Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


Use It or Lose It: what is It?

Who has not heard “Use It or Lose It”. Now, what is “It”? And, is “It” only one thing or a num­ber of inte­grat­ed ele­ments, each of which are heav­i­ly involved in spe­cif­ic “brain exer­cis­es”, and all of which are impor­tant to main­tain Brain Fit­ness.

Let’s review at a glance:

The brain is com­posed of 3 “brains” or main sub-sys­tems, each named after the evo­lu­tion­ary moment in which the sub-sys­tem is believed to have appeared, and after which species we share that struc­ture with.

Theropod A) Neo­cor­tex, or Human Brain, is the most recent area, where we per­form high-lev­el think­ing and com­plex inte­gra­tive tasks. Oth­er mam­mals do have this part too, but in much small­er pro­por­tion of the whole brain vol­ume.
B) Lim­bic Sys­tem, or Mam­malian Brain, crit­i­cal for emo­tions and for mem­o­ry,

C) Cere­bel­lum and Stem, or Rep­til­ian Brain, that reg­u­lates basic vital vari­ables such as breath­ing, heart­beat and motor coor­di­na­tion (Cred­it for pic: Arnold Key­ser­ling and R.C.L.)

Theropod B) Lim­bic sys­tem: emo­tions are gen­er­at­ed here, as well as the appetites and urges that help us sur­vive. For instance, the amyg­dala gets trig­gered to pre­pare us to deal with a threat­en­ing sit­u­a­tion, result­ing in our feel­ing of fear. The hip­pocam­pus is key in the for­ma­tion of mem­o­ry. (Cred­it: Sand­hills Col­lege)
Theropod A) The Neo­cor­tex is com­posed of

-Frontal Lobes: or the CEO of the Mind, for sophis­ti­cat­ed brain func­tions such as plan­ning and con­cep­tu­al­iz­ing.

-Pari­etal: deals with move­ment, the sens­es, and some forms of recog­ni­tion

-Tem­po­ral: audi­to­ry process­es and lan­guage

-Occip­i­tal: visu­al pro­cess­ing cen­ter (cred­it: Mor­phonix)

In action When we exer­cise our brains, we put our Neu­rons in action. “Cells that fire togeth­er wire togeth­er”, mean­ing that synaps­es, or unions between neu­rons, get solid­i­fied the more often the respec­tive neu­rons “talk” to each oth­er. (Cred­it: Peter Fursten­berg)

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26 Responses

  1. Elona says:

    Great post. You have made a very com­plex top­ic very acces­si­ble. I teach a unit on the teenage brain to my grade nine stu­dents in my Learn­ing Strate­gies Class. I think they will “get it.” more eas­i­ly after view­ing this. I tell them they have to use all parts of their brain all the time, not just the video, tv watch­ing part. So I have them do all kinds of dif­fer­ent puz­zles to keep their brain “strong”.

  2. Alvaro says:

    Very good take-away. Yes, we need nov­el­ty and vari­ety to exer­cise our brains. I see that once we under­stand the basics of brain anato­my and func­tion­ing, the implca­tions are clear.

    Good luck, and please let me know how the exper­i­ment goes.

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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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