Work Out Your Brain!

by Jovaughn Lane, age 14

Humans are the only animals whose brains are known to deteriorate. Many neuroscientists believe that by our late twenties our brainpower begins to diminish and our pre-frontal cortex begins to shrink. But there is hope: scientists say there are things we can do to delay cognitive decline.

The normal brain has about a hundred billion neurons, but can develop new neurons and create new pathways. New neural networks are built when we encounter a new task. When we perform that task again, the path is reinforced. The brain’s ability to create new connections is called plasticity. Brain exercises have been shown to renew the brain and stop it from shrinking. But your daily crossword probably isn’t helping as much as you think.

“Once someone has done hundreds or thousands of crossword puzzles, the marginal benefit tends towards zero, because it becomes just another routine activity”, said Alvaro Fernandez, CEO of SharpBrains. “It doesn’t bring benefits other than becoming a master at crossword puzzles.”

Fernandez advises people to engage in unfamiliar tasks such as showering with your eyes closed or brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand. Tasks like these will revamp your brain and get it moving. There are also websites to help exercise your brain. Lumosity, Brain Games, and Jungle Games, are examples of these types of websites. These exercises actually undo cognitive aging by eleven years, on average, after only ten hours of practice.

Although our brains decay over time, there are ways to preserve them and keep them in good working shape.

[Source: The New Yorker]

Which came first, the problem or the sonlitou? Luckily it doesn't matter. – KeylaWhich came first, the problem or the sonlitou? Luckily it doesn't matter. (2016-04-27 18:06)
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