Dec 4, 2006
By: Caroline Latham
The myths include:
- Memory Loss Is Inevitable
- Slow Metabolism Makes You Fatter
- Can Heartburn Lead to Cancer?
- Men Can Drink More Alcohol Than Women
- Marijuana Gives You the Munchies
- A High SPF Will Fully Protect You from Skin Cancer
- Nothing Will Age You Faster Than the Sun
- Superfit = Superhealthy
- Cholesterol Is the Major Cause of Heart Disease
- There’s a Wrong Way to Breathe
Of course, the first myth interested me the most, and here is an excerpt:
“Just like you challenge a muscle to grow it, well, the brain gets new connections,” said Dr. Roizen.
And that busts another big brain myth — that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Memory loss is not inevitable. Want to keep your brain young? Exercise it.
Try learning to play a musical instrument, doing crossword puzzles, learning a language — even playing computer games.
“The data now indicate that an hour of games for 40 weeks can make your brain equivalent, your brain’s real age, 10 years younger,” Roizen said.
And one final brain myth: Does the size of a person’s brain have anything to do with their intellectual capacity?
“There is no correlation with the size of a human brain and its intellect. In fact, Einstein was sort of a famous example. His brain was about average size — no difference between his and almost any other brain,” Oz said.
But also interesting to me was that most of the answers came down to 1) reduce stress, 2) eat well (more fruits & veggies than anything else), and 3) exercise regularly (aerobic exercise at least 3 times a week for 20-30 minutes, at a minimum). These are also three of the four pillars we keep talking about for how to maintain a healthy brain. The last pillar is 4) mental stimulation, which is covered in the first myth. Check out several brain fitness solutions here. And don’t forget, that while playing an instrument, doing crossword puzzles, and learning a language are all good, it’s not enough. You need a variety of different types of stimuli to challenge multiple mental muscles over time.
The ABC News ’20/20′ article was based on information from the book by Dr. Roizen and Dr. Oz: YOU: The Owner’s Manual: An Insider’s Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger.