Aging and Our Brains

We have many proven and visible techniques for skin rejuvenation such as science base skin care, laser, and plasma (PRP) injections that can reverse aging factors and give us back replacement tissue.  But this does not hold for the brain.  It is a very unique organ, can tolerate a lot of abuse and tissue insults but we cannot replace our cells. It is well known that alcohol, marijuana, opioids and other hard chemicals alter or kill our brain cells. 

How we live and how we care or not care for our bodies and brains determines what we end up with.  Genetics plays some role such as in conditions like familiar dementia.

There are many misconceptions about brain function as well as many mysteries.  Chronological aging doesn’t correlate with automatic decline.  We all know someone in their eighties or nineties who have maintained great brain function. 

The brain is made up of specialized compartments.  Our life and accomplishments depend on a variation of functional areas.  Varied activities and exercises help in brain training so that this function can be stimulated.  Brain training can occur through different techniques such as meditation and cognitive therapy and training. Cognitive therapy is orientated to learning how to solve current problems and teaching people to modify behavior and modify dysfunctional thinking through brain adaptation.

Brain age is a myth.  No two people have the same brain or outcome of brain function.  Maintaining  a healthy brain requires the mental cross training activities that keep complex thinking pumped as well as life style attention to some critical factors.  These include the following. 

  1. Fruits and Vegetables

These food groups are full of great brain food.  Generally what is good for the heart and body is also good for this critical organ.  Studies have been disappointing to prove the benefits claimed by many supplements and herbal formulas.  The human systems of digestion and absorption and distribution have spent eons evolving to deal best with real food.

  1. Chronic Stressors

Lots have been written about acute and chronic stress and what that does to our bodies. We do know that it elevates blood pressure and there are many chemical changes that create a cascade of negative events in the body. In the brain these chemical changes slow down and stop neurogenesis (the development of new neurons). This effects memory and cognitive complex thinking. Stress management is critical to a long life with a healthy brain as part of it.

  1. Physical Exercise

Anything that particular gets the heart beating fast provides the best improvement in brain function. Exercise increases the blood supply to critical organs such as the brain and increases growth hormone.  It’s a win win situation- burn calories to help weight control and keep the brain in top shape.

  1. Mental Stimulation Activities

Examples of these that stoke mental stimulation include ongoing learning, new hobbies, not retiring or returning from retirement back to work, complex card games such as bridge, and structural learning activities that require rapid complex thinking.  All these help build neuron reserves that help delay brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s Dementia.