Our brain has the ability to change, recover and even recover at any age.
The human brain (lat. Encephalon) is an organ of the central nervous system, consisting of many interconnected nerve cells and their processes.
The human brain occupies almost the entire cavity of the cerebral cranium, the bones of which protect the brain from external mechanical damage. In the process of growth and development, the brain takes the form of a skull. The human brain contains an average of 100 billion neurons and consumes to power 50% of the glucose produced by the liver and entering the blood.
Scientists studying the human brain over the past few years have discovered a number of unexpected aspects that determine the influence of the brain on the overall health of our body. However, some aspects of our behavior affect our brain. In addition, according to the modern point of view, which was formed relatively recently, the human brain does not stop its formation by adolescence.
Earlier it was believed that the brain, starting from a rather early age (adolescence), undergoes an inexorable aging process, which reaches its peak in old age. However, it is now known that the human brain has the ability to change, recover and even cure, and this ability is truly endless! It turns out that not so much age affects our brain, but how we use the brain throughout life.
Indeed, a certain activity that requires intensive work of the brain is able to “reload” the so-called basal nucleus (the complex of subcortical neurons of the white substance), which, in turn, triggers the so-called neuroplasticity mechanism of the brain. In other words, neuroplasticity is the ability to monitor the state of the brain, maintaining its efficiency.
While the brain's functionality somewhat deteriorates naturally as the body ages (but not as critical as previously thought), certain strategic approaches and techniques allow you to create new neural pathways and even improve the performance of the old ways, and . What is even more surprising is that such efforts to “reset” the brain have a long-term positive effect on overall health. How does this happen? Our thoughts can affect our genes!
We tend to think that our so-called genetic heritage, that is, a kind of genetic baggage of our body, this matter is immutable. In our opinion, parents gave us all that genetic material that they themselves once inherited - the genes of baldness, height, weight, diseases, and so on - and now we are doing just what we got. But in fact, our genes are open to influence throughout our lives, and, not only our actions, but also our thoughts, feelings, and faith influence them.
You must have heard that genetic material can be influenced by changing diet, lifestyle, physical activity, and so on. So now the possibility of the same epigenetic effect caused by thoughts, feelings, faith is being seriously studied.
As already shown by numerous studies, chemicals that are affected by our mental activity can interact with our genetic material, causing a powerful effect. Many processes in our body can be affected in the same way as when changing diet, lifestyle, habitat. Our thoughts can literally turn off and turn on the activity of certain genes.
What do research say?
Ph.D. and researcher Dawson Church (Dawson Church) spoke about the interaction that the patient’s thoughts and beliefs have on the expression of genes associated with the disease and healing.
“Our body reads in our brain,” Church says. “Science has established that we can have only a certain fixed set of genes in our chromosomes.” However, which of these genes affect our subjective perception and the course of various processes is of great importance. ”
As a result of a study conducted at Ohio University (Ohio University), the effect of mental stress on the healing process was clearly demonstrated. Scientists conducted it among couples: each participant in the experience on the skin left a small damage, leading to the appearance of a small blister. Then, different couples were asked for half an hour to either talk on a neutral topic, or to argue on a particular topic.
Then, over the course of several weeks, scientists determined the levels of three specific proteins in the body that affect the rate of wound healing. It turned out that those debaters who used the most caustic and harsh comments in their disputes, and the level of these proteins and the rate of healing were 40 percent lower than those who spoke on a neutral topic.
Church explains this as follows: our body sends a signal in the form of a protein that activates certain genes associated with wound healing. Proteins activate genes that, using stem cells, create new skin cells to heal wounds.
However, when the body's energy is depleted in that it spends on the production of stressful substances, such as cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine, the signal that goes to your wound-healing genes is significantly weakened. The recovery process takes much longer. At the same time, if the human body does not tune in to the fight against some external threat, its energy resources remain intact and ready to perform healing missions.
Why is this very important to us?
There is no doubt that the body of almost any person from birth is equipped with genetic material necessary for optimal functioning in conditions of daily physical exertion. However, our ability to maintain the so-called mental balance has a huge impact on our body's ability to use its resources. And even if you are full of aggressive thoughts, a certain activity helps set up your neural pathways to support less reactionary actions.
Chronic stress can prematurely age our brains.
“We are constantly under stress in our environment,” says Howard Fillit, Ph.D., a professor of geriatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, and the head of a foundation that seeks out new drugs for Alzheimer's disease. “However, the greatest harm is caused by the mental stress that we feel inside ourselves in response to external stress.”
Such a distinction of stress indicates the presence of a constant response of the whole organism in response to constant external stress. This response affects our brain, leading to impaired memory and other aspects of mental activity. Thus, stress is a risk factor affecting the development of Alzheimer's disease, and also accelerates memory deterioration during human aging. At the same time, you can even begin to feel much older, what is called, mentally, than you really are.
Research by University of California University of California in San Francisco demonstrated that the body’s constant response to stress (and constant cortisol surges) can lead to a decrease in the hippocampus, an essential part of the limbic system of the brain that is responsible for controlling the effects of stress. and for long-term memory. This is also one of the manifestations of neuroplasticity - but already negative.
Like other forms of relaxation, complete renunciation of all thoughts is not only able to quickly put thoughts in order (and, accordingly, the biochemical level of stress along with gene expression), but even change the structure of the brain itself!
"Stimulating areas of the brain that control positive emotions can strengthen neural connections in the same way that physical exercises strengthen muscles," says Hanson, one of the main principles of neuroplasticity. However, the opposite is also true: “If you regularly think of things that torment you and drive you crazy, you increase the sensitivity of the amygdala, which is primarily responsible for negative experiences.”
Hanson explained that this way we make our brain more susceptible, and this leads to the fact that we are easily frustrated with trifles in the future.
“Working the brain in unison with the body through interoception protects our body from damage during exercise,” says Hanson. “It also helps you feel a pleasant and simple feeling that everything is in order in your body.” Another plus is the “island "Is that you thus improve your instincts, intuition and empathy - the ability to empathize."
Every year of our life in old age is able to add to our mind
For a long time it was believed that closer to middle age, the human brain, once young and flexible, begins to gradually lose ground. However, recent studies have shown that in middle age the brain is able to begin to show its peak activity. Studies show that even despite bad habits, these are the most favorable years for the most active brain work. It is then that we make the most informed decisions, looking back at the accumulated experience.
Scientists who studied the human brain have always convinced us that the main cause of brain aging is the loss of neurons - the death of brain cells. However, brain scans using new technologies have demonstrated that most of the brain supports the same number of active neurons throughout their lives. And even if some aspects of aging really lead to memory impairment, reaction, and so on, there is a constant replenishment of the “reserves” of neurons. But at the expense of what?
Scientists have called this process "bilateral brain", in which there is a simultaneous use of both the right and left hemispheres of the brain. In the 1990s in Canada, at the University of Toronto (University of Toronto), thanks to the development of brain scanning technologies, it was possible to visualize and compare how the brains of young people and middle-aged people work when solving the next task for attention and memory: it was necessary to quickly remember the names of people in various photographs, and then try to remember who their name is.
Scientists expected that the participants in the middle-aged study would cope worse with the task, but the results of the experiments for both age groups were the same. But something else was surprising: positron emission tomography showed that neural connections in young people were activated in a certain part of the brain, and in older people, in addition to being active in the same zone, part of the prefrontal cortex also manifested itself.
Canadian scientists, based on the results of this and many other experiments, came to the following conclusion: the biological neural network of the brain of middle-aged people could slack in a certain area, but another part of the brain was immediately connected, compensating for the “shortage”. Thus, the aging process leads to the fact that people in middle age and older use their brains literally to a greater extent. In addition, there is an increase in the biological neural network in other areas of the brain.
Our brain is designed in such a way that it can cope with the circumstances (to counteract them), showing flexibility. And the better to monitor his health, the better he copes.
Researchers offer a range of activities that allow you to maintain brain health as long as possible:
- healthy food
- physical activity,
- solving complex problems
- constant study of something and so on.
Moreover, it works at any age.
Via econet.ru & wiki