Thousands of things can happen to our brain that would cause it to make changes. Scientists are just starting to understand how our brains work. How awesome is it that an organ the size of a small head of lettuce is able to control all aspects of our body! Our ability to walk, talk, understand language and process complicated information is all under the control of one muscle. If damage or weakening to that muscle occurs our brain will not work the way it should, and could make all of the functions it performs out of control. We are at the mercy of our brains, so it is in our best interest to take good care of it.
For decades scientists had believed that each of the two hemispheres of our brain works independently to control specific areas, and the functions they have associated with those areas. According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, done out of the University of New South Wales, the brain is made up of thousands of thread-like fibers that run all along the spinal cord, central nervous system and the brain. This goes against the mainstream science concepts. The brain is a network of hundreds of thousands of nerves that interconnect throughout the system, sending signals to all areas of the brain. This makes up the “information-processing and control system” of the brain and it is through this network the body is able to function at its optimum level.They also found that more than one area of the brain could be able to control the same function.
This particular study was geared toward an aging population, with a group of 342 healthy people between the ages of 72-92. The subjects were put through was is called “brain mapping.” This consists of having their subjects undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans while using a new imaging technique called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Through what scientists call “graph theory,” which is a mathematical technique, the neurologists were able to measure and observe how the nerves connect.
The goal of brain mapping is to allow scientists to view the way the brain is able to process information, and how the body and brain inter-relate to allow a person to think, feel, and react. The results of studies like this will help neuroscientists and neurobiologists to be able to design treatments of both psychological and psychiatric disorders, including how we age.
Scientists believe that if they are able to localize areas that have been weakened, by using brain mapping, they can get to the root cause of many degenerative diseases, as well as to age-related mental and physical decline.
After the age of 40, research has found that the brain begins to slow down naturally, and that affects energy, attention span and memory. The body begins to take on a whole new set of ailments, and is more susceptible to a weakened immune system, stress-related problems, depression, insomnia and loss of sexual vitality.
Through brain mapping the degrees of slowing mental and physical activity can be evaluated and corrected. Hopefully this will lead to a program that will enable doctors to return a person to their full potential, at any age, by retraining their nervous system.
In the meantime, research also shows that if a person continues to stimulate their brain, through the use of memory training techniques, puzzles and brain games, the loss can be minimalized until a cure can be found.
About the author:
Ron White is a two-time USA Memory Champion , memory expert, and memory speaker. He speaks at seminars and to large groups all over the world on how to improve memory and memory techniques. In addition, his website BrainAthlete.com sells CDs and programs to improve memory skills and advise for success.
Journal of Neuroscience, (26 January 2011) – Discrete Neuroanatomical Networks Are Associated with Specific Cognitive Abilities in Old Age: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/31/4/1204.full.pdf
The Anatomy of the Brain: http://psychology.about.com/od/biopsychology/ss/brainstructure_2.htm