Due to the concept of brain plasticity, we know the brain can continue to grow as we age. The key question is how do we make that happen?
Research has shown that grey matter grows or increases when the brain learns new and complex material. The idea of new and complex is somewhat personal, it differs from one person to another. The important element in the activity or exercise is that it provides an appropriate level of challenge and engagement.
One research study at the University of Hamburg on medical students demonstrated this growth of grey matter. In this study, the grey matter in the students’ brains grew in size over a six-week period that coincided with studying for final exams. Their brains actually grew in size! This doesn’t mean we have to study medicine to get a bigger and better brain. What it does show is that learning new material is a positive step for brain health.
The Impact of Growing Your Grey Matter
Building cognitive reserve can impact on how our brain buffers against disease or how quickly and to what extent we recover from a brain trauma. Individuals with a higher cognitive reserve have a greater capacity in both of these areas.
Case Study: Sister Bernadette
Sister Bernadette, a nun who took part in the Nun Study is a case in point. She had been a high school teacher and very active in her community. At the age of 85 she died of a heart attack. An autopsy upon her death discovered significantly advanced Alzheimer’s disease. The team following her during the study concluded that her level of cognitive reserve was able to create a buffer against the disease and she died of other causes.
The media has also reported on the effects of brain plasticity and cognitive resilience after significant head traumas. The cases of both Congresswoman Gabriel Gifford or Canadian Army Captain Trevor Green come to mind. Both of them suffered devastating brain injuries – Congresswoman Gifford was shot in the head, Captain Green was attacked with an axe. Given their background, it is safe to assume that they had significant cognitive resilience. They were both able to rewire and recover significant brain function through both physical rehabilitation and mental exercises. Their example offers great hope for individuals with a traumatic brain injury.
Our brain is truly a fascinating organ! We cannot see it and yet it dictates everything we do each day. How can we not love and look after this 3 pounds baby?
By Fit Minds
Green Tea has been the subject of much research over the years, and it has been found from various studies to have many beneficial health properties, which range from protecting against heart disease, reducing the risk of glaucoma, effective weight loss and lowering the risk of cancer, to name a few.
Imagine that when you have a cup or two of Green Tea, that it may improve your working memory function. Can this be true? Well, the most amazing news has just been released ...... Green Tea has now been found to improve memory and cognitive function!
Science has proven that Green Tea is one of the most beneficial drinks for your brain health. In a study in April 2014, the researcher teams of Prof. Christoph Beglinger from the University Hospital of Basel and Prof. Stefan Borgwardt from the Psychiatric University Clinics reported the very first evidence that Green Tea extract enhances the cognitive functions, in particular the working memory. The results of their research have been published in the academic journal, Psychopharmacology.
For the study, healthy male volunteers received a soft drink containing several grams of green tea extract before they solved working memory tasks. The scientists then analysed how this affected the brain activity of the men using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The MRI showed increased connectivity between the parietal and the frontal cortex of the brain. These neuronal findings correlated positively with improvement in task performance of the participants. “Our findings suggest that Green Tea might increase the short-term synaptic plasticity of the brain” says Borgwardt.
It has been found that Green Tea extract increases the brain’s effective connectivity. This effect on connectivity also led to improvement in actual cognitive performance. In the study the subjects had tested significantly better for working memory tasks after the admission of Green Tea extract. These findings suggest promising clinical implications in the future for the treatment of cognitive impairments in psychiatric orders such as dementia.
Green Tea contains many antioxidants and beneficial compounds one of which is called EGCG. It is one of the most potent antioxidants and considered the most physiologically active component of Green Tea. It is one of the healthiest drinks in the world and is now the greatest drink for your brain.
By Louise Hallinan, Smart Brain Health Centre
The Smart Brain Health Centre helps those who are experiencing memory problems by identifying the cause of your memory problem and providing an individualised Treatment Plan