Skip to comments.Your Brain: Use it or Lose it
Posted on 02/08/2006 8:08:20 AM PST by laney
Brain cells are like muscles you need to use them or you will lose them. And the brain is like a car -- if you give it good fuel, it will run better and longer.
Some children may be spending too much time watching television. Scientists are finding that kids who watch lots of TV are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease later in life.
Experts find one reason is that much of TV is too passive and does not stimulate the brain. When an activity does not challenge the brain, nerve cells are more prone to disease.
Scientists say that one way to avoid that flabby brain syndrome is to learn to play a musical instrument. Why? Learning to play a musical instrument, such as a violin, increases blood flow to the music-related parts of the brain. More blood means more nutrients to the brain, and the brain stays healthier.
Researchers find that listening to classical music seems to be the best music for boosting blood flow to the brain:
Other mental challenges, such as U.S. soldiers in Iraq learning the native tongue, are also helpful. Coping with a foreign language boosts the brain just as music does -- yet in different parts of the brain. So a variety of mental challenges can make a greater percentage of the brain flexible and durable.
And muscle exercise is good for the brain, too. With physical exercise, the body works more efficiently, helping the brain resist both disease and aging.
Researchers find that by having stronger muscles, the body keeps better control of blood sugars. That sugar control reduces the risk of getting diabetes, which is bad for the brain.
And how about obesity and the brain? Well, the more pounds you add, the more likely you will have high blood pressure, diabetes, and poor circulation. All of those can harm the brain and memory.
Don't forget nutrition, either, such as lots of veggies, says brain expert Dr. Russell Blaylock. He advocates vegetables, and says B vitamins are very important for protecting the brain. He finds that is especially true for older people who often need higher doses of vitamin B6, or pyridoxine - 50 milligrams or more daily is suggested; vitamin B9, mostly called folic acid, with a suggested dose of 800 micrograms each day; and vitamin B12, or cobalamin, about 1,000 micrograms per day.
"And you probably would save tens of thousands, if not millions of people from the heartbreak of Alzheimer's disease, because we know this is a major mechanism, a consistent finding," Blaylock said.
Minerals such as zinc are often found deficient in the diet as well. In fact, a recent study of the mineral found that kids' brains work better with the right amount.
Researchers gave children 20 milligrams of zinc every school day for almost three months.
They found that the kids who took the supplement out-performed those who didn't.
Nutrition expert Dr. David Katz from Yale School of Medicine remarked, "They were recalling words from a list, identifying geometric figures, matching figures...and this was affecting immediate recall, short-term memory, and concentration."
Scientists suspect that proper zinc levels from childhood onward could make for a healthier brain into old age. So, is there any reason to think that only kids need 20 milligrams?
"Well, the researchers speculate that at puberty, during rapid growth, the demands for zinc may be especially high, Katz said. So we don't know for sure, but many older adults in this country are somewhat zinc deficient."
And another key mineral is iron. If there's too much, it can harm brain cells.
"We know with aging, Blaylock said, You begin to accumulate iron in your brain called free iron -- it's floating without protection. As iron increases in the brain, that increases free radical generation, and that increases destruction of those cells."
Those free radicals harmfully oxidate in the body but can be quenched with antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E. In addition, reducing red meat in the diet can help, as beef is quite high in iron.
Other good news on the scientific horizon is earlier detection. Now doctors can detect Alzheimer's a few years earlier than before. That means nutrition, exercise, and appropriate drugs may slow the progress of the disease.
But if we could detect Alzheimer's really early -- say 20 years before symptoms occur, that could make a huge difference. Here's why:
At age 55, a person may have 80 percent of their memory centers in the brain fully functioning. Memory centers can actually work well even down to about 25 percent of function. That is about when Alzheimer's shows symptoms.
But with early detection, at 55, a person could quickly apply a healthy lifestyle and might well never drop below 30 percent function, even if he or she lives to 100.
So science is looking for earlier detection, and discovering more connections between a healthy lifestyle and benefits for the mind
Wonder if to much computer can give you *Flabby Brain Syndrome*?
Dang, last month it was the Oreo Police and now we aren't allowed a big juicy beef steak.
But eat all the vegetables you want..:)
Your favorite vegetable...
LOL..Good Pic's YEEGADS..
Momma always told my brothers and I that too much TV would rot our brains....I guess she was right!!
he must be a resident of Falls Church and is calling out his representative jim MORON!
No, but too much computer certainly may.
"too much TV would rot our brains"
What about spending too much time on FR?
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