Your Brain On Truth
Truth Be Told
By Elizabeth Sukys-Rice, MSW
The Top 5 Beliefs Dispelled
Most of us grew up believing certain concepts about the human brain the modern science and research has been able to prove to be inaccurate.
- The Brain loses millions of cells a day, these cells cannot be replaced
- Once a Brain has been injured it cannot repair itself
- The hardwiring of the Brain cannot be changed
- Anger, Fear, Jealousy, aggression and all the primitive reactions can overrule the higher Brain
- The Brain will deteriorate during the aging process. It is inevitable and irreversible
The truth about the brain is every exciting and powerful. It puts us in a position of the drivers seat when it comes to the health of our Brains. The old view of our brains made it seem stuck, mechanical and destined to deteriorate. It is a farthest thing from the truth, so lets take a moment and expand a little on each of these beliefs and bring out the truth.
- The Brain loses millions of cells a day, that cannot be replaced-The brain does lose around one cortical neuron per second. We once believed that new growth did not occur until recently. Neuroscientist Fred Gage at the Salk Institute has shown that physical exercise and stimulating surroundings can stimulate the growth of new neurons in the brain. Daily exercise, along with actively seeking ways to learn new things can promote the survival of current cells in the bran and build new connections and cells. As we age, the area of our brains that involve memory and learning will produce new nerve cells with physical exercise, social connectedness and mentally stimulating activities.
- Once a Brain has been injured it cannot repair itself-The brain can repair itself and the work of Dr. Michel Merzenich, distinguished scientist from the University of California San Fransisco, has been able to scientifically prove that when brain cells are damaged or lost the neighboring neurons step up their game and undergo what is called “compensatory regeneration, where new dendrites and axons are grown to repair and rewire the brain.
- The hardwiring of the Brain cannot be changed – One study by Dr. Michel Merzenich supports the hardwire change possibilities as he and his colleagues studied 7 monkeys where the monkeys were tasked with getting banana flavored food pellets out of shallow, wide wells, and narrow deep wells. When the monkeys were tasked with getting the food out the wells, the monkeys brains actually changed its wiring in order to create a difference in the dexterity of their hands and fingers. The brain can actually change its wiring and it can be observed and proven with the advancement of science and technology.
- Anger, Fear, Jealousy, aggression and all the primitive reactions can overrule the higher Brain – “Its just the way I am”, “I have a bad temper”, each one of these statements grows stronger connection in the mapping of the neuropathways or brain maps. We can change the lower brain functions through awareness and strengthening the higher brain functions. When we recognize the truth, that we are in control of our emotions, we allow for the higher reasoning brain to work at reframing the situation and cognitively choose a different path.
- The Brain will deteriorate during the aging process and it is inevitable and irreversible – As we age, most of us desire to continue to remain sharp, to feel sharp. Be able to continue to learn new things and complete daily task with the skill and performance we have had in our past. And for most of us, the ability to recall and remember is at the top of the list of importance. Science is providing wonderful truths about our ability to keep our brain functionality well into our early 90’s or even to our end. Simple acts must be part of the daily rituals, socialization, love of learning, challenging ourselves to try new task, daily exercise, a healthy diet, hydration and meditation. With a combination of these not only can we maintain our cognitive health late into life we might actually improve our brain functions.
- And thats YOUR brain on Truth, good news for all of US!