Neurology, the scientific study of the brain, is a relatively young field of study compared to other branches of science. Due to the complexity of how a brain works, scientist were never able to see how a brain works until recent years.
With technological improvements and sophisticated equipments, neurologists are now able to observe the intricate workings of the brain. This is why it’s only in recent years, 1998 to be exact, that neuroscientists found out that the brain is capable of “neurogenesis”, a process in which your brain grows new brain cells.
Although there was a handful of scientists who believed otherwise, before 1998, the accepted view is that the brain is fixed and if you suffer from cognitive decline, there’s really nothing anyone can do about it. Now we know otherwise.
In this article, I’ll introduce to some techniques that you can adopt to encourage neurogenesis. This is beneficial not just for the older generation because the more brain cells you possess, the better your brain function is. You could learn faster, remember better, react Synapse xt faster and even live an overall happier life.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started.
1. Various studies involving brain scans found that every thought that passes through your mind affects your brain just like an action would. For example, when you practice a certain skill over a period of time, your brain will learn and thus you’ll master the skill. But a scientific study showed that mental practice alone can yield the same result.
This sort of “visualizations”, thus stimulates the brain. Stimulation, as I have mentioned before, encourages neurogenesis. Scientists have always observed how people who think positively tend to live a healthier life – now they know why.
2. You don’t use, you lose. This is the first principle that governs the way your brain works. I mentioned previously how practice makes perfect. This is because as you practice, your brain grow new brain cells, called neurons, and creates synapses between those neurons.
Synapses allow the brain to work more efficiently by creating cause-and-effect relationships between neurons. Neurons that fire together, wire together through these synapses so that they’ll always fire together.
But these synapses break down if the neurons no longer fire together. Thus if you spend most of your time sitting down, or if you live an extremely sedentary life, it is inevitable for you to lose your ability to balance yourself on your legs as the synapses in you motor cortex breaks down.
This can be seen in people who were in a serious accident and had their legs in a cast for months on end. Though physiologically we should not have any problem walking, they often couldn’t because they need to relearn it.
Thus frequent exercise, something as simple as a slow walk, could prevent you from losing your independence later in old age. The same applies to your memory and your learning ability. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.
3. Neurogenesis require energy to be carried out. Most of the energy that you possess, you acquire from your diet. Thus by consuming a healthy diet is crucial to a health brain. Stimulation alone will not be sufficient if your brain do not have the building block for neurogenesis.