Brain Myth – Enlightening

Your brain “lights up” . . . not

Areas of your brain don’t “light up” or suddenly become active in response to events in the world. “This is an incorrect view of brain activity that dates back to a 1952 study of  a piece of a brain cell from a dead giant squid!”

The giant squid specimen preserved in a block of ice at the Melbourne Aquarium

No human brain cell is ever dormant or switched off. Your whole brain is active all the time. Particular neurons may fire at faster and slower rates, but they’re always in a flurry of activity, dashing off thousands of predictions of what you might encounter next and preparing your body to deal with it. This constant storm of predictions, which scientists call intrinsic brain activity, ultimately produces everything you think, feel, or perceive.”

Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, is a University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University, with appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Psychiatry and Radiology. She received an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award for her research on emotion in the brain, and most recently the 2018 APS Mentor Award For Lifetime Achievement. “How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain” is her first book.

March 12-18, 2018 is Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is a nationwide effort organized by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the Society for Neuroscience to promote the public and personal benefits of brain research. 

http://www.dana.org/BAW/

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Brain Myth – Computer-Head

Brains are like computers . . . not
We speak of the brain’s processing speed, its storage capacity, its parallel circuits, inputs and outputs. The metaphor fails at pretty much every level:

1.  The brain doesn’t have a set memory capacity that is waiting to be filled up

2.  It doesn’t perform computations in the way a computer does

3.  Basic visual perception isn’t a passive receiving of inputs – we actively interpret, anticipate and pay attention to different elements of the visual world.

Elephants never forget by Judy

“There’s a long history of likening the brain to whatever technology is the most advanced, impressive and vaguely mysterious. Descartes compared the brain to a hydraulic machine. Freud likened emotions to pressure building up in a steam engine. The brain later resembled a telephone switchboard and then an electrical circuit before evolving into a computer; lately it’s turning into a Web browser or the Internet. These metaphors linger in clichés: emotions put the brain “under pressure” and some behaviors are thought to be “hard-wired.” 

 https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/top-ten-myths-about-the-brain-178357288/#KSSZgGZ7vPRdJWWq.99

March 12-18, 2018 is Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is a nationwide effort organized by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the Society for Neuroscience to promote the public and personal benefits of brain research. 

http://www.dana.org/BAW/

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Brain Awareness Week- Focus on this post to strength your brain muscle


Waste not, Want not

Stop using your mental skills – you’ll lose them.  It’s similar to losing physical skills – If you’ve ever had an arm or leg in a caste you know how muscles atrophy.

In middle age, after formal education is finished, careers established, children in school, we have a tendency to not challenge ourselves to  learning new things and our brain “muscle” is not stimulated.  Start learning again and “fuzzy” thinking sharpens up.  However, it takes motivation to stretch ourselves by working our brains hard – learning new things that may not be necessary for daily living or survival.

Clean & Jerk by Judy

The Good News

When you learn anything new your brain creates a brain map.   As you learn your brain map for the information or skill enlarges, becomes more efficient and unneeded pathways – thoughts or actions – drop out, leaving the essentials.

Your brain gets faster at the skill as the brain signals become sharper, more powerful.To create more “brain muscle” you need concentrated focus, need to pay attention.  Striving and focus stimulate the brains attentional system, the nucleus basalis.  This area secretes acetylcholine which helps the brain make sharp memories.  People with mild cognitive impairment show very little acetylcholine in their nucleus basilis.

Even Better News

Even “old folks” can tune their brains by focused attention.  However, even more intense concentration than when younger is needed to get the brain chemicals going that regulate plasticity.

While genetic factors are 10%-15% responsible for the development of the degenerative brain disease, engaging in preventive activities such as reading, learning new professions, and trying to learn poetry by heart, are among the practices that can help deter the risk.

 

Source:  Norman Doidge “The Brain that Changes Itself”

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave