Feeds

Are there secrets to life-long brain power?

Brain drain

High performance access to file storage

Also in this week's column:

Are there secrets to life-long brain power?

Research shows that there are. According to Dr Dharma Singh Khalsa, president and medical director of the Alzheimer's Prevention Foundation International in Tucson, Arizona and author of Brain Longevity (1997), Meditation as Medicine (2002), and Food as Medicine (2004), "your brain needs three different kinds of exercise to thrive best". These are mental exercise, aerobic physical exercise, and mind/body exercises.

Mental effort, the so-called "hard thinking" actually stimulates brain cells to send out microscopic filaments called dendrites to establish new connections with one another. "Hard thinking" also promotes the growth of glial cells (the brain's little housekeepers) that support the metabolism of the cells that do the thinking and keep brain nerve pathways clean. Types of this form of exercise include learning to play the piano, doing cross-word puzzles, taking up a new hobby where new skills must be learned.

Aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the brain and stimulates the release of nerve growth factor. This is a vital hormone that restores damaged neurons and boosts the levels of the brain's neurotransmitters (messenger chemicals) that the brain needs for thinking and memory. Types of this form of exercise include walking, swimming, and bike-riding.

Dr Khalsa claims that mind/body exercises are derived from ancient Eastern religious practices. "They regenerate the brain by increasing energy levels and boosting the ability to concentrate by 20 per cent or more." Types of this form of exercise include meditation, deep-breathing, and listening to meditative music.

Dr. Khalsa also suggests that the brain thrives best, if you eliminate stress. He adds: "When you're pushed - or you push yourself too hard - your brain goes into destructive overdrive. The damage that stress causes is slow and subtle, and it builds up over a lifetime. So it is essential to take steps to reduce your stress level every day."

Dr Khalsa contends that "the well-nourished brain" is a well-thriving brain too. Fat promotes brain deterioration, much as it wreaks havoc with the heart and arteries. It clogs the vessels that carry oxygen and glucose - the brain's energy fuel - to millions of neurons and produces free radicals - the highly reactive and destructive chemicals that scar and kill brain cells.

He suggests: "Keep your fat intake below 20 per cent of total calories." He further suggests the taking of vitamin E (the antioxidant), vitamin B (the energy booster), coenzyme-Q-10 (the brain cell-refueling substance), and ginko biloba (the brain blood circulation enhancing substance).

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.