Sunday, 12 August 2012

Shrinking Brain?, try having sex or Blueberries

Neurology seems to pop up every now and again to mention if there is a break though in discovery or if something is good or in this case bad for us. If you believe in the analogy that the brains whole structure is based on a highly complex computer that needs fine adjustments to reach optimum performance. In this case people should actually surround them selves with positive feeling and reinforce with a healthy lifestyle.

Yale scientist have discovered that major depression or chronic stress can cause the loss of brain volume, which is a form of cognitive impairment. A single genetic switch that triggers loss of brain connections in humans and animal models. The switch known as a transcription factor represses the expression of several genes that are necessary for the formation of synaptic connections between brain cells, which in turn could contribute to loss of brain mass in the prefrontal cortex. The area responsible for executive function, which relates to abilities to differentiate among conflicting thoughts, determine good and bad, better and best, same and different, future consequences of current activities, working toward a defined goal, prediction of outcomes, expectation.

The research team analyzed tissue of depressed and non-depressed patients donated from a brain bank and looked for different patterns of gene activation. The brains of patients who had been depressed exhibited lower levels of expression in genes that are required for the function and structure of brain synapses. Lead author and postdoctoral researcher H.J. Kang discovered that at least five of these genes could be regulated by a single transcription factor called GATA1. When the transcription factor was activated, rodents exhibited depressive-like symptoms, suggesting GATA1 plays a role not only in the loss of connections between neurons but also in symptoms of depression. Maybe one day genetic variations in GATA1 may one day help identify people at high risk for major depression or sensitivity to stress.
Your brain is bound to shrink as you age — it’s unavoidable. But there are certain lifestyle factors that hasten the process, according to a new study by researchers at University of California, Davis.

The four factors that were associated with faster declines in brain volume were:

  •   High blood pressure 
  •   Diabetes 
  •   Cigarette smoking 
  •   Being overweight or obese
The researchers found that all four risk factors were associated with faster declines in brain size: people with high blood pressure in midlife more quickly developed a condition called white matter change, in which areas of blood vessels in the brain are damaged, compared with those who had normal blood pressure. People with diabetes had faster shrinkage in a brain region called the hippocampus, which is involved with memory. Smokers had more rapid overall brain shrinkage than nonsmokers, and also showed faster white matter changes. On cognitive tests, these participants showed declines in executive function, or the ability to make decisions, plan, organize, and pay attention to and remember details. People who were overweight or obese in middle age, for example, were more likely to be among the top quartile of those with the fastest rates of decrease in brain volume and the most rapid declines in executive function.

Neurogenesis is a way to generate new neurons and it is possible to generate neurons throughout out your entire adult life.
These new cells can take over the function of damaged cells and provide protection against dementia and Alzheimer’s. They will help you learn faster and retain more of what you learn. You can boost or inhibit this process by various habits and techniques.

Exercise – In addition to the other well known and documented benefits of exercise, we can now add neurogenesis! The best thing you can do to grow and improve your brain is aerobic exercise.
Eat Blueberries – The ingredient that seems to trigger neurogenesis is anthocyanin. It can also be found in blackberries, black currant, bilberries, and black raspberries. Eat dark berries for your brain! One cup per day of blueberries is enough for the neurogenic effect.
Not only does learning improve as a result of neurogenesis, scientist now believe that learning itself stimulates neurogenesis.
Avoid Caffeine – I know, I know! I love caffeine too, but its long term impact on your brain is bad. Avoid Stress – Stress inhibits neurogenesis so do whatever it takes to reduce it. Restrict Your Calories – Calorie restriction is a universally agreed upon method for life-extension. Well, it turns out it is an effective brain extender as well. Take Ibuprofen – There is evidence that Ibuprofen reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s and can stimulate neurogenesis. Take small amounts because too much is not good for you.

To adopt a healthy and positive lifestyle is the  best way forward to reduce brain shrinkage or brain atrophy. Excessive alcohol and vitamin deficiency certainly are factors which are important for maintaining higher brain function. Also emotion is a factor and on some level modern living may be a harmful factor in brain development. One of the more interesting contributers of Neurogenesis is sex
professor Elizabeth Gould, also found that when male rats were allowed to mate with female rats multiple times over the course of the experiment ("chronic" sexual experience) as opposed to just once ("acute" sexual experience), the level of stress-response chemicals went down, but neurogenesis continued. In other words, repeated sexual experience in rats led to beneficial neurogenesis without the harmful chemical stress response. This might scale up in humans but hopefully if stress or modern life is getting you down, then maybe its time to try one some methods for neurogenesis to balance those brain cells.

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