BRAIN WAYS TO BOOST POWER Scientific American

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6 WAYS TO BOOST,Brain Power,The adult human brain is surprisingly malleable. it can rewire itself and even grow new cells,Here are some habits that can fine tune your mind. By Emily Anthes, mputees sometimes experience phan ing that the adult brain is far more malleable. tom limb sensations feeling pain than they once thought Our behavior and. itching or other impulses coming environment can cause substantial rewir. from limbs that no longer exist Neurosci ing of the brain or a reorganization of its. entist Vilayanur S Ramachandran worked functions and where they are located Some. with patients who had so called phantom believe that even our patterns of thinking. limbs including Tom a man who had lost alone are enough to reshape the brain. one of his arms Researchers now know,Ramachandran discov that neurogenesis the birth. ered that if he stroked Tom s of new neurons is a nor. face Tom felt like his miss mal feature of the adult. ing fingers were also being brain Studies have shown. touched Each part of the that one of the most active. body is represented by a dif regions for neurogen,ferent region of the soma esis is the hippocampus.
tosensory cortex and as it a structure that is vitally. happens the region for the important for learning and. hand is adjacent to the region for the face long term memory. The neuroscientist deduced that a remark Neurogenesis also takes place in the. able change had taken place in Tom s soma olfactory bulb which is involved in pro. tosensory cortex cessing smells But not all the neurons that. Ramachandran concluded that because are born survive in fact most of them die. Tom s cortex was no longer getting input To survive the new cells need nutrients. from his missing hand the region process and connections with other neurons that. ing sensation from his face had slowly are already thriving Scientists are cur. taken over the hand s territory So touch rently identifying the factors that affect. ing Tom s face produced sensation in his the rate of neurogenesis and the survival. Adapted from the book The Instant Egghead Guide to the Mind by Emily. nonexistent fingers of new cells Mental and physical exercise. Anthes and Scientific American 2008 by Scientific American Published by This kind of rewiring is an example of for instance both boost neuron survival. arrangement with St Martin s Press neuroplasticity the adult brain s ability to. iStockphoto, About The Author Emily Anthes is a freelance science and health writer living change and remold itself Scientists are find. in Brooklyn Her work has appeared in Seed Discover Slate New York and the. Boston Globe among other publications, Scientific American Mind 6 Ways to Boost Brain Power 3. 1 Exercise, Mice that run on wheels increase the number of neurons in. their hippocampus and perform better on tests of learning. and memory Studies of humans have revealed that exercise. can improve the brain s executive functions planning. organizing multitasking and more Exercise is also well known for. its mood boosting effects and people who exercise are less likely to get. dementia as they age Among those who are already ON THE FRONTIER. aged athletic senior citizens have better executive func. New research suggests a, tion than do those who are sedentary even seniors who. little music can make your, have spent their entire lives on the couch can improve workout better yet Volunteers.
these abilities just by starting to move more in their completed two workout ses. golden years sions In one they sweated to,the sweet sound of silence. A variety of mechanisms might be responsible for this. in the other they listened to, brain boost Exercise increases blood flow to the brain Vivaldi s Four Seasons After. which also increases the delivery of oxygen fuel and each workout participants. nutrients to those hard working neurons Research has completed assessments of. shown that exercise can increase levels of a substance their mood and verbal skills. called brain derived neurotrophic Exercise alone was enough to. factor BDNF which encourages boost both but verbal scores. growth communication and sur improved twice,vival of neurons as much when. the exercisers,Of course all this research had tunes to. does nothing to help listen to Maybe,explain dumb jocks you can get.
iStockphoto Jill Chen treadmill Emilia Stasiak mouse in wheel. your insurance,company to pay,for a new iPod, Exercise can improve the brain s executive COCKTAIL PARTY TIDBITS. functions planning organizing multitasking Exercise also improves sleep quality a pile You don t need to be Chuck Norris thank. and more Physical activity improves the of studies suggests And immune function Is. there anything it can t do,fully to get the brain benefits of exercise Stud. ies of senior citizens have shown that as little as. delivery of oxygen and nutrients to brain cells 20 minutes of walking a day can do the trick. Scientific American Mind 6 Ways to Boost Brain Power 5. he brain needs fuel just as the body does So what will really. boost your brainpower and what will make you lose your mind. Saturated fat that familiar culprit is no better for the brain than. it is for the body Rats fed diets high in saturated fat underperformed on. tests of learning and memory and humans who live on such diets seem. to be at increased risk for dementia,Not all fat is bad news however ON THE FRONTIER. The brain is mostly fat all those,It s not just what you eat. cell membranes and myelin cov,that affects the brain It s.
erings require fatty acids so it also how much Research. is important to eat certain fats par has shown that laboratory. ticularly omega 3 fats which are found in fish nuts and animals fed calorie restricted. seeds Alzheimer s disease depression schizophrenia diets anywhere from 25 to 50. and other disorders may be associated with low levels percent less than normal live. of omega 3 fatty acids longer than other animals,do And it turns out they also. Fruits and vegetables also appear to be brain super have improved brain function. foods Produce is high in substances called antioxi performing better on tests of. dants which counteract atoms that can damage brain memory and coordination. cells Researchers have found that Rodents on calorie restricted. high antioxidant diets keep learn diets are also better able. to resist the damage that,ing and memory sharp,accompanies Alzheimer s. in aging rats and Parkinson s and,even reduce the brain Huntington s disease. damage caused by, iStockphoto Brendon DeSuza blueberries Marek Brzezinski walnuts. strokes That s food,for thought, COCKTAIL PARTY TIDBITS It is especially important that babies get.
Some of the best brain foods walnuts enough fat Babies who don t get enough. of the stuff have trouble creating the fatty,blueberries and spinach. myelin insulation that helps neurons, Populations that traditionally eat diets high in transmit signals Luckily for babies breast. omega 3 fatty acids tend to have lower rates of milk is 50 percent fat. disorders of the central nervous system, Scientific American Mind 6 Ways to Boost Brain Power 7. 3 Stimulants, timulants are substances that rev up the nervous system increasing. heart rate blood pressure energy breathing and more Caffeine. is probably the most famous of the group It is actually the most. widely used drug in the world By activating the central nervous. system caffeine boosts arousal and alertness In high doses though. Stimulants, this stimulation can go too far causing jitters anxiety and insomnia.
Cocaine and amphetamines are less benign Although ON THE FRONTIER. they work on the brain through different mechanisms. Although high doses of caf, they have similar effects Taking them increases the. feine can undoubtedly have, release of some of the brain s feel good neurotransmit unpleasant effects ranging from. ters including dopamine and serotonin and pro irritability to the most unpleasant. duces a rush of euphoria They also increase alertness of all death in rare cases small. and energy to moderate amounts can boost,our mental functioning in ways. That all sounds pretty good but cocaine and amphet researchers are now measuring. amines are extremely addictive drugs and in high doses One study showed that the. they can cause psychosis and withdrawal The with equivalent of two cups of coffee. drawal symptoms are nasty and can boost short term memory. can lead to depression the and reaction time Functional. MRI scans taken during, opposite of that euphoric the study also revealed that. feeling And of course an volunteers who had been given. overdose can kill you caffeine had increased activity in. the brain regions involving,attention In addition,research suggests.
caffeine can protect,against age related,memory decline in older. COCKTAIL PARTY TIDBITS One of fiction s most famous stimulant users is the. Three quarters of the caffeine we ingest great caper cracker Sherlock Holmes Many of the. detective s capers include descriptions of,comes from coffee Try to limit yourself to fewer. the relief he found from injecting cocaine,than 100 cups a day That much coffee contains. It must be tough to make sure justice,iStockphoto,about 10 grams of caffeine enough to cause. fatal complications, Scientific American Mind 6 Ways to Boost Brain Power 9.
4 Video Games, ideo games could save your life Surgeons who spend at least. a few hours a week playing video games make one third fewer. errors in the operating room than nongaming doctors do. Indeed research has shown that video games can improve mental. dexterity while boosting hand eye coordination depth perception. Video Games, and pattern recognition Gamers also have better attention spans and. information processing skills than the average Joe has ON THE FRONTIER. When nongamers agree to spend a week playing video. Video games, games in the name of science of course their visual activate the. perception skills improve And strike your notions of brain s reward. gamers as outcasts one researcher found that white circuits but do. collar professionals who play video games are more so much more. in men than,confident and social in women according to a new. study Researchers hooked men, Of course we cannot talk about the effects of video and women up to functional MRI.
games without mentioning the popular theory that they machines while the participants. are responsible for increasing real world violence A played a video game designed for. number of studies have reinforced this link Young men the study Both groups performed. well but the men showed more, who play a lot of violent video games have brains that activity in the limbic system. are less responsive to graphic images suggesting that which is associated with reward. these gamers have become desensitized to such depic processing What is more the. tions Another study revealed that gamers had patterns men showed greater connectiv. ity between the structures that, of brain activity consistent with aggression while play make up the reward circuit and. ing first person shooter games the better this connection was. in a particular player the better, This does not necessarily mean these players will actu he performed There was no. ally be violent in real life The connections are worth such correlation in women Men. exploring but so far the data do not support the idea are more than twice as likely. as women are to say they feel, that the rise of video games is responsible for increased addicted to video games. youth violence, Video games can improve COCKTAIL PARTY TIDBITS company that made the.
mental dexterity while Video games are a 10 billion industry in the U S massively popular video. game Grand Theft Auto The, boosting hand eye In 2003 a 16 year old boy shot and killed two lawsuit alleges that the perpetrator. police officers and a police dispatcher Two years was inspired by his obsession with the. iStockphoto, coordination depth perception later the families of the victims filed suit against the controversial video game. and pattern recognition, Scientific American Mind 6 Ways to Boost Brain Power 11. hen you turn on Queen s Greatest Hits the auditory cortex. analyzes the many components of the music volume pitch. timbre melody and rhythm But there s more to music s. interaction with the brain than just the raw sound Music can also. activate your brain s reward centers and depress activity in the. amygdala reducing fear and other negative emotions. A highly publicized study suggested that ON THE FRONTIER. listening to Mozart could boost cognitive,Music lessons and practice. performance inspiring parents every,during childhood increase the.
where to go out and buy classical CDs sensitivity of the brain stem to. for their children The idea of a Mozart the sounds of human speech. effect remains popular but the original According to a recent study. study has been somewhat discredited the brain stem is involved in. and any intellectual boost that comes from listening to very basic encoding of sound. music seems to be tiny and temporary Nevertheless and lots of exposure to music. music does seem to possess some good vibrations It can help fine tune. can treat anxiety and insomnia lower blood pressure this system even in. Scientific American Mind 6 Ways to Boost Brain Power 7 COCKTAIL PARTY TIDBITS Not all fat is bad news however The brain is mostly fat all those cell membranes and myelin cov erings require fatty acids so it is important to eat certain fats par ticularly omega 3 fats which are found in fish nuts and seeds Alzheimer s disease

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