Neurogenesis: A New Word for Your Brain Fitness March 18, 2007Posted by Dr. Rohn Kessler in education, memory, neurogenesis, Sparks of Genius.
A recent article in Scientific American asked “What do New Neurons Do?” New neurons? Most of us thought, and still do, that the brain cells we’re born with are with are the same ones we die with. I was taught this as a graduate student in the Sixties.
Remarkably, science has shown that new neurons are created as a natural process –– a process called neurogenesis. Scientists then began asking a bigger question: “Can these new brain cells wire themselves into the circuits of our brain?” Again, the answer is “yes.”
R. Douglas Fields, the author of the Scientific American article, reviews research that shows how new neurons can come together and form networks that play a part in making new memories. Although most neurons in our brains do not divide, at least 1% of the neurons are new.
What, if anything, does this have to do with us? Well, we have known for a while about neuroplasticity, the fact that the brain is a wonderfully active, dynamic, flexible and constantly reorganizing system. Now we know that the brain is capable of creating new neurons.
How can you use Neurogenesis to maximize your brain fitness?
1) Seek out new, engaging and challenging things to do. For example, adults and seniors at Sparks of Genius do things like playing computers games to improve memory thinking and attention skills, learning a new language, re-learning an old language, traveling to new places, eating healthier, drawing, dancing, juggling, starting to meditate, increase their spirituality, and find new meaning in their work.
2) Make a conscious effort to do your best in what you choose to do. When to take on a challenging task that you enjoy, it’s not always easy. But when you make the effort, gradually improve, and persist to higher levels of accomplishment and enjoying, you are really exercising your brain and improving your brain fitness.
3) Realize there are many ways to be smart and that you have the ability and the responsibility to unlock your hidden potential. When you went to school two intelligences were probably emphasized – verbal and analytical. If you could read, understand and communicate what you read (mostly through writing), think logically and mathematically, you probably did OK is school.
But there are other intelligences.