October 4, 2012

Brain health and lifestyle

Brain health and lifestyle

Content credit to
Paul D. Nussbaum,
Ph.D. seminar,
edited by Allan Tinker
At a recent seminar on aging and disability in Fargo, designed mostly for professionals in the care of older or disabled persons but open to others in communities to attend, the following information was presented on our brains and how to help keep them healthy into old age.
Our brains weigh between two to four pounds and are about 60% fat and the fattiest system in our bodies. It also uses 25 percent of the blood from every heart beat.
Each human brain normally has two sides or hemispheres: right and left. The left helps with language, detail, and analysis; the right hemisphere helps with faces, spatial orientation, and sounds.
The cortex of the brain is conscious and helps everyone learn, remember, communicate, read, write, orient to space, process sensory information, and contains our personality.
The sub-cortex processes subconscious motor or procedural behaviors such as dressing, driving, and typing on your computer. They interact together and create a mutual effort, much like musicians in an orchestra create a symphony.
The hippocampus in the middle of each temporal lobe just under each temple on the skull enables us to learn. The human brain (like the animal brain) can generate new brain cells and is called neurogenesis and occurs in the hippocampus.
It is now thought that the brain has a system that is highly dynamic, constantly reorganizing, malleable, and shaped by environmental input and benefit from exposure to environments that are active, full and complex. Environments that are passive and rote do not help the health of the brain or provide stimulation.
Exposure to enriched environments leads to new brain cell development and increased cellular connections and brain reserve which may help to delay the onset of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Attend a museum or cultural event.


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