Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Most Important Organ : THE BRAIN

Introduction To The Brain
A brain floating in a liquid-filled glass jar. Yellowing of the handwritten labels on the jar give the object an antique appearance.the brain is mainly divided to four parts,each part play a big role in our daily life.The brain is the main control  for our body if without it we are useless.The brain can contain about 15-33 million neurons.Unlike humans , animal have a smaller brain than us but some animal like the chimpanzee can have a brain nearly the same size.

chimpanzee's brain

A Brain Exercise You Can Do Right Now
This is an exercise that can strengthen neural connections and even create new ones.
Switch the hand you are using to control the computer mouse. Use the hand you normally do NOT use.
What do you notice?
Is it harder to be precise and accurate with your motions?
Do you feel like you did when you were first learning to tie your shoelaces?
If you are feeling uncomfortable and awkward don’t worry, your brain is learning a new skill.
Try other neural building and strengthening exercises with everyday movements. Use your opposite hand to brush your teeth, dial the phone or operate the TV remote.
Imagine Increased Muscle Strength!-Experiment
In a fascinating experiment, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation discovered that a muscle can be strengthened just by thinking about exercising it.
For 12 weeks (five minutes a day, five days per week) a team of 30 healthy young adults imagined either using the muscle of their little finger or of their elbow flexor. Dr. Vinoth Ranganathan and his team asked the participants to think as strongly as they could about moving the muscle being tested, to make the imaginary movement as real as they could.
Compared to a control group – that did no imaginary exercises and showed no strength gains – the little-finger group increased their pinky muscle strength by 35%. The other group increased elbow strength by 13.4%.
What's more, brain scans taken after the study showed greater and more focused activity in the prefrontal cortex than before. The researchers said strength gains were due to improvements in the brain's ability to signal muscle.3
Pay attention to your breathing. Is it slow and deep, or quick and shallow? Is your belly expanding and contracting, or is your chest doing all the work?
Engage Your Brain
It is important to challenge your brain to learn new and novel tasks, especially processes that you've never done before. Examples include square-dancing, chess, tai chi, yoga, or sculpture. Working with modeling clay or playdough is an especially good way for children to grow new connections. It helps develop agility and hand-brain coordination, (like controlling the computer mouse with your opposite hand).
Travel Stimulates Your Brain
Travel is another good way to stimulate your brain. It worked for our ancestors, the early Homo sapiens. Their nomadic lifestyle provided a tremendous stimulation for their brains that led to the development of superior tools and survival skills. In comparison, the now-extinct Neanderthal was a species that for thousands of years apparently did not venture too far from their homes. (Maybe they were simply content with their lives – in contrast to the seldom-satisfied sapien.)Early humans gained a crucial evolutionary edge from the flexibility and innovation required by their strategic lifestyle, which also led to a more diverse diet that allowed their brains to rapidly evolve.
Neurobics™ is a unique system of brain exercises using your five physical senses and your emotional sense in unexpected ways that encourage you to shake up your everyday routines. They are designed to help your brain manufacture its own nutrients that strengthen, preserve, and grow brain cells.Created by Lawrence C. Katz, Ph.D., a professor of neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center, neurobics can be done anywhere, anytime, in offbeat, fun and easy ways. Nevertheless, these exercises can activate underused nerve pathways and connections, helping you achieve a fit and flexible mind.
Neurobic Exercises
Try to include one or more of your senses in an everyday task:4
Get dressed with your eyes closed
Wash your hair with your eyes closed
Share a meal and use only visual cues to communicate. No talking.

Combine two senses:
Listen to music and smell flowers
Listen to the rain and tap your fingers
Watch clouds and play with modeling clay at the same time

Break routines:
Go to work on a new route
Eat with your opposite hand
Shop at new grocery store

Reading and Bingo
Consider your brain a muscle, and find opportunities to flex it. "Read, read, read," says Dr. Amir Soas of Case Western Reserve University Medical School in Cleveland. Do crossword puzzles. Play Scrabble. Start a new hobby or learn to speak a foreign language. "Anything that stimulates the brain to think." Also, watch less television, because "your brain goes into neutral," he said.Challenging the brain early in life is crucial to building up more "cognitive reserve" to counter brain-damaging disease, according to Dr. David Bennett of Chicago's Rush University. And, reading-habits prior to age 18 are a key predictor of later cognitive function.
A cognitive psychologist in England found that when elderly people regularly played bingo, it helped minimize their memory loss and bolster their hand-eye coordination. Bingo seemed to help players of all ages remain mentally sharp.5
What's Thought-Provoking is Brain-Promoting-Research
Research on the physical results of thinking has shown that just using the brain actually increases the number of dendritic branches that interconnect brain cells. The more we think, the better our brains function – regardless of age. The renowned brain researcher Dr. Marian Diamond says, "The nervous system possesses not just a 'morning' of plasticity, but an 'afternoon' and an 'evening' as well."
Dr. Diamond found that whether we are young or old, we can continue to learn. The brain can change at any age. A dendrite grows much like a tree – from trunk to limbs to branches to twigs – in an array of ever finer complexity.
In fact, older brains may have an advantage. She discovered that more highly developed neurons respond even better to intellectual enrichment than less developed ones do. The greatest increase in dendritic length occurred in the outermost dendritic branches, as a reaction to new information.
As she poetically describes it: "We began with a nerve cell, which starts in the embryo as just a sort of sphere. It sends its first branch out to overcome ignorance. As it reaches out, it is gathering knowledge and it is becoming creative. Then we become a little more idealistic, generous, and altruistic; but it is our six-sided dendrites which give us wisdom."
Stimulating Environment Protects Brain-Study
Animal studies show that intellectual enrichment can even compensate for some forms of physical brain damage. For example, a mentally stimulating environment helped protect rats from the potentially damaging effects of lead poisoning.
Neuroscientists at Jefferson Medical College compared groups of rats given lead-laced water for several weeks in two different environments. Rats living in a stimulating environment showed a better ability to learn compared to the animals that were isolated. "Behaviorally, being in an enriched environment seemed to help protect their brains," says Jay Schneider, Ph.D., professor of pathology, neurology, anatomy and cell biology.
"The magnitude of the protective effect surprised me," he says. "This might lead to an early educational intervention for at-risk populations." It suggests a way to diminish the damage that lead does to kids: by manipulating their socio-behavioral environment.6

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