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Debunking 10 Brain Myths

Debunk­ing 10 Brain and Brain Fit­ness Myths

MYTHS
FACTS
1. Genes deter­mine the fate of our brains. Life­long neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty allows our lifestyles and actions to play a mean­ing­ful role in how our brains phys­i­cal­ly evolve, espe­cial­ly giv­en longer life expectan­cy.
2. Aging means auto­mat­ic decline. There is noth­ing inher­ent­ly fixed in the pre­cise tra­jec­to­ry of how brain func­tions evolve as we age.
3. Med­ica­tion is the main hope for cog­ni­tive enhance­ment. Non-inva­sive inter­ven­tions can have com­pa­ra­ble and more durable effects, side effect-free.
4. We will soon have a Mag­ic Pill or Gen­er­al Solu­tion to solve all our cog­ni­tive chal­lenges. A mul­ti-pronged approach is rec­om­mend­ed, cen­tered around nutri­tion, stress man­age­ment, and both phys­i­cal and men­tal exer­cise.
5. There is only one in “Use It or Lose it”. The brain is com­posed of a num­ber of spe­cial­ized units. Our life and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty depend on a vari­ety of brain func­tions, not just one.
6. All brain activ­i­ties or exer­cis­es are equal. Var­ied and tar­get­ed exer­cis­es are the nec­es­sary ingre­di­ents in brain train­ing so that a wide range of brain func­tions can be stim­u­lat­ed.
7. There is only one way to train your brain. Brain func­tions can be impact­ed in a num­ber of ways: through med­i­ta­tion, cog­ni­tive ther­a­py, cog­ni­tive train­ing.
8. We all have some­thing called Brain Age. Brain age is a fic­tion. No two indi­vid­u­als have the same brain or expres­sion of brain func­tions.
9. That brain age can be reversed by 10, 20, 30 years. Brain train­ing can improve spe­cif­ic brain func­tions, but, with research avail­able today, can­not be said to roll back one brain age by a num­ber of years.
10. All human brains need the same brain train­ing. As in phys­i­cal fit­ness, users must ask them­selves: What func­tions do I need to improve on? In what time frame? What is my bud­get?

—This is an excerpt from the book The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness (May 2009, $19.95), by Alvaro Fer­nan­dez and Dr. Elkhonon Gold­berg.

About SharpBrains

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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