Sunday, May 2, 2010

Middle Age Brain Experience Trumps Younger Brains

Tags: Experience, Middle-aged Brains, health, Exercise, Inductive Reasoning and Problem Solving Better, Judgement, 65 Middle-Age

Use it or lose it. Our health influences both our body and our brain.

One 12 oz can of coke gives us 20 grams of Fructose ( even worse, fruit juice.) If drunk rapidly as is usually the case, the damage to our body and brain goes up exponentially. Anything above that routinely damages our body. Before going on a low fructose diet which includes carbon hydrates, protein, and fat at more modest amounts, you need two weeks of zero fructose to get rid of the excess fructose enzymes. Excess fructose produces triglycerides, bad LDL, uric acid which causes inflammation (heart attacks, strokes, and cancer spread) of our arteries and increases our blood pressure independent of salt. Since I cut down on fructose, I can eat more salty foods without boosting my blood pressure and have kept my weight down and don't get hungry between meals.

Fructose also cross-links your liver and DNA and advances aging effects.

The most obvious effect is to make Americans fat and obese and has led to an epidemic in Diabetes 2 and Kidney failures, amputations, and death. The Sugar Fix: The High-Fructose Fallout that is Making you Fat and Sick by Richard J. Johnson, MD with Timothy Gower.

Jim Kawakami, May 2, 2010,

NY Times Tara Parker-Pope April 30, 2010 ... Do teenage brains and middle-aged brains have much in common?


The thing the middle-aged brain shares with the teenage brain is that it’s still developing. It’s not some static blob that is going inextricably downhill. Scientists found that when they watched the brains of teenagers, the brains were expanding and growing and cutting back and shaping themselves, even when the kids are 25 years old. I think for many years scientists just left it at that. They thought that from 25 on, we just get “stupider.” But that’s not true. They’ve found that during this period, the new modern middle age, we’re better at all sorts of things than we were at 20.


So what kinds of things does a middle-aged brain do better than a younger brain?

Inductive reasoning and problem solving — the logical use of your brain and actually getting to solutions. We get the gist of an argument better. We’re better at sizing up a situation and reaching a creative solution. They found social expertise peaks in middle age. That’s basically sorting out the world: are you a good guy or a bad guy? Harvard has studied how people make financial judgments. It peaks, and we get the best at it in middle age. ...
So what’s happening in middle age that leads to these improvements?

What we have by middle age is all sorts of connections and pathways that have been built up in our brain that help us. They know from studies that humans and animals do better if they have a little information about a situation before they encounter it. By middle age we’ve seen a lot. We’ve been there, done that. Our brains are primed to navigate the world better because they’ve been navigating the world better for longer.

There also are some other physical changes that they can see. We used to think we lost 30 percent of our brain cells as we age. But that’s not true. We keep them. That’s probably the most encouraging finding about the physical nature of our brain cells.


Is there anything you can do to keep your brain healthy and improve the deficits, like memory problems?


There’s a lot of hype in this field in terms of brain improvement. I did set out to find out what actually works and what we know. What we do with our bodies has a huge impact on our brains. Our brains are more like our hearts in that everything you do for your heart is thought to be equally as good or better for your brain. Exercise is the best studied thing you can do to your brain. It increases brain volume, produces new baby brain cells in grownup brains. Even when our muscles contract, it produces growth chemicals. Using your body can help your brain. ...

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