8 Practical Ways to Keep Your Mind Sharp

Dr. Michael Merzenich conducted the seminal experiments that led to the discovery of lifelong plasticity — that the brain changes chemically, physically, and functionally based on sensory and other inputs at any age. Last year, Dr. Merzenich was made a Kavli Laureate, the highest honor in neuroscience. He has been elected to both the US National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. There’s a lot you can do to engage the brain’s machinery in ways that help keep it healthy as an organ. The brain’s plasticity — its ability to change not just functionally, but physically and chemically, too — is most heavily engaged by activities that are intensive, repetitive and progressively challenging. Those that emphasize refining the speed and accuracy of the brain’s sensory systems are most apt to help with other activities in daily life. Look for activities that are attentionally demanding and inherently rewarding, and that continuously involve new elements to master. Those types of activities engage brain chemistry that’s beneficial for learning, remembering and mood — by stimulating the production of acetylcholine (when paying attention), norepinephrine (when encountering something new), and dopamine (when feeling rewarded). Here are some of my favorite brain healthy activities and why each makes my list. Do A Jigsaw Puzzle Be sure to choose one that will be challenging to you — no...
Source: On the Brain by Dr. Michael Merzenich, Ph.D. - Category: Neuroscience Authors: Tags: Aging and the Brain Brain Fitness Brain Plasticity BrainHQ Source Type: blogs

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