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    2 Things You Need for a Younger Brain
    Henry S Lodge, MD posted:
    When I was in medical school, we were taught that you got all your brain cells by the time you were two years old. And by age 30, you start to lose them. Cognitive aging was simply the slow, steady loss of brain cells that occurred as you age. Well, it turns out this was wrong! Scientists around the world have demonstrated that your brain can continue to grow throughout your life -- growing new cells, forming new connections, and rewiring existing ones. But this only happens if you use it. An idle brain will wither and decay, which leads to the decline in cognitive function that we once accepted as being part of the normal aging process.

    There are two great roads to rejuvenating your brain, and they might surprise you:
    - Exercise. MRI studies show marked growth in new brain tissue after three months of regular exercise. This growth is not just in the parts of the brain that control movement. It's also evident in the areas responsible for memory, decision-making, and judgment.

    - Social Connectedness. Your brain grows and thrives in direct proportion with the meaningful social connections you have -- meaning your engagement with friends, family, and your community. People who are lonely and depressed actually lose brain tissue overtime and show marked reductions in cognitive function. But people who stay connected with others and give back to their communities improve their chances of staying vibrant and sharp well into their later years.

    There's a wonderful scientific study going on that's a great example of the power of staying connected. A program called Experience Corps is putting older people in schools as reading tutors for young kids. The kids are doing better, of course. But the tutors are doing better too -- a lot better! All markers of health are improving -- blood pressure and weight are going down, and mood and energy are going up. What's also interesting is that a wide range of blood tests that measure inflammation (linked to long-term risks of heart attack, stroke, and common cancers) also show improvement with social connection and emotional involvement!

    Are you surprised at the control we can have over our brain health? Could this prompt you to make different lifestyle choices?
    An_245429 responded:
    Hi Henry,

    Just a few days back when I was browsing happened to come across a term about brain and it made me explore a lot. I got interested and kept searching on and on about brain. I read exactly what you have presented here; that the miraculous organ can continue to grow throughout one's life, this is possible only by using it etc. I felt I got charged reading all these things. But, was wondering about the reliability of what I read.

    Thank you. With this endorsement provided by you it feels great. It is like we have got a huge treasure and it is in our hands to use it to the optimum level.

    Can you throw some more light on this topic? Any recondition success, how it happened step by step (like what we read in weight loss section) or anyother info related to this? Just got so curious to read more.
    Henry S Lodge, MD replied to An_245429's response:
    This is actually the hottest area of neural research, and we continue to learn about the actual mechanisms. It turns out that the brain grows with exercise, emotional connection and intellectual and social engagement, and through similar chemical mechanisms. If you are interested in a more detailed discussion, I talked a lot about this in a recent PBS special I did called "Younger Next Year - The New Science of Aging ".
    TrinityTwilight responded:
    Absolutely! Thank you for this wonderful advice! I would like to copy and paste this onto Facebook if that is ok with you (of course crediting your name) I would love to have all my friends and family know this great news. I have been meaning to get involved with a local charity and am doing that as soon as I sign off my computer. Thank you for the nudge!

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