Understanding the brain

Our amazing brain consists of hundreds of billions of brain cells. The ones that process information are called “neurons”. Neurons are all inter-connected in a vast and complex neural network. One neuron may be connected to as many as 10,000 others!

The connectivity between neurons is not a physical one. Instead, neurons “talk” to one another through the release of brain chemicals, or neuro-transmitters. Billions of these neurons are grouped together into clusters responsible for various functions. Although each of these clusters serves different functions, they support each other (reference1) http://brainbooks303.blogspot.com/2010/03/brain-trust-program-by-larry-mccleary.html

Scientists http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v4/n11/full/nm1198_1313.html (reference 2) agree that the brain is plastic. The research http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/(SICI)1097-4695(199910)41:1%3C7::AID-NEU2%3E3.0.CO;2-I/full (reference 3) behind lifelong neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to reconnect its neurons throughout life) and lifelong neurogenesis (the brain’s ability to generate new neurons throughout life) indicates that targeted activities can improve cognitive abilities.

This means that all of us, whether children or adults, can improve the mental abilities we are born with. Whether 4 or 84 years, it’s never too early or late to enhance our cognitive abilities.

Always ask yourself: Is the brain fitness programme you choose based on proven neuro-scientific principles?

Reference 1: Larry McCleary MD, The Brain Trust

Reference 2: Eriksson et al., “Neurogenesis in the adult human hippocampus”, Nature Medicine, 4(11): 1313-7, 1998. 4 Norman Doidge MD, The Brain that Changes Itself, 2007.

Reference 3: For example Nobel Laureate T.N. Wiesel, “Early explorations of the development and plasticity of the visual cortex: A personal view”, Journal of Neurobiology, 41(1): 7-9, 1999.