Nuvance Health Neuroscience Institute.