Dec 2, 2007
By: Alvaro Fernandez
Update (11/10/10): Have you seen PBS great specials on Brain Fitness and Neuroplasticity ?
The Brain Fitness Program DVD ($24.95)
“The Brain Fitness Program is based on the brain’s ability to change and adapt, even rewire itself. In the past two years, a team of scientists has developed computer-based stimulus sets that drive beneficial chemical, physical and functional changes in the brain. Dr. Michael Merzenich of the University of California and his colleagues share their scientifically based set of brain exercises in this life-altering program. Peter Coyote (pictured) narrates. ”
PBS aired in December 2007 a special program on neuroplasticity, brain fitness, aging and the brain titled “Brain Fitness Program”. To watch the 3-minute trailer: click here.
In 2008, PBS released a second DVD:
“This program, specifically designed to help people get the most from their vision and hearing as they age, considers how these senses change throughout life and what people can do to keep them healthy and fully functional.”
If you do not have time to watch these great documentaries, here are a few points one needs to understand about neuroplasticity:
1. The human brain is now considered to be a highly dynamic and constantly reorganizing system capable of being shaped and reshaped across an entire lifespan. It is believed that every experience alters the brain’s organization at some level. The key words in this new approach to the brain are neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. Neuroplasticity refers to the lifelong capacity of the brain to change and rewire itself in response to the stimulation of learning and experience. Neurogenesis is the ability to create new neurons and connections between neurons throughout a lifetime. The latter process is also referred to as synaptogenesis. This new paradigm contrasts with traditional ideas of the human brain being a fixed and essentially limited system that only degrades with age.
2. As we age, the rate of change in the brain, or neuroplasticity, declines but does not come to a halt. In addition, we now know that new neurons can appear in certain parts of the brain up until the day we die.
3. Brain plasticity is crucial following head injury. It is the one brain’s ability that allows recovery. Brain plasticity is also the ability that brain training takes advantages of to try to slow down the aging process.
To read about evidence of neuroplasticity in the human brain take a look at Brain plasticity: How learning changes you brain
Note: How can anyone take care of his or her brain when every week brings a new barrage of articles and studies which seem to contradict each other?
Do supplements improve memory? Do you need both physical and mental exercise –or is one of them enough? Why is managing stress so important to attention and memory? Which brain training approach, if any, is worth one’s time and money?
If you have these questions, check out this new book, The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness:
—Gloria Cavanaugh, former President & CEO of the American Society on Aging and founding Board member of the National Alliance for Caregiving
—Elizabeth Edgerly, Ph.D., Chief Program Officer, Alzheimer’s Association
“A masterful guide to the brain training revolution. Promises to stimulate a much needed conversation that will nudge society to build a new brain fitness culture on solid, research-based, foundations.“
—P. Murali Doraiswamy MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Duke University and Co-author of The Alzheimer’s Action Plan
|The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness
to order at Amazon.com.
to order at Amazon.com,