Building Brain Function Through Life
Do you regularly "get out of your comfort zone" and try new things?
by Successful Aging in Action! | 8.6.19
Hot Health Topic: Tips to keep your brain functioning at its best!
By: Dr. David Gobble
We start life with an active growing brain and quickly modify it through our interactions with the environment. Until a few years ago it was assumed that brain growth slowed and stopped as a young person. Now we know through Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) that the brain continues to show what is termed “plasticity” or changeability throughout life. In essence, our brain is modified by what we do, or don’t do, as we age.
Through MRI studies we can now say that every brain is truly unique in structure and function. Each person has shaped their brain by how they have used it over time. Those that have used higher order thought in their career(s) or life, tend to have thicker brains made up of rich neural networks. This is analogous to having a large engine in a car; even if there are some minor problems, it still gets the job done. If this use pattern continues, you keep building new brain tissue - and this is a major defense against Alzheimer’s Disease.
If you want to increase the possibility of growing new brain tissue, and keep your current brain working well, there are some basic things that appear to work in your favor:
1) Challenge your brain to do things in a very different way.
2) Do things with your non-dominate hand.
3) Change your daily routine so you have to think about what you are doing throughout the day.
The key is to get out of your comfort zone and make yourself learn new information and develop new skills.
Originally published in the Jan/Feb. 2009 Mosaic
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