Brain Talk - Part 3

Erroll Lewis  |  6/10/2014 1:51:04 AM

Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain.

In the United States, women are expected to live to 73-86 years and men are expected to live to 66-81 years. One might wonder - will their brains function adequately until death? As people grow older, do they all forget things and wait for their bodies to slowly deteriorate? Does their mental functioning begin to decline during middle age and beyond? The belief that the adult brain is not as capable as the young brain has been the general consensus, however research is now proving these ideas are not always true.

Baby boomers, people born between the years 1946 and 1964, are being researched extensively. Cognitive brain function and physical activities are what neuroscientists are studying through magnetic resonance imaging. Through this technology scientists can measure the progress and improved findings on the aging brain.

In a study conducted by Stanford University School of Medicine, researchers tested how memory and learning could be improved. The research that was performed consisted of blood transfusions from young mice into older mice. The results of the experiment show the older mice becoming more physically active and their learning abilities were improved. In another study performed at Harvard University, researchers have used mice as well as people, exposing subjects to high levels of protein in their blood - and there is some indication that brain function improved. The University of Illinois’s Dr. Neal Cohen, the director of The Center for Nutrition, Learning and Memory, is a pioneer and lead researcher on aging, cognition, neuroscience, learning, memory and plasticity. He continues to receive fellowships for funding including backing from the White House’s BRAIN Initiative. Under President Obama, the White House created the "BRAIN Initiative - a bold new research effort to revolutionize our understanding of the human mind and uncover new ways to treat, prevent, and cure brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury."

Those born between 1980 and now will reap the benefits of research being conducted on baby boomers.  It’s hoped that the research and studies will encourage mankind to live more healthy and productive lives into the future.

Five Ways to Help the Brain Stay Young

  1. Exercise - keep moving and doing aerobic exercise, stay physical, lift weights, walk if possible.
  2. Good mental health – the brain stores information and draws from it when needed to answer or solve problems, give advice and wisdom.
  3. Eat healthy – to avoid lifetime illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, eat antioxidants - cancer fighting foods such as beans, grains, nuts and spices.
  4. Enjoy life – humor and laughter stimulate parts of the brain that produce dopamine which sends “feel good” messengers to the brain. Attend concerts and plays, or visit museums.
  5. Stimulate the brain – learn something new, such as a foreign language, to play an instrument or learn a new game.

References:
www.aarp.org
www.apa.org
www.mitpressjournals.org
www.stanford.edu
www.uillinois.edu
www.rd.com
www.freedigitalphotos.net

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