You exercise your body to stay physically in shape, so why shouldn't you exercise your brain to stay mentally fit? With these daily exercises you will learn how to flex your mind, improve your creativity and boost your memory. As with any exercise, repetition is necessary for you to see improvement, so pick your favorite exercises from our daily suggestions and repeat them as desired. Try to do some mentalrobics every single day!
The human brain reaches its full size by age 20 and then starts shrinking by about 1% per year. Male brains actually shrink slightly faster than female brains, but before you draw any conclusions it should be noted that there is no evidence that brain size determines ability. Rather, it is how your brain is constructed that matters.
The decrease in brain mass is not due to the death of neurons. In fact, recent research is showing that you can actually make new neurons as you age. The shrinkage is mostly due to changes within the neurons. In particular, the number of branching dendrites and connecting synapses decreases with age. Additionally, age causes the deterioration of the protective covering that surrounds the neurons. This may contribute to decreased mental performance.
Smoking, drinking and high cholesterol are all thought to hasten the shrinkage of the brain, so there's yet another reason to give up your vices.
Previously we talked about short-term memory and about how you can test it yourself.
Now, Braingle has an interactive short-term memory test that you can use to find your limit. It can also keep track of your results from day to day, so as you use our memory improvement exercises you will be able to see your improvement.
High cholesterol and high blood pressure are conditions that most people associate with being bad for the heart, but recent research is showing that they are also bad for your head. So, there are now even more reasons to take care of your health.
People with high cholesterol levels are more likely to suffer memory problems than people who have low cholesterol. The exact reasons why this is the case is still not entirely understood. Cholesterol can be somewhat reduced through proper dieting, but people with a genetic predisposition to high levels cannot control it entirely by diet and should consult their physician for proper treatment.
Hypertension can also cause memory impairment. Scientists think that the increased blood pressure can cause damage to the tiny blood vessels that terminate in your brain. If these fragile blood vessels get damaged, the neurons that they feed will not be getting the nutrients and oxygen that they need to function at peek performance. Untreated, hypertension can eventually result in dementia, so if you have high blood pressure, make sure you do something about it.
Dementia is a general term that refers to an abnormal decline in cognitive function due to disease or damage. Dementia can affect most parts of the brain, but areas that are particularly affected are memory, attention, language, problem solving, and orientation. Dementia is sometimes confused with delirium, which has similar symptoms but is caused in elderly people by a disruption in their lifestyle (surgery, poor sleep, change in environment, etc). Delirium can be reversed, but dementia rarely gets better.
The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer's Disease, but there are many other conditions that can cause dementia. For example, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, AIDS, hypothyroidism, alcoholism or cancer.
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disease that is caused by the loss of neurons in the part of the brain that produces dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that helps coordinate muscle movement and memory formation. In addition to the muscle tremors that most people associate with Parkinson's disease, visual memory is often affected as well. Depression, dementia and general memory loss can also occur in patients with the disease.
The cause of Parkinson's disease is not entirely understood, but the prevalent theory is that genetic factors combined with certain toxins can be a trigger. Studies have found that people exposed to pesticides and other agricultural chemicals have a higher risk of developing the disease. Head trauma can also play a small roll.