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Maintaining Mental Ability as We Grow Older. Are You an Optimist? If you are then good news- People who have a positive mental outlook tend to show less.

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Presentation on theme: "Maintaining Mental Ability as We Grow Older. Are You an Optimist? If you are then good news- People who have a positive mental outlook tend to show less."— Presentation transcript:

1 Maintaining Mental Ability as We Grow Older

2 Are You an Optimist? If you are then good news- People who have a positive mental outlook tend to show less decline in mental functioning as they age.

3 Positive emotions facilitate preservation of cognitive (thinking) abilities.

4 It is important to distinguish normal, age-associated mental impairment from conditions such as dementia which identifies a disease process.

5 Dementia includes those diseases involving nerve cell deterioration and is defined as a loss in at least two areas of complex behavior. These include language, memory, visual & spatial abilities, and judgment. Impairment must be severe enough to interfere with a person's normal, daily ability to function. It is important to distinguish normal, age-associated mental impairment from conditions such as dementia which identifies a disease process.

6 Research also shows that though most older people tend to experience some memory deficiency, others maintain a high level of cognitive functioning into their later years.

7 These "successful agers," as they are sometimes labeled, show less age-related memory loss. They generally have higher levels of education, stay involved in their work and spend more time doing activities that require complex thought.

8 Factors known to facilitate preservation of cognitive abilities in aging: maintaining good physical health, maintaining a cognitively challenging lifestyle, regular physical exercise, generally positive emotions and relationships, limiting exposure to chronic stress.

9 What do these studies have in common that are clues about how to preserve and improve mental ability while aging? Reading is exercise for the brain. While reading only novels will help you keep your brain in decent shape, reading on serious subjects, or reading more challenging works, will do even more. Reading that forces you to think about complex ideas keeps your brain busy maintaining old pathways and forming new ones.

10 What do these studies have in common that are clues about how to preserve and improve mental ability while aging? Regular physical exercise and exposure to enriching environments have both been shown to boost new neuron production in the hippocampus. While these strategies will not halt the decline, they may slow it considerably.

11 What do these studies have in common that are clues about how to preserve and improve mental ability while aging? The sultry moves of tango dancing can help the aging brain. Researchers have discovered that the fancy footwork required to perform the tango bolsters brainpower and improves balance.

12 It is Never Too Late Its never too late to start. Studies show that the adult cortex retains its plasticity.

13 New Mental Tasks and the Brain New mental tasks increase neural connections and help the brain become more adaptive to future events.

14 You have the best chance of growing connections between your axons and dendrites by tackling activities that are unfamiliar to you. New Mental Tasks and the Brain

15 New mental tasks increase neural connections and help the brain become more adaptive to future events. You have the best chance of growing connections between your axons and dendrites by tackling activities that are unfamiliar to you. One of the brains most basic principles: USE IT OR LOSE IT – never too late to start By constantly challenging you brain to learn new things, you may develop more neural connections that help you delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease, recover from stroke, and live a longer life. New Mental Tasks and the Brain

16 Brain-Based Learning -New Concept of Brain The brain has the ability T* to rewire itself, Kotulak, Ronald, Inside the Brain, 1997

17 Brain-Based Learning -New Concept of Brain The brain has the ability T* to rewire itself, G* grow new parts from damaged cells,

18 Brain-Based Learning -New Concept of Brain The brain has the ability T* to rewire itself, G* grow new parts from damaged cells, A* and even make new cells. This is called plasticity.

19 Brain-Based Learning -Neurons Neurons -- carry electrical charges and make chemical connections to other neurons Cell Body -- contains the nucleus Axons -- long fibers (extending from the cell body) that transmit messages Dendrites -- short fibers (surrounding the cell body) that receive messages Synapses -- tiny gaps between axons and dendrites (with chemical bridges) that transmit messages www.educ.drake.edu/romig/cogito/brain_and_mind.html

20 Human Brain 100 billion neurons - each connected to other neurons by projections known as: Axons: way neurons pass on information (teach) and Dendrites: way neurons get information (learn)

21 Each neuron has 1 axon and as many as 100,000 dendrites. Synapses -- tiny gaps between axons and dendrites (with chemical bridges) that transmit messages. Learning and development occurs in the brain through the process of strengthening and weakening theses connections. 100 trillion constantly changing connections.

22 Development Interconnected Tangle of Connections The neuron and its thousands of neighbors send out axons and dendrites in all directions, which intertwine to form a tangle with 100 trillion constantly changing connections.

23 Development Interconnected Tangle of Connections The neuron and its thousands of neighbors send out axons and dendrites in all directions, which intertwine to form a tangle with 100 trillion constantly changing connections. The brain is changing its connective patterns every second of our lives in response to everything we perceive, think and do.

24 Development Interconnected Tangle of Connections The neuron and its thousands of neighbors send out axons and dendrites in all directions, which intertwine to form a tangle with 100 trillion constantly changing connections. The brain is changing its connective patterns every second of our lives in response to everything we perceive, think and do. The connections guide our bodies and behaviors, even as every thought and action we take physically modifies their patterns.

25 Rewiring is possible throughout life.

26 New connections take time to form and strengthen. In cases where brain damage occurs slowly, such as Alzheimers disease, the brain has more time to compensate,

27 Rewiring is possible throughout life. New connections take time to form and strengthen. In cases where brain damage occurs slowly, such as Alzheimers disease, the brain has more time to compensate, and many deleterious effects can be postponed, but not stopped.

28 MENTAL EXERCISE Mental Exercise: Strengthens and Even renews neural connections, Keeping the brain flexible and resilient.

29 Mental Exercise: Strengthens and Even renews neural connections, Keeping the brain flexible and resilient. PET scans show that the frontal lobes of a twenty-five-year-old and a seventy-five- year-old glow equally bright after the same memory test. MENTAL EXERCISE

30 Mental Exercise: Strengthens and Even renews neural connections, Keeping the brain flexible and resilient. PET scans show that the frontal lobes of a twenty-five-year-old and a seventy-five- year-old glow equally bright after the same memory test. Decline in old age is caused primarily by the lack of mental exercise.

31 The study, by scientists at the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center and Rush- Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL, found that more frequent participation in cognitively stimulating activities is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Cognitively Stimulating Activities appearing in the February 13, 2002, "Journal of the American Medical Association", www.seniors.gov/articles/0202/alzheimers-risk.htm

32 Cognitively Stimulating Activities The research looked at everyday activities like reading books, newspapers or magazines, engaging in crosswords or card games, and going to museums among participants in the Religious Orders Study, an ongoing examination of aging among older Catholic nuns, priests, and brothers from several groups across the U.S.

33 Cognitively Stimulating Activities On a scale measuring cognitive activity – with higher scores indicating more frequent activity – a one-point increase in cognitive activity corresponded with a 33 percent reduction in the risk of AD. On average, compared with someone with the lowest activity level, the risk of disease was reduced by 47 percent among those whose frequency of activity was highest.

34 Learning Remodeling Our Brain We always have the ability to remodel our brains.

35 Learning Remodeling Our Brain We always have the ability to remodel our brains. To change the wiring in one skill, you must engage in some activity that is unfamiliar, novel to you but related to that skill.

36 Learning Remodeling Our Brain We always have the ability to remodel our brains. To change the wiring in one skill, you must engage in some activity that is unfamiliar, novel to you but related to that skill. Because simply repeating the same activity only maintains already established connections.

37 Learning Remodeling Our Brain We always have the ability to remodel our brains. To change the wiring in one skill, you must engage in some activity that is unfamiliar, novel to you but related to that skill. Because simply repeating the same activity only maintains already established connections. Try puzzles to strengthen connections involved with spatial skills. Writing to boost the language area. Debating to help your reasoning networks.

38 Mental Exercise and the Brain Mental exercise causes physical changes in the brain, strengthening connections between brain cells called synapses and actually building new connections.

39 Mental Exercise and the Brain Mental exercise causes physical changes in the brain, strengthening connections between brain cells called synapses and actually building new connections. Education and interesting work protect people against Alzheimers. The more connections, the more resistant.

40 Mental Exercise and the Brain Mental exercise causes physical changes in the brain, strengthening connections between brain cells called synapses and actually building new connections. Education and interesting work protect people against Alzheimers. The more connections, the more resistant. Below 8th grade, twice the risk of Alzheimers.

41 Mental Exercise and the Brain Mental exercise causes physical changes in the brain, strengthening connections between brain cells called synapses and actually building new connections. Education and interesting work protect people against Alzheimers. The more connections, the more resistant. Below 8th grade, twice the risk of Alzheimers. Lower education and unstimulating work, 3 times the risk.

42 Mental Exercise and the Brain Mental exercise causes physical changes in the brain, strengthening connections between brain cells called synapses and actually building new connections. Education and interesting work protect people against Alzheimers. The more connections, the more resistant. Below 8th grade, twice the risk of Alzheimers. Lower education and unstimulating work, 3 times the risk. The aging brain retains much the same capacity as a childs brain to rewire itself. Not as good at repair.

43 Four factors which seem to determine mental agility in old age: 1.Education, which appears to increase the number and strength of connections between brain cells. Four Factors – Mental Agility

44 Four factors which seem to determine mental agility in old age: 1.Education, which appears to increase the number and strength of connections between brain cells. 2.Strenuous exercise, which improves blood flow to the brain. Four Factors – Mental Agility

45 Exercise – doesnt have to be strenueous Regular exercise, including walking at an easy pace, seems to protect the aging brain from erosion in thinking ability and even from Alzheimer's, according to two studies released today. Jennifer Weuve of the Harvard School of Public Health and her colleagues found that older women who were physically active, including those who walked at a leisurely pace two to three hours a week, performed much better on tests of memory and thinking ability than inactive women. And those who exercised more did even better: The team found that women who were the most active for example, those who walked at least six hours a week had a 20% reduced risk of doing poorly on the same tests of cognitive ability.

46 Four factors which seem to determine mental agility in old age: 1.Education, which appears to increase the number and strength of connections between brain cells. 2.Strenuous exercise, which improves blood flow to the brain. 3.Lung function, which makes sure the blood is adequately oxygenated. Four Factors – Mental Agility

47 Four factors which seem to determine mental agility in old age: 1.Education, which appears to increase the number and strength of connections between brain cells. 2.Strenuous exercise, which improves blood flow to the brain. 3.Lung function, which makes sure the blood is adequately oxygenated. 4.The feeling that what you do makes a difference in your life. (Lets add sleep!)

48 Physical Exercise and the Brain Increase the amount of blood that gets to the brain.

49 Augments the number and density of blood vessels in the areas that need them most: motor cortex and cerebellum. Physical Exercise and the Brain

50 Increase the amount of blood that gets to the brain. Augments the number and density of blood vessels in the areas that need them most: motor cortex and cerebellum. Short sessions of vigorous aerobic exercise, usually in a program that lasts for several weeks, seem to be the most helpful for mild to clinical depression. Physical Exercise and the Brain

51 Increase the amount of blood that gets to the brain. Augments the number and density of blood vessels in the areas that need them most: motor cortex and cerebellum. Short sessions of vigorous aerobic exercise, usually in a program that lasts for several weeks, seem to be the most helpful for mild to clinical depression. Men who burned 2,500 calories a day in aerobic activity were 28% less likely to develop clinical depression. Physical Exercise and the Brain

52 Increase the amount of blood that gets to the brain. Augments the number and density of blood vessels in the areas that need them most: motor cortex and cerebellum. Short sessions of vigorous aerobic exercise, usually in a program that lasts for several weeks, seem to be the most helpful for mild to clinical depression. Men who burned 2,500 calories a day in aerobic activity were 28% less likely to develop clinical depression. Exercise increases the neurotransmitters (norepinephrine, dopamine & serotonin) associated with mood, cognition, behavior and personality. Physical Exercise and the Brain

53 Strength Training Recent studies have shown that even 90- to 100-year-old nursing home residents can benefit from a regular program of strength building exercises.

54 Strength Training Benefits Better balance Faster responses. Reduced risk of osteoporosis. Improved quality of life and mental alertness.

55 Strength Training Groups increased their muscle strength -- ranging from 37% to 42% during the 24-week program. Experienced an increase in lean body mass compared without an increase in fat mass.

56 Resistance exercise has been proven to be very beneficial to elderly people. Lifting weights increases strength, decreases body fat, and slows the rate of bone mineral loss, which can delay or prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Fiatarone et al. showed that even weight training among frail elderly people who averaged 95 years old could improve mobility, walking speed and quality of life. Strength Training

57 Participation in resistance exercise twice, or even once, each week achieves substantial strength gains similar to those accomplished in a standard 3-day per week program, and these gains are accompanied by improved neuromuscular performance. Strength Training

58 Ten sedentary 70-year-old men were recruited to take part in a 12-week strength- training program. After training three times per week, the men had increased their muscle size and strength by 50 percent. Strength Training

59 WALKING BOOSTS BRAINPOWER Sedentary adults, 60-75 years of age started walking briskly three times a week, gradually increasing the length from 15 to 45 minutes. After six months, their mental function improved by 15%. [Bottom Line Health 14:7 2000] http://www2.inhis.com/Womens/wellness/letter52.asp

60 Vigorous Walking A new study suggests that taking an invigorating walk gives older people's brains a good workout, boosting memory and sharpening judgment.

61 Exercises that involve complex movements cause more connections to grow between neurons. A Users Guide to the Brain – John Ratey M.D. Physical Exercise and the Brain

62 Exercises that involve complex movements cause more connections to grow between neurons. Exercise that focuses on balance and coordination strengthen neural networks in the cerebellum. Physical Exercise and the Brain

63 Exercises that involve complex movements cause more connections to grow between neurons. Exercise that focuses on balance and coordination strengthen neural networks in the cerebellum. They also affect the basal ganglia and corpus callosum, sharpening memory and increasing capacity to master new information. Physical Exercise and the Brain

64 Exercises that involve complex movements cause more connections to grow between neurons. Exercise that focuses on balance and coordination strengthen neural networks in the cerebellum. They also affect the basal ganglia and corpus callosum, sharpening memory and increasing capacity to master new information. Part of the reason for the generalized slowing down effect as we age is that the body becomes less efficient at delivering nutrients to the brain. Exercise gets more nutrients to the brain. Physical Exercise and the Brain

65 Exercises that involve complex movements cause more connections to grow between neurons. Exercise that focuses on balance and coordination strengthen neural networks in the cerebellum. They also affect the basal ganglia and corpus callosum, sharpening memory and increasing capacity to master new information. Part of the reason for the generalized slowing down effect as we age is that the body becomes less efficient at delivering nutrients to the brain. Exercise gets more nutrients to the brain. Older men who stay in shape do better on mental tests.

66 Movement and the Brain Motor function is crucial to all the other brain functions, including memory, emotion, language, and learning.

67 Movement and the Brain Motor function is crucial to all the other brain functions, including memory, emotion, language, and learning. The many connections between motor and cognitive functions suggests that any sort of physical activity can improve our motor function and therefore our cognition.

68 Movement and the Brain Motor function is crucial to all the other brain functions, including memory, emotion, language, and learning. The many connections between motor and cognitive functions suggests that any sort of physical activity can improve our motor function and therefore our cognition. The reason is that the primary motor cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum, which coordinate physical movement, also coordinate the movement of thought.

69 Movement and the Brain Motor function is crucial to all the other brain functions, including memory, emotion, language, and learning. The many connections between motor and cognitive functions suggests that any sort of physical activity can improve our motor function and therefore our cognition. The reason is that the primary motor cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum, which coordinate physical movement, also coordinate the movement of thought. Fundamental motions like walking and running trigger the most deeply ingrained neural firing patterns in these brain regions.

70 Movement and the Brain Motor function is crucial to all the other brain functions, including memory, emotion, language, and learning. The many connections between motor and cognitive functions suggests that any sort of physical activity can improve our motor function and therefore our cognition. The reason is that the primary motor cortex, basal ganglia, and cerebellum, which coordinate physical movement, also coordinate the movement of thought. Fundamental motions like walking and running trigger the most deeply ingrained neural firing patterns in these brain regions. To improve our brains, we need to move our bodies.

71 Brain-Based Learning Application Movement and Oxygen Movement and Oxygen We all breathe the same air, but we all dont have the same oxygen-carrying capacity to our brains. Physical activity increases the flow of oxygen to the brain, and non-repetitive movements such as those often found in dance, gymnastics, or martial arts have surprising positive effects on academic performance, especially on spelling ability and reading comprehension. http://thunder1.cudenver.edu//OTE/nn/vol9/9_1.htm

72 Music When stroke or dementia compromise faculties as basic as language and movement, life can spiral downward into lonely isolation. www.dana.org/books/press/cerebrum/winter02/index.cfm

73 When stroke or dementia compromise faculties as basic as language and movement, life can spiral downward into lonely isolation. Music is proving to be an exceedingly complex stimulus that may bypass damaged higher brain centers to stir underlying sources of motor control, memory, and emotion. Music

74 Just as rhythm can affect motor function and the initiation of movement,

75 Music Just as rhythm can affect motor function and the initiation of movement, a familiar tune or melody can reawaken in persons with dementia, or with traumatic brain injury, seemingly lost memories and feelings.

76 Music Imagine how the world must seem to someone with no memory link from past to present.

77 Music Imagine how the world must seem to someone with no memory link from past to present. But sometimes music can provide a bridge.

78 Music Imagine how the world must seem to someone with no memory link from past to present. But sometimes music can provide a bridge. Just as there is no such thing as impersonal perception and impersonal experience, there is no impersonal memory.

79 Music Imagine how the world must seem to someone with no memory link from past to present. But sometimes music can provide a bridge. Just as there is no such thing as impersonal perception and impersonal experience, there is no impersonal memory. Thus, familiar songs may serve as cues to recall memories.

80 Meditation and the Brain The body has a physical reaction to this altered state of consciousness.

81 Meditation and the Brain The body has a physical reaction to this altered state of consciousness. Sympathetic nervous system activity decreases

82 Meditation and the Brain The body has a physical reaction to this altered state of consciousness. Sympathetic nervous system activity decreases Metabolism slows down

83 Meditation and the Brain The body has a physical reaction to this altered state of consciousness. Sympathetic nervous system activity decreases Metabolism slows down Heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rates fall

84 Meditation and the Brain The body has a physical reaction to this altered state of consciousness. Sympathetic nervous system activity decreases Metabolism slows down Heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rates fall Electrical skin conductance decreases

85 Meditation and the Brain The body has a physical reaction to this altered state of consciousness. Sympathetic nervous system activity decreases Metabolism slows down Heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rates fall Electrical skin conductance decreases Blood flow decreases

86 Meditation and the Brain The body has a physical reaction to this altered state of consciousness. Sympathetic nervous system activity decreases Metabolism slows down Heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rates fall Electrical skin conductance decreases Blood flow decreases Relieve chronic pain and migraines

87 Meditation and the Brain The body has a physical reaction to this altered state of consciousness. Sympathetic nervous system activity decreases Metabolism slows down Heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rates fall Electrical skin conductance decreases Blood flow decreases Relieve chronic pain and migraines Soothe depression and anxiety

88 Meditation and the Brain The body has a physical reaction to this altered state of consciousness. Sympathetic nervous system activity decreases Metabolism slows down Heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rates fall Electrical skin conductance decreases Blood flow decreases Relieve chronic pain and migraines Soothe depression and anxiety Brains own electrical activity: large numbers of neurons fire in a pleasing synchrony.

89 Meditation and the Brain – Relaxation Response Reduced stress and anxiety. Improved Mental Abilities: Increased intelligence, increased creativity, improved learning ability, improved memory, improved reaction time, higher levels of moral reasoning, improved academic achievement, greater orderliness of brain functioning, increased self-actualization. Improved Health: There are many activities that can produce the Relaxation Response. http://tm.org/charts/chart_08.html

90 Brain-Based Learning Application Dehydration Dehydration The brain is more than 80% water. In 1995, neurophysiologist C. Hannaford noted that poor learning performance can often be traced simply to mild dehydration. http://thunder1.cudenver.edu//OTE/nn/vol9/9_1.htm

91 Learning- Ability to Adjust Perception What Happens During New Experiences? The brain needs to predict, in order to fill in the gaps between fragments of images we see, is also the very reason we are prone to visual illusions. A Users Guide to the Brain – John Ratey M.D.

92 Brain-Based Learning Application Emotional Intelligence Emotional Intelligence Gordon Dryden and Dr. Jeannette Vos, in the world's biggest-selling non-fiction book for 1999, The Learning Revolution The emotional center of the human brain is located in the limbic system.. Dryden and Vos say the emotional center of the brain is closely linked with our long-term memory storage systems. That's why we all remember easiest any information with a high emotional content...

93 Brain-Based Learning Application Emotions -Patterning Emotions -Patterning Emotions Are Critical To Patterning. We do not simply learn things. What we learn is influenced and organized by emotions and mind sets based on expectancy, personal biases and prejudices, degree of self-esteem, and the need for social interaction. Emotions and thoughts literally shape each other and cannot be separated. www.unocoe.unomaha.edu/brainbased.htm

94 Brain-Based Learning Application Emotions –Interest, Sense of Importance Emotions –Interest, Sense of Importance Bob Leamnson (1999, Thinking About Teaching and Learning: Stylus Pub., 169 p.) notes the importance of engaged emotions to learning. When brains are stimulated by interest and sense of importance, learning is easier to achieve. http://thunder1.cudenver.edu//OTE/nn/vol9/9_2.html

95 Brain-Based Learning Application Stress Stress Environmental factors are the key ingredients of optimal learning. For example, studies point to the effects of stress on learning. When we feel stressed, our adrenal glands release a peptide called cortisol. Our body responds with cortisol whether it faces physical, environmental, academic, or emotional danger. This triggers a string of physical reactions including depression of the immune system, tensing of the large muscles, blood- clotting, and increasing blood pressure. www.kcet.org/education/brainatwork/proceedings_review.htm

96 SNOWDENS CONCLUSIONS Any intellectually challenging activity stimulates dendritic growth, which adds to the neural connections in the brain.

97 Any intellectually challenging activity stimulates dendritic growth, which adds to the neural connections in the brain. SNOWDENS CONCLUSIONS Any intellectually challenging activity stimulates dendritic growth, which adds to the neural connections in the brain. The more mentally challenged sisters has more neural connections, which allows them to reroute messages to the brain.

98 Any intellectually challenging activity stimulates dendritic growth, which adds to the neural connections in the brain. The more mentally challenged sisters had more neural connections, which allows them to reroute messages to the brain. Counteracting the debilitating effects on the brain of dementia and Alzheimers. SNOWDENS CONCLUSIONS

99 Resisting Alzheimers Disease Nun Example Snowden found: nuns lived longer and resisted Alzheimer's disease if: Earned college degrees Taught school Constantly challenged minds in to old age

100 May play a role in preventing brain disease. Intellectual Stimulation - Nun Example

101 May play a role in preventing brain disease. This provides a bigger backup system if some pathways fail. Intellectual Stimulation - Nun Example

102 May play a role in preventing brain disease. This provides a bigger backup system if some pathways fail. Snowden maintains that the axons and dendrites that usually shrink with age branch out and make new connections if there is enough intellectual stimulation. Intellectual Stimulation - Nun Example

103 David Snowdon – School Sisters of Notre Dame, Mankota Hill, Minn. Time, The Nun Study, May 14, 2001 Learning Challenge Our Brain – Nun Example

104 Learning Challenge Our Brain – Nun Example David Snowdon – School Sisters of Notre Dame, Mankota Hill, Minn. Scientist had shown that the physical destruction wrought by Alzheimers didnt inevitably lead to mental deterioration.

105 Learning Challenge Our Brain – Nun Example David Snowdon – School Sisters of Notre Dame, Mankota Hill, Minn. Scientist had shown that the physical destruction wrought by Alzheimers didnt inevitably lead to mental deterioration. Theory: some folks might have an extra reserve of mental capacity that kept them functioning despite loss of brain tissue. Sisters with less education had smaller brains at death.

106 Study: Analyze the autobiographies for evidence of extra brain capacity. Time, The Nun Study, May 14, 2001 Learning Challenge Our Brain – Nun Example

107 Learning Challenge Our Brain – Nun Example Study: Analyze the autobiographies for evidence of extra brain capacity. Language usage- idea density indicator of education level, vocabulary and general knowledge.

108 Learning Challenge Our Brain – Nun Example Study: Analyze the autobiographies for evidence of extra brain capacity. Language usage- idea density indicator of education level, vocabulary and general knowledge. GGrammatical complexity was an indicator of how well memory is functioning.

109 Learning Challenge Our Brain – Nun Example Study: Analyze the autobiographies for evidence of extra brain capacity. Language usage- idea density indicator of education level, vocabulary and general knowledge. Grammatical complexity was an indicator of how well memory is functioning. Sisters who showed signs of Alzheimers had consistently authored essays low in both idea density and grammatical complexity 60 years earlier.

110 Learning Challenge Our Brain – Nun Example Snowdon can predict with 85% to 90% accuracy from writings 60 years earlier. Idea density is a powerful predictor of Alzheimers disease.

111 Snowdon can predict with 85% to 90% accuracy from writings 60 years earlier. Snowdon maintains that the axions and dendrites that usually shrink with age branch out and make new connections if there is enough intellectual stimulation, providing a bigger backup system if pathways fail. Learning Challenge Our Brain – Nun Example

112 Sister Bernadette, who had shown no outward signs of Alzheimers and whose youthful autobiography was rich with ideas and grammatical complexity, turned out at death to be riddled with the plaques and tangles of Alzheimers Learning Challenge Our Brain – Nun Example

113 The Principle is Use It or Lose It The human brains amazing plasticity enables it to continually rewire and learning- not just through academic study, but through experience, thought, action, and emotion. A Users Guide to the Brain – John Ratey M.D.

114 The Principle is Use It or Lose It The human brains amazing plasticity enables it to continually rewire and learn- not just through academic study, but through experience, thought, action, and emotion. We can strengthen our neural pathways with brain exercise.

115 Use It or Lose It Brain is a Dynamic Ecosysystem The various neurons and networks are engaged in fierce competition for incoming stimuli.

116 Use It or Lose It Brain is a Dynamic Ecosysystem The various neurons and networks are engaged in fierce competition for incoming stimuli. Networks that succeed in processing new experiences or behaviors end up as strong, permanent members of the neuronal neighborhood.

117 Use It or Lose It Brain is a Dynamic Ecosysystem The various neurons and networks are engaged in fierce competition for incoming stimuli. Networks that succeed in processing new experiences or behaviors end up as strong, permanent members of the neuronal neighborhood. While unused networks, cut off from the ebb and flow of information, wither away and die.


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