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Posts tagged brain

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Some Brain Facts

1. The brain feels similar to tofu, and contains enough fluid to fill a 1.5-2 litre soda bottle.
2. Archaeological evidence suggests that human brains may have shrunk over time. However, there is nothing to show that humans are less intelligent today compared to previous times.
3. The brain alone consumes about 20% of the oxygen in our blood, and 25% of the glucose. Thus it is a major energy consumer.
4. The human brain has more pronounced wrinkles than the brains of other species. This is linked to more sophisticated neural pathways and higher intellectual functioning.
5. Neurons only make up 10% of our brain cells. The rest is glue holding the neurons together. These other cells also mop up excess neurotransmitters, provide immune protection, and regulate synapse growth and functioning.
6. The brain doesn’t fully mature until we’re in our late teens. Multitasking, empathy and good decision-making are some of the last skills to develop.
7. The brain never stops changing. It can adapt to damaged nerves, grow new neurons, and form new neural connections.
8. Male and female hormones lead to differences in male and female brain development. For example, brain imaging has revealed general differences in the way both sexes experience, make social decisions and manage stress. However, nurture and environment play an important role as well.

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Avoid some of the Main Brain Damaging Habits

1. No Breakfast – People who don’t eat breakfast have lower blood sugar levels. This can lead to an insufficient supply of nutrients to the brain (and to underperformance in terms of thinking, processing , retrieval and memory skills).
2. Overreacting – This can flood the brain with chemical which interferes with clear thinking, logical analysis and memory.
3. Smoking – This can cause a shrinkage in the brain, and possibly lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
4. High Sugar Consumption – Consuming too much sugar interferes with the absorption of proteins and nutrients. These are essential for healthy brain development.
5. Air Pollution – The brain is the largest oxygen consumer in our body. Inhaling polluted air decreases the supply of oxygen to the brain. Again, this can reduce and interfere with the brain’s healthy functioning.
6. Sleep Deprivation – Sleep allows our brain to rest and rejuvenate itself. Long term sleep deprivation accelerates the death of brain cells. It interferes with putting down new memory traces, effective problem solving and memory retention.
7. Exercising your Brain in Times of Illness – Working or studying during times of sickness can lead to a ineffective thinking, poor processing, and to poor memory and retention.
8. Lack of Stimulation – Thinking is the best way to train our brain. Lack of stimulation can prevent new neural pathways from forming. It can also prevent us from reaching our potential in terms of creative thinking and analytical thinking.

Source: The World Health Organisation

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How to Get the Most out of your Brain

1. Make sure you get plenty of exercise: For example, “Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., found that adult mice who ran on an exercise wheel whenever they felt like it gained twice as many new cells in the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in learning and memory, than mice who sat around all day discussing Lord of the Rings in Internet chat rooms.[1]”

2. Expose yourself to novel experiences: This forms new connections in the brain, and gets underused areas working again. The benefit to you is an active, alert brain.

3. Be curious and ask “why?”: The brain is designed to question and to think. Thus, you build new neural pathways when you search for new solutions.

4. Laugh more: This releases endorphins – the body’s feel good hormones – and shakes up our thinking, and disrupts habitual patterns.

5. Eat more fish: Fish contains essential nutrients that nourish the brain. This is especially important for the young children, and the elderly (as it builds new connections, and staves off dementia.

6. Reduce your consumption of saturated fats: “When researchers at the University of Toronto put rats on a 40-percent-fat diet, the rats lost ground in several areas of mental function, including memory, spatial awareness and rule learning. The problems became worse with a diet high in saturated fats … Also, fat can reduce the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your brain, and it may also slow down the metabolism of glucose, the form of sugar the brain utilizes as food.[2]”     

7. Get plenty of sleep: Sleeping on problems, and on new information, can improve our understanding and assist with retention.

8. Do important tasks when your brain is most awake: Every 90 minutes, we cycle through period of peak and low consciousness. To master key tasks, do them when you’re most alert, and not when you’re drowsy, or about to fall asleep.

9. Develop concentration: We need to learn to focus and to fully concentrate to develop our thinking and increase our brain’s connections. But being constantly distracted interrupts this crucial process.

10. Make time to play: Play encourages us to be more creative in our thinking, to develop better strategies, and think outside the box.


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Do you have a wandering mind?

1. Research shows that our mind wanders about 30% of the time. It occurs regardless of what we are doing – sitting in a lecture, driving the car, cooking dinner, or talking to a friend.

2. Everybody’s mind wanders regularly. It takes concentrated effort to stay on task.  

3. Having a wandering mind is different from daydreaming. Day dreaming involves having stray thoughts, random fantasies, or briefly indulges in wishes and “what if” scenarios. In contrast, a wandering mind is where we allow our mind to think about something specific, which is different from the task in front of us right now.

3. A wandering mind can actually be a good thing. It allows part of our brain to focus on one thing while freeing other parts to also think through other goals, responsibilities and tasks.

4. However, a wandering mind can be a bad thing, too. It can cause us to miss important facts and details, and to zone out when something really needs our full, and undivided, attention.

5. Research conducted by the UC, Santa Barbara shows that people whose minds tend to wander more are often more creative and better problem solvers.

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Some Brain Facts

1. The brain feels similar to tofu, and contains enough fluid to fill a 1.5-2 litre soda bottle.

2. Archaeological evidence suggests that human brains may have shrunk over time. However, there is nothing to show that humans are less intelligent today compared to previous times.

3. The brain alone consumes about 20% of the oxygen in our blood, and 25% of the glucose. Thus it is a major energy consumer.

4. The human brain has more pronounced wrinkles than the brains of other species. This is linked to more sophisticated neural pathways and higher intellectual functioning.

5. Neurons only make up 10% of our brain cells. The rest is glue holding the neurons together. These other cells also mop up excess neurotransmitters, provide immune protection, and regulate synapse growth and functioning.

6. The brain doesn’t fully mature until we’re in our late teens. Multitasking, empathy and good decision-making are some of the last skills to develop.  

7. The brain never stops changing. It can adapt to damaged nerves, grow new neurons, and form new neural connections.

8. Male and female hormones lead to differences in male and female brain development. For example, brain imaging has revealed general differences in the way both sexes experience, make social decisions and manage stress. However, nurture and environment play an important role as well.

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Random Facts on the Body and Mind

1. We learn, and retain new information, better after zoning out, and letting our minds wander briefly.

2. Engaging in physical exercise helps to strengthen our will power. It also lifts our spirits and brightens our mood.

3. Eating outside intensifies our senses so we’re more alert to the smell and taste of food.

4. Washing your hands while you’re thinking through decisions helps you think more clearly, and be more focused.

5. Helping and volunteering brightens our mood, and increases our energy and brain functioning.

6. Having conversations that are meaningful helps us to feel more connected and more fulfilled.

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Foods that Boost your Brain Power

1. Wholegrains – Like brown cereals, wheatbran, granary bread and wholemeal pasta slowly release glucose into the bloodstream. These help to keep you mentally alert throughout the day.

2. Foods that are rich in essential fatty acids reduce your risk of developing memory loss. They are found in linseed (flaxseed) oil, soya bean oil, pumpkin seeds, walnut oil, soya beans, and oily fish (such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards and kippers.)

3. Blueberries – Are believed to improve or delay short term memory loss.

4. Blackcurrants are a rich source of vitamin C – which is thought to increase cognitive agility.

5. Tomatoes – Are rich in the antioxidant lycopene. This may protect against free radical damage to cells (which is associated with the development of dementia.)

6. Vitamin B6, B5 and folic acid are found in brewer’s yeast, egg yolks, meat, berries, and green leafy vegetables. They help protect against cognitive impairment.

7. Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc – which is crucial for improving memory and thinking skills. 

8. Nuts, leafy green vegetables, asparagus, olives, seeds, eggs, brown rice and wholegrains are all good sources of vitamin E. This helps to fight against cognitive decline.

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How to get the most out of your brain

1. Make sure you get plenty of exercise: For example, “Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., found that adult mice who ran on an exercise wheel whenever they felt like it gained twice as many new cells in the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in learning and memory, than mice who sat around all day discussing Lord of the Rings in Internet chat rooms.[1]

2. Expose yourself to novel experiences: This forms new connections in the brain, and gets underused areas working again. The benefit to you is an active, alert brain.

3. Be curious and ask “why?”: The brain is designed to question and to think. Thus, you build new neural pathways when you search for new solutions.

4. Laugh more: This releases endorphins – the body’s feel good hormones – and shakes up our thinking, and disrupts habitual patterns.

5. Eat more fish: Fish contains essential nutrients that nourish the brain. This is especially important for the young children, and the elderly (as it builds new connections, and staves off dementia.

6. Reduce your consumption of saturated fats: “When researchers at the University of Toronto put rats on a 40-percent-fat diet, the rats lost ground in several areas of mental function, including memory, spatial awareness and rule learning. The problems became worse with a diet high in saturated fats … Also, fat can reduce the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your brain, and it may also slow down the metabolism of glucose, the form of sugar the brain utilizes as food.[2]    

7. Get plenty of sleep: Sleeping on problems, and on new information, can improve our understanding and assist with retention.

8. Do important tasks when your brain is most awake: Every 90 minutes, we cycle through period of peak and low consciousness. To master key tasks, do them when you’re most alert, and not when you’re drowsy, or about to fall asleep.

9. Develop concentration: We need to learn to focus and to fully concentrate to develop our thinking and increase our brain’s connections. But being constantly distracted interrupts this crucial process.

10. Make time to play: Play encourages us to be more creative in our thinking, to develop better strategies, and think outside the box.


Filed under psychology therapy counselling brain brain facts Neuroscience neuropsychology mental health education self improvement self help online counselling college

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The Strange Workings of the Brain

1. Research shows that relying more on google to provide us with facts and information weakens our memory. To retain information we need to process and play with ideas.

2. We differ in how much we crave junk food. Brain studies show that some people’s brains light up when they are shown the names of different junk foods. However, that is not the case for all of us.

3. Listening to music that triggers happy childhood memories results in a positive change in mood.

4. Recent MRI studies indicate that we tend to be more persuaded by adverts, and yield to the temptation to buy expensive products, when we are shopping with attractive potential mates. (That is we’re influenced by the desire to impress.)

5. Sometimes it best to trust your gut reaction and go with the leadings of your unconscious mind.  

6. Studies on brain games indicate that they don’t significantly improve your memory. Instead, research from Stanford University reveals that if you want to learn and remember better, then you should listen to music.

7. Men have larger brains than women and are more likely to suffer from ADHD or have a language disability. However, women are more likely to suffer from mood disorders.   

8. Unfortunately, our memory starts to decline from age 27 onwards!

9. Drinking in moderation is good for your brain, and may help to protect against strokes.

10. Current research appears to indicate that using cell phones may harm the brain and can interrupts normal sleep patterns.

For more information on these studies see: http://www.rd.com/slideshows/13-things-your-brain-wont-tell-you/?trkid=channel  

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Some Facts on Dreams and Dreaming

1. Most dreams are based on visual images (Except in people who were either born blind, or who lost their sight at an early age). Occasionally, dreams will include sound and touch.

2. The normal rules of logic do not apply in dreams. For example, the dream may be taking place in one location – then, abruptly, the dreamer is translocated to a completely different place.

3. Most dreams occur in a house – but this is usually not your own home. The most frequently reported room is the living room. People rarely dream about their work place or school.

4. The most frequent scenario is the dreamer plus two other people.

5. Famous people seldom appear in our dreams. The vast majority of people dream about people who are significant to them, especially if there is an ongoing conflict.

6. Mundane activities (such as brushing your teeth) rarely appear in dreams.

7. Dreams tend not to be happy events, and the three most common reported emotions are anger, sadness and fear.

8. Some themes are so common that they are reported the world over. These universal themes include the loss of a tooth, falling or flying, exhibition, arriving late for exams or other important events, and being chased or attacked.

9. Cross-cultural research indicates that our dreams reflect normal life events in our own country and culture.

10. There appear to be some differences in the content of dreams between the two sexes. Specifically, women are more likely to dream about their children, family or household activities; men are more likely to dream about strangers, violence, sexual activity, achievement, and outdoor events.

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More Brain Facts

1. Nerve impulses in the brain can travel at a speed of 170 miles per hour. Also information travels at different speeds in different types of neuron.

2, The brain generates approximately the same amount of energy as a 10watt light bulb (both when you’re awake and asleep).

3. The human brain is able to store more information than The National Archives of Britain (which contains over 900 years of history).

4. The brain makes up around 2% of body mass but uses 20% of the oxygen in the bloodstream.

5. The brain works harder during the night than during the day.

6. It isn’t possible to tickle yourself as the cerebellum warns other parts of the brain that you are about to tickle yourself. As a result, the brain ignores the sensation.

7. Those who like to ride on roller coasters have a greater risk of developing a blood clot in the brain.

8. Reading aloud to young children stimulates brain development.

9. If the brain releases too much dopamine it can result in the person being unable to experience pleasure.

10. Thinking of the person you’re passionately in love with, causes lights to go on all over the brain.

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Facts on a Child’s Developing Brain

1.   During early pregnancy, neurons develop at a rate of 250,000 neurons a minute.

2.   The first sense to develop in utero is the sense of touch.

3.   60% of a baby’s energy goes into brain development.

4.   Holding and cuddling an infant causes their brain to release important hormones which stimulates their growth.

5.   Providing a young child with a rich and stimulating environment can significantly increase IQ.

6.   Spending “playtime” with a child (talking, singing, reading and playing with them) is the best way to stimulate brain development.

7.   Learning a musical instrument boosts brain development in children.

8.   Reading aloud and talking to young children promotes their brain development.

9.   Basic emotions are present at birth (joy, happiness, shyness, fear). However, the way these develop depends on the type of nurturing the child receives.

10.  Being raised by sensitive caregivers enables a child to handle stress better – and this continues into their adult life.

11.  The cerebral cortex grows thicker the more we use it (in both childhood and adulthood).

12.  Children who are bilingual before the age of five have denser grey matter in their brain.

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Random Facts on the Brain

1. The brain makes up around 3% our weight but consumes around 20% percent of the body’s energy.

2. Most of that energy is used by neurons communicating with each other (These neurons are responsible for thinking, problem solving and other types of higher brain functioning).

4. The remainder of the energy is used for unconscious activities like breathing … or for regular activities like driving a car.

5. It’s a myth that we use only 10% of our brain. Research shows that we use all the areas of our brain in a 24 hour time period.

6. Our brain is still very active when we’re sleeping. For example, the frontal cortex (which controls things like higher level thinking) and the somatosensory areas (which enables us to sense our surroundings) are still highly active.

7. Even where we suffer a brain injury, we will often still lead a fairly normal life as the brain has ways of compensating for injury.

For more information see: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=people-only-use-10-percent-of-brain

 

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Some Facts on Memory

1. Memory is unreliable and only partially accurate.

2. Instead of storing memories like reels of film, we reconstruct them every time they come to mind. Thus details often change over time, and we falsely remember things that never occurred.

3. Later experiences affect old memories. Thus, if our parents are mean during our teenage years, we may remember them as always having been cold and unloving (even although may not actually be true).

4. We fill in any gaps with made up memories. For example, if we can’t remember who was at a team event we remember it was all the usual crowd – even though some of them may not have been there.

5. Language can affect what we remember. For example, this is often used during criminal trials where lawyers present witnesses with leading questions (and thus trick them into misremembering the “facts”).

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Some Brain Facts

1. The brain feels similar to tofu, and contains enough fluid to fill a 1.5-2 litre soda bottle.

2. Archaeological evidence suggests that human brains may have shrunk over time. However, there is nothing to show that humans are less intelligent today compared to previous times.

3. The brain alone consumes about 20% of the oxygen in our blood, and 25% of the glucose. Thus it is a major energy consumer.

4. The human brain has more pronounced wrinkles than the brains of other species. This is linked to more sophisticated neural pathways and higher intellectual functioning.

5. Neurons only make up 10% of our brain cells. The rest is glue holding the neurons together. These other cells also mop up excess neurotransmitters, provide immune protection, and regulate synapse growth and functioning.

6. The brain doesn’t fully mature until we’re in our late teens. Multitasking, empathy and good decision-making are some of the last skills to develop.  

7. The brain never stops changing. It can adapt to damaged nerves, grow new neurons, and form new neural connections.

8. Male and female hormones lead to differences in male and female brain development. For example, brain imaging has revealed general differences in the way both sexes experience, make social decisions and manage stress. However, nurture and environment play an important role as well.

Filed under counselling psychology therapy brain education Neuroscience neuropsychology self improvement self help online counselling college