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4 Exercises To Sharpen Your Brain
Think of your brain as a muscle: It gets stronger with exercise. Your everyday mental tasks are like walking, but how about a real workout? Try these simple exercises to boost your brain power and clear away the fog of forgetfulness.
1. Use your non-dominant hand
Tackling new tasks improves brain capacity in younger people and has a restorative effect on mental faculties that are declining. Boost your brain power right now by performing everyday activities with your non-dominant hand. If you're right-handed, use your left hand to eat, drink, comb your hair, and brush your teeth. Try writing your name with your non-dominant hand or put your mouse pad on the other side of the keyboard.
Aluminum And Alzheimers Disease
Large amounts of aluminum are usually found in the brain of a patient with Alzheimer's. This has led others to think that the disease is caused by using aluminum cooking pots and pans or ingesting oral antacids or antiperspirants containing aluminum.
It's a nice thought but one with no scientific basis. Professor Luigi Amaducci of the Department of Neurologic & Psychiatric Sciences at the University Of Florence said other patients with Alzheimer's don't have aluminum plaques in the brain which rules out this metal as the cause of the disease.
"There has been some concern in recent years that dietary aluminum may lead to Alzheimer's disease or senile dementia in older people. This concern arises from the fact that greater levels of aluminum are found in brain tissue of people dying from Alzheimer's disease than in brain tissue from people dying from other causes," according to Dr. Myron Winick, director of the Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in The Columbia Encyclopedia of Nutrition.
Be A Brain Scientist
"To think is to practice brain chemistry." - Deepak Chopra
Have you ever heard someone say, "Well, I'm no brain scientist¦"? Quite recently I had lunch with a friend while he was on a break from work. When he ordered a beer I raised my eyebrows in mock astonishment. He replied "It's not like I'm performing brain surgery later."
But we are all brain scientists. Our thoughts really do affect our brain chemistry. And we can be like surgeons in our ability to carefully excise negative thoughts from our gray matter.
Our patterns of thought are simply habits, but they are grounded in rich neural circuitry. Like deer in the woods, our thoughts form paths that will most likely be retread unless we consciously set out to find a new way. The first step to that new way is to be aware that thoughts can either be unconscious or conscious.
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How The Left And Right Brain Works
You've probably heard the question: Are you left-brained or right-brained? For normal, healthy individuals the answer is both. However, the two halves of the brain do have some very different, specialized functions. There is also some truth in the claim that the left brain deals with logic and the right side with creative processes, but this oversimplifies matters. The human brain is an extraordinary organ and a full understanding of the secrets of its functioning is still a long way off.
The brain is divided into two halves or cerebral hemispheres. A structure called the corpus callosum allows communication between them. Much of what we know about the specialization of the right and left hemispheres comes from studies of people who have had the corpus callosum bridge cut. This is still sometimes done to treat severe epilepsy. The behavior of patients after this operation revealed much about brain lateralization. The discovery of specialized areas in the brain involved in language and other functions has also provided insights into the two hemispheres different functioning.
If you are right-handed, then there is a strong chance that your brain processes language and speech in the left brain. This is true of 90% of right-handed people. You would think that the opposite applies to left-handed people, but that is not the case. About 20% of left-handers process language on both sides and, like right-handed people, the speech and language center of many left-handers is also in the left brain. Research has also shown that if one side of the brain is damaged, the other side can often take over those functions, even if only partially.
Left versus Right Brain
Research has shown that the right-left brain distinction is not cast in stone, even though the different sides tend to deal with different functions. The left brain is associated with retrieving and analysing information, whereas the right is strongly linked to visuo-spatial ability, perceiving faces, creative pursuits and intuition. But these right and left brain differences are no more than tendencies and these associations do not always apply.
Though the idea of right-left brain lateralization has been oversimplified, there are nevertheless other functions linked to each. The left brain is more strongly involved in creative effort and intuition, as well as retrieving factual data. The right brain is linked to visuo-spatial capacity and making sense of faces. Yet the rules do not always apply.
Without a doubt brain lateralization is real, and a fascinating phenomenon. Ongoing research is still exploring its many mysteries and its role in human behavior.
By: Deborah Lindholm
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