Last week I had the pleasure to meet with our scientific advisor Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, renowned neuropsychologist and author of The Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes and the Civilized Mind and The Wisdom Paradox: How Your Mind Can Grow Stronger As Your Brain Grows Older
Let me summarize some of the key overall research findings outlined in the books:
- Our brains enjoy Lifelong Brain Plasticity: until recently, a popular misconception was that neurons die through life and do not get replenished. Now, neurogenesis, or the ability of our brains to create new neurons until the very day we die, is proven.
- Intense mental challenges provide extra resistance to ageing and improve pattern recognition and brain “efficiency”, this is, the ability to take on similar challenges with reduced metabolical demands
- Our mental activity influences the generation of neurons and where they go. The functional capacity of our neural networks depends on the number of neurons and their connections-both short and long
- Exercising our brains is as important as exercising our bodies. “Use it or lose it” came from athletics to brain science. Even better, now we know that“Use it and get more of it.
- The pathways that connect the frontal lobes with the rest of the brain are slow to mature, reaching full operational state, and therefore social maturity, between the ages of 18 and 30.
- Intensive neuroplasticity-based programs can produce good results in as short as 3 months if well-targeted.
- The rate of development of new neurons can be influenced by physical and cognitive activities.