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Healthy Aging for the Brain Understanding the Facts not the Myths





Copyright (c) 2009 SharpBrains

Have you noticed that every week some article seems to say exactly the opposite to what another article said the week before?

Do supplements improve memory? Are physical and brain activity important and complementary or is either enough? Which brain training approach, if any, is worth one's time and money?

First of all, we need to debunk several popular myths on mental fitness and cognitive health. Once you understand the facts, not the myths, you will be able to make much better decisions on how to stay sharp.

MYTH 1. Genes determine the fate of our brains.

Facts: Lifelong brain plasticity means that our experiences have a very important influence on how our brain abilities evolve as we get older.

MYTH 2. Aging means automatic decline.

Facts: There is nothing inherently fixed in the precise trajectory of how brain functions evolve as we age.

MYTH 3. Medication is the main hope for cognitive enhancement.

Facts: Non-invasive options can have comparable and more durable effects, side effect-free.

MYTH 4. We will soon have a Magic Pill or General Solution to solve all our cognitive challenges.

Facts: A multi-pronged approach is recommended, centered around nutrition, stress management, and both physical and mental exercise.

MYTH 5. There is only one "it" in "Use It or Lose it".

Facts: The brain is composed of a number of specialized units. Our life and productivity depend on a variety of brain functions, not just one.

MYTH 6. All mental activities or exercises are the same.

Facts: Varied and targeted exercises are the necessary ingredients in brain training so that a wide range of brain functions can be stimulated.

MYTH 7. There is only one way to train your brain.

Facts: Brain functions can be impacted in a number of ways: through meditation, cognitive therapy, cognitive training.

MYTH 8. We all have something called "Brain Age".

Facts: Brain age is a fiction. No two individuals have the same brain or expression of brain functions.

MYTH 9. That "brain age" can be reversed by 10, 20, 30 years.

Facts: Brain training can improve specific brain functions, but, with research available today, cannot be said to roll back one's "brain age" by a number of years.

MYTH 10. All human brains need the same brain training.

Facts: As in physical fitness, users must ask themselves: What functions do I need to improve on? In what timeframe? What is my budget?

Do you have other myths in mind you would like us to address?


About Author Alvaro Fernandez :

Alvaro Fernandez is the Co-Author of The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: 18 Interviews with Scientists, Practical Advice, and Product Reviews, to Keep Your Brain Sharp (182 pages, $24.95). Alvaro teaches The Science of Brain Health at UC Berkeley Lifelong Learning Institute, and has been quoted in multiple publications such as The New York Times and USA Today. You can learn more about SharpBrains' new brain fitness book at <a href="http://www.sharpbrains.com/book/" target="_blank">http://www.sharpbrains.com/book/</a>


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Article Added on Thursday, June 25, 2009
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