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Neuroplasticity In Action

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change under the influence of experience and activities. Neuroplasticity used to be thought of as a limited phenomenon, mostly restricted to the early years of life. More recently it has been demonstrated that neuroplasticity continues throughout life, even in advanced age. […]

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Thinking Smart In The 5 Stages Of Life

From the early childhood years on through old age, scientists have learned that the brain adapts itself to the challenges facing it and discards connections which are not reinforced through mental activity. Learning how to effectively stimulate brain growth — which continues all through adulthood — can enable you […]

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Unlocking the Wisdom of the Brain

We all know that age brings about the decline of certain brain functions such as memory recall and reaction time. What might be less known is that studies show that people become more satisfied with themselves and their lives as they get older. Eurobarometer and Gallup conducted a study […]

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How Hormones Help Your Body

The body produces the chemicals we call hormones to control all kinds of body functions. Glands, the organs that secrete hormones, make up the endocrine system, which helps to regulate functions such as growth, metabolism, and reproduction. Imagine hormones as the Pony Express of the body, delivering important chemical messages and instructions. The brain produces seven […]

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Three Quandaries of Getting Really Old

In the college classes I teach, students are concerned about what happens in what they call “old age.” Of course the best answer is, “It surely beats the alternative.” But often, that’s not enough. Some students actually express the desire to die relatively young — as young as 50! (Which will seem old to them — until they get close to it.) But perhaps that’s because […]

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Charles Darwin on the Expression of Human Emotions

As Alzheimer’s disease (AD) progresses into its middle stage and later, word-finding skills diminish and meaningful verbal communication becomes increasingly impaired or even nonexistent. The thoughts, desires and emotions of a person with AD still remain, but how can a caregiver discern what they might be? The answer may, in part, be located in the research and writings of Charles Darwin […]

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Why Sleep is So Important for Your Brain

Henry David Thoreau is quoted as saying, “Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” I would revise this statement by replacing “happiness” with “sleep” […]

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Unlocking The Secrets Of Alzheimer’s

Like many in his field, Alzheimer’s expert Frank LaFerla harbored significant doubts. To LaFerla, a professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California, Irvine, stem cells just didn’t see­m like good candidates to treat Alzheimer’s, the cruel disease that robs people of their memory and ultimately leads to death. Like many others, LaFerla thought that stem cells […]

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Memory Keepers: What You Can Do for Your Brain

If the inability to recall where you put your keys, parked your car, or remember the name of someone you just met has you convinced you’re losing your mind, you’re not alone — or off the mark. As you get older, your brain loses mass as cells die out, and memory goes with them. “It’s a very gradual process, but studies have found changes in the brains of people in their early 30s,” says neuroscientist Gary Small […]

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The Myths of Maturity

For sailors, the phrase roaring forties refers to the area below 40 degrees south latitude, where the ocean begins to become unrelentingly dangerous to small vessels because of huge waves and high winds. But for every man and woman, the term can also mean a time after age 40, when the brain faces increasing danger of decline. New research has shown that in the brains of people in their 40s […]

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This Is Your Brain on Stress

Hey there. It’s me, your brain. Thanks for taking me on this walk in the woods, it’s just what I needed. Ah, nature. So lovely. So relaxing. Wait, wow, what was that noise? Over there, coming from those bushes right next to the path? That huge thing covered in black fur, rearing up on its hind legs and baring its teeth? A bear, you say? Okay. No problem. […]

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Call in the (Cognitive) Reserves!

How many paths does your brain have? Our thoughts run across a massive, diverse network of synaptic pathways, with trillions of synapses that form a staggering number of possible connections. Every human brain has more potential synaptic combinations than there are atoms in the universe […]