Monday, September 26, 2011

Cognitive Skills And Their Relation To Brain Fitness

Cognitive skills are a set of important ways in which we learn. They are an essential part of any learning process and greatly impact how we learn and what we learn and what is our level of brain fitness. Let’s review some of these important cognitive skills and describe them in further detail.

1.Attention Skills – This relates to the ability of a person to focus on certain information and screen out and ignore as much as possible information or distractions which have little to do with the primary task. There are sub skills related to these attention skills which are as follows:

a.Sustained Attention – This relates to the ability to remain focused and on task. It also relates to the amount of time we can remain focused.

b.Selective Attention – This relates to our ability to remain focused and on task while being subjected to distracting sensory input.
c.Divided Attention – This relates to our ability to remain focused on a particular and then apply similar focus to another task at the same time. Another simple way to look at it is multi tasking.
2.Memory – These skills relate to our ability to store, organize and retrieve information. There are several kinds of memory as follows:
a.Long Term Memory – This relates to our ability to recall information which was initially stored some time previously. Long term memory is a critical part of learning since it is used to remember facts and other information. People with weak long term memory can easily forget important information like names and phone numbers and tend to do poorly on tests.
b.Short Term or Working memory – This type of memory is used to hold information in our immediate awareness while performing another mental task.
3.Logic and Reasoning – This relates to our ability to perform critical thinking, formulate concepts, and solve problems using new information or new processes.
4.Auditory Processing – This is the ability to analyze, blend and differentiate sounds. It is a critical skill necessary for learning to read.
5.Visual Processing – This skill allows us to perceive, analyze and perform critical thought using images. It helps us to picture something in our mind and is a critical skill used for following directions, reading a map or performing a variety of mathematical problems.
6.Processing Speed – This relates to our ability to process information in an efficient manner. The faster we can process information, the faster and more effective we can be at improving the other cognitive skills.

Training your cognitive skills can help you get to optimal brain fitness. This is very important as you use your cognitive skills in many of your daily activities and you want to ensure these are well trained for you to enjoy a better quality of life.

The Importance Of Regular Mental Exercise

Most of us realize that in order to remain healthy, we need to exercise our bodies. Well the same is true with our minds. Mental exercise is an essential way to keep our minds sharp and healthy. Here is some further information.

It is known that our brains respond well the stimulation. We can perform mental exercise by using various types of stimuli to elicit desired responses. The more we can exercise our brains, the greater improvement which can be expected.

There is a wide variety of mental exercise which can be applied. These techniques can come in a variety of styles and types. Some may involve other people and be implemented in a question type format. Other exercises may involve audio or visual stimuli.

Another type of mind exercise may involve problem solving and may require the use of pencil and paper. It all depends on the types of results desired.

Some of the exercises are best suited for children and are simpler and more fun in nature. And others can be more applicable to older adults who may have need for exercises which can help their memory and cognitive function.

One of the most common types of mental exercise is a memory drill. These can help people to organize, store and retrieve more information for longer periods of time. Not only is this important for older adults who may find this function deteriorating somewhat but it is also a vital skill for younger people (especially students) who need to retain a lot of knowledge.

These mental exercises can also assist with problem solving and rational thinking. Many people depend on them to keep themselves alert and with the highest degree of cognitive skills.

You can find out a lot more information on mental exercises by first of all checking with your health care professional. He/she can recommend others to speak to or suggest different exercises to apply.

There is also a great deal of information available on the Internet about mind training. You can find many sites which have helpful mental exercises you can perform online or complete separately.

Keep in mind that an important part of applying mental exercises is the ability to measure changes (and hopefully improvements). This will very much help you to determine if you are achieving desired results and if any changes or modifications are required.

In this way you can achieve very satisfactory results through the use of a mental exercise and help to improve the way your brain operates.

The Role Of Brain Health In Your Life

We know that it is very important to achieve and maintain good health for our bodies. Good brain health is certainly vitally important in helping us to learn new things and experience the world around us. Here are some tips and suggestions to achieve good brain health.

The first thing is to avoid disease if possible and minimize the risk of injury. The health of the brain is impacted by many factors. There are a number of diseases, which can certainly negatively impact the proper functioning of the brain. This can include swelling of the brain from a variety of causes.

The pressure on the brain from this swelling can cause damage and create further problems such as memory problems. If this situation occurs, it’s very important to reduce the swelling if at all possible. There may also be unusual growths in the brain caused by disease. Early detection and treatment is vital to help to keep what is hopefully a minor problem from turning into a catastrophic one.

The brain is a vital part of our body and demands the same kinds of things our other organs require like oxygen and nutrients. Therefore one key way to maintain good brain health is to supply it with a good supply of oxygen. Sometimes blood flow may be disrupted or reduced by blockages. So in order to assure a good supply of oxygen, excellent blood flow must be assured.

It is also very important to keep the lungs operating at peak efficiency so that it can properly transfer oxygen to the blood. It is important as well to make sure that the blood receives proper nutrients and that there are no blood abnormalities which can impact how oxygen is transmitted.

Proper nutrition of the brain can be a very important way of assuring good brain health. There are many kinds of nutrients which help this situation. Well balanced meals and vital nutrients like vitamins and minerals are key to maintaining and improving brain health. Vitamin B12 and vitamin E have been shown to be very important to brain health. In addition foods like fish and whole grains are important in maintaining and improving brain health and avoiding memory problems.

It has also been found that exercise can play a strong role in improving brain health. So you not only want to exercise to help your heart, lungs and muscles. It has also been shown to play a strong role in keeping the brain fit and healthy.

The Causes And Symptoms Of Insomnia

Insomnia is commonly defined as difficulty in getting to sleep or in staying asleep. It can also be typified as suffering with non refreshing sleep over a month or longer. We’ll discuss some of the causes, symptoms and common treatments.

A type of insomnia called primary insomnia is not due to any known physical health conditions. It has been found that insomnia can be caused by a wide variety of factors, some related to your mental health. Some of the more common forms of the condition include the following:

Alcohol related. Excessive drinking can often affect the ability of a person to fall asleep or stay asleep.
Anxiety – Stress and anxiety play a key role in making it more difficult to achieve normal sleep patterns. We often stay awake because our bodies are stressed and active from the anxiety.
Coffee – The caffeine content in coffee can make it more difficult for a person to relax and ultimately fall asleep naturally.
Stress – This is related to anxiety and puts the body into a heightened sense which makes it much more difficult to relax and ultimately fall asleep.
Another key type of insomnia is called secondary insomnia. It is typically caused by a medical health condition like depression. Patients who suffer from insomnia, which is caused by depression often seek medical attention due more to the insomnia rather than the depression.
Common symptoms of insomnia may include:
Difficulty in falling asleep most evenings.
Feeling tired or run down during the day due primarily to a lack of sleep the night before.
A feeling of not being refreshed or energized when you wake up.
Waking up several times throughout the evening after you initially fall asleep.
Many people who suffer from insomnia tend to focus on their difficulty in falling asleep. This helps to make the problem even worse.
There are a number of popular treatments for insomnia. They normally involve better sleep hygiene which includes:
Avoiding caffeine, alcohol or nicotine just before bed
Avoid taking daytime naps
Avoid large meals near bedtime. Instead stick with regular meals throughout the day
Exercise at least two hours before retiring for the evening
Most medical professionals try to use techniques which avoid the use of drugs. In many cases following some of these simple tips will have good results and help you to achieve the sleep your body requires. Research has also shown how training your cognitive skills could help you deal and help with insomnia.

Brain Training To Stay in Shape

Our Brain controls so much of what we do and how we think. It is an amazing organ. Much has been learned about this miraculous part of our bodies and much more still needs to be learned. However one thing we know is that brain training is an essential part of how we learn and how well we can apply that information and knowledge. Let’s discuss some techniques in further detail.

As children we learn a great deal. Everything is new and our brains are like sponges which soak up information and eventually learn to process it effectively. This is how we acquire new information and knowledge.

Over time we take in more and more information but we may not be as efficient or effective in the manner in which we organize, store, and process that information. There are brain training techniques which can help.

For example some people are particularly adept at memory utilization while others have difficulty remembering key events, places and people. There are proven techniques which help to train the brain how to take various information and then recall it accurately as necessary.

Different techniques and exercises may be appropriate for children while others are better suited for older people. Memory enhancement techniques are particularly helpful for older adults who tend to lose memory.

In some cases the brain has lost some of its ability to store and retrieve information. However many of the techniques can help the brain to reorganize the manner in which it processes, stores and retrieves information.

Other techniques can help to train the brain to process different functions like reading, vision related skills, critical thinking, and reasoning. The brain is an amazingly resilient organ and responds very well to techniques which are designed to challenge how it functions.

These training exercises are very much like physical exercises. The body responds very positively to physical exercise and it makes us much healthier. Brain training can have the same results and they can help the brain to function much more effectively and improve your mental capacities.

Brain training exercises can be found in many ways. Many sites on the Internet list different techniques which are optimized for different functions. They may be organized by the type of application as well as age and individual situation involved.

You might also check with a medical professional for further recommendations and guidance regarding brain training methods and techniques.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Treatment Of Memory Loss

Very simply memory loss can be described as the inability to recall important events or other kinds of information. It can be partial or total. It is also relatively normal when associated with aging.

The degree of Memory loss is largely dependent on the cause which can range from brain damage, normal aging, and diseases such as Alzheimer’s. We’ll discuss some of the symptoms, prevention and treatments available for memory loss.

Typical symptoms of memory loss can be forgetfulness when it comes to names, important dates, reasons for running errands, easily getting lost, or difficulty in performing what were otherwise everyday and simple tasks like driving, cooking, etc.

These symptoms may begin gradually and increase in intensity depending on the cause of the problem. It is important for medical professionals to get involved when it is suspected that memory loss is present. Some of the causes can be very simple and easily rectified. Others are indicative of a more serious and longer term problem. But through early detection, the most effective treatments can be implemented and the impacts of this problem minimized as much as possible.

There are several tests which can be implemented to help uncover a memory loss problem. This can include several neuropsychological tests. Other tests can include an electroencephalography, MRI or CT scan.

It has been found that in many cases, memory loss can be prevented or at least minimized. One way is to eat nutritious foods since it has been found that the brain requires optimum nutrition to operate at peak efficiency.

It is also important to avoid risk factors such as exposure to chemicals or adverse agents. People who have high blood pressure run an increased risk to memory loss. Sudden memory usually cannot be prevented by gradual memory loss caused by aging can be minimized in a variety of ways.

In addition to maintaining good nutrition, there are a number of drills and brain training exercises, which can be done which have been found to help patients to improve their memory function. The brain needs and responds favorably to the proper degree of stimulation and brain training. People can be taught to improve their memory functions and it is a very good idea to do so for many patients (especially elderly ones).

If many of these suggestions are followed, the impact of memory loss can be minimized and people have a much better opportunity to retain an excellent quality of life.

An Introduction To Neuroscience History

Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord and nerves throughout the body. It is viewed as a branch of biology. However in recent years it has taken on other roles with links to chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics, and medicine. We’ll discuss this interesting field further and touch on some historical highlights concerning its study.

The formal study of the nervous system dates all the way back to ancient Egypt. There was also evidence of trepanation, which was the surgical technique of drilling a hole into the skull with the intent of curing headaches, various mental disorders or relieving cranial pressure. This dated back to Neolithic times and has also been in various cultures throughout history.

There is evidence in manuscripts dating from 1700BC that the Egyptians understood some of the symptoms of brain damage.

For quite a long while, many cultures believed that the heart was the center of intelligence. But this notion began to be challenged in Ancient Greece. The doctor and scientist Hippocrates believed that the brain was not only involved in senses since many sensory organs were located near it but that it was also the seat of intelligence.

Plato also accepted the view that the brain was the center of intelligence although Aristotle held the belief that the heart was the center of intelligence and that the brain primarily served to cool the head.

This view was largely accepted until the Roman physician Galen who was a follower of Hippocrates noted that his patients lost some of their mental faculties if they suffered a blow to the head or other brain damage.

There is evidence of medical problems, which were attributed to the brain from the early Muslim world. A number of important European scientists such as Vesalius and Rene Descartes during the early and late 1500’s made important contributions to neuroscience.

The invention of the microscope played a very important role in the study of brain tissue and nerve cells. A staining procedure developed by Camillo Golgi made it possible to discern extensive details in the neurons such as ganglia, axons, and dendrites.

These studies played a major role in the development of the neuron doctrine which indicated that the most functional unit of the brain are the neurons.

This neuron doctrine was largely supported by extensive studies from other scientists throughout the world over many years. The study of neuroscience continued to evolve with new techniques and sophisticated equipment. It has helped to greatly improve our understanding of the nervous system and will continue to increase our knowledge.

How To Train Your Focus And Attention

Attention is an important cognitive process which allows one to selectively concentrate on one part of his/her environment while ignoring other aspects. Attention has also been referred to as allocating mental processing resources. We will discuss more about this important cognitive process and how it can impact the everyday lives of people.

Focus and Attention are words which typically go hand in hand when it comes to defining this process. A great example of attention might be the ability to listen carefully to what someone is saying despite the presence of loud music throughout the room.

Attention is also very much at work if you talk to someone on the phone while you are cooking for example. It is this ability to place focus and attention on important tasks and prioritize them which makes this process so unique and so important.

It should be noted that attention is such an important cognitive process that it is one of the most studied topics within many fields of psychology and cognitive neuroscience. It is also heavily studied within many fields of education, psychology and neuroscience.

There are many current studies which focus on the source of stimuli which generates attention, the impact of these signals, and their ability to allow us to “tune out” different stimuli which gets in the way of focusing on tasks or stimuli at hand.

There is also a great deal of study in regard to the relationship between attention and other cognitive processes such as memory.

It is also interesting to note that there has been a great deal of research recently which has focused on the impact of brain injury as it relates to attention and the ability to focus and hold attention.

Attention is a very vital process as it helps to enhance our ability to focus on important tasks at hand. It is a critical part of how we learn new things. It is very important for students to show strong attention to certain stimuli in order to absorb the information and knowledge necessary.
The ability to focus attention in different areas affects us every day. For example if we do not place attention on listening to someone’s name, chances are that we will forget that name very quickly.

There are a number of important techniques, which can help people to apply proper attention in order to improve many mental processes. Without proper attention, many higher-level processes would be negatively affected.

Brain Fitness And Mental Training

Most people recognize the importance of getting and staying physically fit. However they don’t often extend that to the brain. However it is very important to recognize that Brain Fitness is also a vital consideration when it comes to keeping your body and mind in the best possible shape. Here are some suggestions.

Just as it is important to practice good nutrition for different parts of our bodies, the same holds true for our brains. This organ depends on good nutrition to keep it healthy and functioning in the best possible manner and help with your memory.

Eating healthy and taking important vitamins and other nutrients will help the brain to stay healthy and operate properly. Avoid fatty foods and stick with things like lean meats, fresh vegetables, and wholesome grains.

There are a number of nutrients, which the brain needs. This includes vitamins like vitamin C, E, and D. The B complex vitamins are also very important when it comes to the effective operation of the brain. There are a number of other nutrients, which have been found to help the brain to function in the best possible manner.

The Internet contains a lot of helpful information concerning diet and the right nutrients the brain requires. Our modern diets lack many of these important nutrients so it’s important to make certain you take the right ones in the right amount daily.

The brain also responds best when the rest of the body is healthy. For example a healthy heart will pump well oxygenated blood to the brain in the most effective manner. This is essential in bringing nutrients as well.

When the rest of the body is healthy, the brain gets supplied with more of what it needs.

And don’t forget that the brain responds well to exercise itself. The type of brain fitness comes in the form of exercises that causes the mind to think in certain and learn techniques that can help it to process information faster and more effectively.

These fitness techniques can also help the brain to use different areas more effectively. For example some techniques can enhance memory while others can enhance the brain’s ability to compute, process visual information, etc.

There are many types of brain fitness techniques you can use. Consult with your medical professional for further suggestions. The Internet also contains a great deal of helpful information on this.

So give yourself a good mental workout and improve your brain fitness. You’ll appreciate the results.

The Principal Functions Of The Brain

The human Brain is an amazing and vital part of our bodies. The brain controls virtually every organ in our bodies and it provides the means for us to think and act. Let’s discuss some of the important functions of the brain and where they occur.

The cerebral cortex is one of the largest parts of the brain and it is what makes the brain so complex and able to operate in a unique manner. The cerebral cortex is a large mass of neural tissue that covers the area of the forebrain.

Keep in mind that part of the reason why man can function in a much more sophisticated and complex manner is because the size of the human brain is about three times larger than an animal, which is similar in size. The human brain can simply do more because it has built in capabilities to do so.

Another area of the human brain, which distinguishes itself from other brains, is the frontal lobe. It is quite large in relation to other brains from similarly sized animals. The frontal lobes are the part of the brain which performs things like self control, abstract reasoning, abstract thought, and planning.

The occipital lobe is another part of the brain, which is believed to enable vision to occur. This area is also quite a bit larger than the same area in the brains of other animals.

There are also sections of the brain which perform tasks on a more unconscious level. For example the brainstem is an area of the brain which controls automatic functions like heart rate, breathing, etc. It is believed that the brainstem is a more primitive part of the brain as it does functions, which do not typically require higher thought.

Other key areas of the brain include the following.

It is believed that higher level thinking occurs within the neocortex. This is also integral to learning and memory. The manner in which the body is controlled for movement and posture occurs within the cerebellum.

There are other sections of the brain which contain extensive neural cells and transport mechanisms. In addition certain glands are present which create compounds, which are vital in enhancing brain function and control.

The brain is a highly complex but sensitive part of the body. It is largely protected from damage and injury due to its encasement within the skull. The brain is also cushioned from most impacts by surrounding it with a viscous fluid.

However injury can occur if the skull is damaged or if the brain suffers an impact, which causes the brain tissue to become pressured. If the brain becomes damaged and swells, it can create more problems because the pressure cannot be easily relieved. If a brain injury occurs, it is important to minimize swelling as well as relieve pressure if it occurs.

Brain Injury prevention through the use of protective headgear is a very important goal. If you can protect your head, you can typically protect your brain from most injuries.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Need To Maintain A Good Brain Health

In order for the brain to function at peak efficiency, it must be healthy. This entails a number of important things. We’ll refer some of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to brain health.

One of the first thing that plays a vital role in brain health is nutrition. The brain needs a good source of nutrients. Some nutrients are especially important. This can include foods low in fat, sugar and preservatives. Vitamins such as B complex, vitamin D and E should be taken daily.

Eating healthy and wholesome foods like fresh vegetables, lean meat or poultry and others helps to provide the key nutrients which the brain requires to achieve a healthy state and stay there.

It is also very important that good blood flow to the brain be established and enhanced. The brain receives its nutrients and oxygen through blood flow so a healthy degree of flow should be assured.

Just like our bodies respond to exercise, so does the brain. However the brain needs to be exercised much differently than you would when it comes to toning the muscles, etc. There are many kinds of techniques and brain fitness games which can really challenge the brain to think in novel ways.

You need to make sure you use a scientifically validated brain fitness program as you want your training to be effective.

This stimulus of the brain does a great deal towards teaching it how to retain information better. Or it can improve the ability of the brain to process information, etc. There are many kinds of exercises and they would be appropriate depending on the person’s age and focus.

For example there are some excellent treatments to help people to remember more effectively. They help to stimulate and enhance certain areas of the brain. Other techniques can address problems in solving math problems or reading comprehension.

In any case these exercises have been shown to be very effective in improving the health of the brain. These exercises are typically optimized depending on the age of the individual involved.

And there are outside factors which should be followed to help assure good and healthy functioning of the brain. You should always strive to get plenty of sleep. And the brain should be stimulated with plenty of activity such as brain fitness tasks.

Some of the worst things to do is to let activities languish. Boredom and depression are not healthy for the brain and should be avoided. So if you avoid these kinds of problems and focus on the suggestions noted above, the brain should develop in function and effectiveness

A Quick Introduction To Cognitive Abilities

Cognitive abilities may also be referred to as cognition. They have to do with how a person understands and reacts to his/her environment. They are a set of abilities, skills and processes which play a key role in everything we do. Let’s discuss more about cognitive abilities and how they affect us.

Cognitive abilities are directly linked with how we learn, remember, or solve problems rather than any specific piece of knowledge. It is possible to break down virtually any task into key cognitive abilities such as memory or eye-hand coordination.

For example the simple task of answering the door can be broken down into the following: perception (hearing the doorbell and knowing that it means that someone is at the door); decision making (deciding whether or not to answer the door); motor skills (walking to the door); language skills (speaking to the person at the door and responding); and social skills (determining additional meaning based on subtle cues from the person such as tone and body language).

There are a number of fields which address cognitive abilities including neuropsychology, cognitive psychology and cognitive training in general. It is important to note that cognitive abilities are really mental skills. Let’s discuss some key cognitive abilities:

1.Perception – This is involved in recognizing and interpreting sensory stimuli (such as smell, touch, hearing, etc.). It is being able to respond to external stimuli.

2.Attention – This is the ability to maintain concentration on an object, action, or thought. The amount of attention varies depending on the kind of situation and/or importance.


a.Short Term – The ability to process, retain and retrieve information over a very short term basis. The amount of information and the length of time that it can be retrieved are generally short.

b.Long Term – This entails the ability to process, store and retrieve information over a much longer period of time. This generally entails much more information and more details over a longer period of time. Long term memory makes it possible for someone to remember many details about a particular event which may have occurred many years ago.

4.Motor Ability – The ability to manipulate objects by training our bodies to act in a certain way.

5.Language skills – The ability to communicate and understand spoken words or written words in a certain language. This entails the ability to hear sounds and understand the meaning of these sounds. It also includes the ability to create sounds which are understood by other people.

6.Visual and Spatial processing – This is the ability to process visual stimuli. In simple terms it can create the ability to understand what a visual cue means. Or it can entail being able to discern spatial relationships between objects. It also involves the ability visualize images.

7.Executive Functions – These are the higher level cognitive abilities such as the ability to plan and execute a task or goal. This can involve flexibility such that alternative actions can be taken depending on the circumstances. Or it can entail insight. Other executive functions can include problem solving or decision making. Working memory is part of these functions and allows us to hold and manipulate information in real time. Emotional control is another cognitive ability tied to executive functions. Sequencing allows us to organize tasks into their proper steps. And inhibition can be used to help us to stay focused and avoid distractions.

The Different Symptoms of ADHD

ADHD generally refers to problems which most often occurs beginning with children. It is associated with inattentiveness, hyper activity, impulsiveness or a combination of these factors. Let’s talk more about the common causes, symptoms and treatments for this problem.

ADHD is known to be the commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder during childhood. It normally affects about 3 to 5% of school aged children. It also tends to occurs more in boys rather than girls.

There is some speculation that ADHD can be impacted by depression, insomnia, learning disabilities, tic disorders, and behavioral problems. It is important to have all children tested who may be suspected.

It is also fairly well known that ADHD may run in families. And it may be associated with other symptoms. It can also be impacted by external factors such as depression.

The symptoms of ADHD generally fall into three groups. The first group has to do with an overall lack of attention. The second group has to do with hyperactivity and the third group deals with impulsive behavior. It is helpful to ensure that these symptoms are properly addressed.

However let’s review these symptoms in greater detail.
Inattentive symptoms

a.Failing to pay close attention to details or making careless mistakes on the job or at school
b.Difficulty keeping attention during plays or work tasks.
c.The person doesn’t appear to listen when being spoken to
d.The person doesn’t follow through when given instructions.
e.The person is easily distracted
Hyperactivity symptoms

a.The person fidgets with his hands or feet
b.Leaves his/her seat
c.Runs about or plays inappropriately
Impulsivity symptoms

a.Blurts out answers to questions before being asked for a response
b.Shows difficulty in waiting his/her turn
c.Interrupts on others. May butt into a conversation.

These symptoms are serious and can create a great deal of difficulty for the person who is experiencing them. For example people with ADHD generally have difficulty with learning.
However there have been a number of new therapies established to treat this problem. One common form of treatment entails the use of drug therapies such as stimulants. However there is strong move against the use of drugs in children. So many recent therapies focus on behavior modification to achieve improvements. Sleep and treating insomnia are also important to try to help cope with ADHD.

In any case by identifying and dealing with this situation, the best combination of treatments can be structured and implemented.

Brain Injury And Your Overall Health

The brain is an incredibly complex and sensitive organ in our bodies. It allows many bodily functions to be controlled without conscious involvement. And it provides for many ways to think, reason and respond to our environment. However brain injury can become a very serious problem. So let’s discuss this further.

Normally the brain is well protected from injury. It is encased in a hard shell called the skull and cushioned from injury through a fluid which cradles and supports the brain. However as stated earlier, brain injury can create a whole bunch of problems.

The most common type of brain injury occurs when the skull is damaged by a blow to the head. In many cases there is no long term problem. However depending on the amount of blunt force, no problems may result.

However in many cases, a blunt force trauma can have significant impact. This type of problem occurs when the skull is struck. The force of the impact may damage the skull and or cause some type of breakage. If the fluid which surrounds the brain is allowed to flow unchecked, it can have serious results.

Or if the brain suffers a blunt force problem, it generally responds by swelling in size. This can create even more problems since it is not a good situation for the brain to swell in a constrained area. If this does occur it creates excess pressure on the brain and may result in even more damage to the brain.

The good news is that there are many recent techniques to minimize or alleviate the impacts from a blunt force. This can include draining of brain fluid if it is noted that the brain has begun to swell. This can avoid many of the problems associated with swelling of the brain following an injury. Also exercising your brain with brain training could help alleviate some of the damage on your cognitive abilities.

Emergency techniques have been established to help medical personnel to determine if that brain has been affected by a blunt force. This is vitally important as it can avoid letting a minor problem turn into a major one by not properly addressing the situation.

And there are many types of products available which can help to further protect the brain from injury. One of the best ways to do so is through the use of a helmet. It has been shown that this can significantly reduce the incidence of brain damage. So prevention is usually best way to reduce this very serious problem. Brain training can also help improve the different cognitive skills that could have been impacted.

The Brain And Its Mental Health

Your mental health is a very important part of keeping your body and brain healthy. There are many things that can affect mental health and there are some ways that you can combat these things as well. When you focus on your brain health and make sure that this is in the best shape possible, it can help you to in many aspects of your life.

Everyone needs to find the way to stay mentally healthy. When you are mentally healthy you will be able to keep your stress level lower. Stress is responsible for so many health conditions. Keeping stress levels in a healthy range is very important to your entire health and body. Finding some ways to nurture your mental health is imperative for a long, quality life.

There are many tests for the physical body and these tests can show you if your cholesterol levels are high, or your blood pressure. It is much more difficult to gauge mental health. This can make it more challenging to test for any type of mental problems in a person.

You may not have a definable mental condition and therefore you are deemed mentally healthy. There is no real definition of what mentally healthy consists of and this can be frustrating at times. There are many factors that can affect mental health and the brain health. When you begin to really look at your brain, this is when you will be able to find the right ways to begin to use brain fitness to make you feel better.

You should look at the support you are receiving at home. This can help you to achieve better mental health. A great support system is needed to get through the challenging times in life and this can help you to have a much better outlook on your life.

A brain injury can affect mental health and this is an area where someone can benefit greatly from the use of memory exercise. This can help you with any motor control problems and also can help you become more independent, which will help you with any mental health issues you have been experiencing.

Mental health is a very important aspect in someone’s life. If your mental health is not where you would like it to be, it is up to you to change this. There are some great exercises that you can do that can help you to increase your mental health and this can be a major benefit in your life.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How Brain Plasticity Affects You And Your Cognition

Brain plasticity has to do with the ability of the brain to alter its structure and functions in response to external changes and stimuli and affects your cognition. Some of these can involve molecular changes such as new neural pathways or disconnected neural pathways. And others can entail other parts of the brain taking over functions which it might otherwise not perform. There are three main forms of brain plasticity which will be described below.

1.Synaptic Plasticity – When new information is learned or experienced, the brain may create new neural pathways. As the new information or stimuli is repeated, these neural pathways can be further enhanced. This helps to cement to new knowledge or information.

It is said that practice makes perfect and synaptic plasticity is a great example of that. As the neural connections become better defined, the information is transmitted faster and more effectively.

This is a crucial way in which people learn new things and then are able to retain it over a long period of time. Children grow, develop and learn many things largely through synaptic plasticity.

2.Neurogenesis – For many years it was widely believed that brain cells do not multiply. It was believed that we start out with a fixed number of brain cells and that as brain cells die, they are not replaced. This was the primary reason given for brain decline as we age.

However in recent years it has been shown that brain cells can in fact be duplicated which could improve cognition. It occurs when stem cells divide. One cell is another stem cell and the other can become a fully functioning neural brain cell.

So for catastrophic situations like a stroke which can kill many brain cells, neurogenesis has the ability to regrow new brain cells to replace some of those lost and help your cognition.

More research is required to better understand this mechanism and perhaps find ways to enhance the process.

3.Functional Compensatory Plasticity – It has been found that synaptic plasticity can be less of a factor in older adults than it is in younger people, especially children. So for many older adults, they may have a more difficult time learning and retaining new information.

However there are many older adults who are equally adept at retaining new information and learning effectively. In some cases it is more effective than some younger adults. What was found that when older adults process new information, they not only use the same brain regions as younger adults but may also involve other areas of the brain which the younger people may not use.

Since some areas of the brain are not as effective in synaptic plasticity with older adults, they compensate by using other areas of the brain. This is also a key element in training people to overcome disabilities caused through disease or damage to certain areas of the brain.

Some functions which are normally associated with one area of the brain can be learned to be done with other areas of the brain. In this way the brain can be very flexible and forgiving when it comes to learning and retaining new information.

A Quick Introduction To Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is a neurological disorder which affects many parts of the brain and can result in changes to a person's memory, thought and behavior. Let's discuss more about the causes, symptoms and treatments available.

It is not altogether understood why Alzheimer's disease occurs. However it affects the brain by disrupting the way in which electrical charges travel through the brain cells along with the action of neurotransmitters. This disruption ultimately affects many different functions of the brain.

The disease also destroys areas of the brain. Over time it can significantly shrink the size of the brain which has a great impact on the ability of the brain to function properly. This shrinkage greatly impacts the hippocampus which is involved in working memory as well as the formulation of new memories. This is why a common symptom of people suffering from Alzheimer's disease is loss of memory.

The disease can also affect the cortex which is the area responsible for thinking, planning and organizing.

The disease begins by impacting a person's ability to remember things. Over time they forget many things which were well known to them and acquired over their lifetimes. Eventually it can impact their ability to remember close family and friends as well as their ability to perform essential tasks like brushing their teeth or maintaining themselves.

It also affects their ability to speak and comprehend even the simplest instructions. If the brain of a healthy person is studied versus one with Alzheimer's disease it has been found that the healthy brain has many more active brain cells. The brain with Alzheimer's disease also shows the presence of plaque which is abnormal clusters of proteins. These build up between the healthy brain cells and impact their function and eventually destroy them.

There is no cure for this disease. However there are a number of drugs which have been shown to slow the progression of the disease. Important work is continuing to develop new drugs which can ultimately cure the disease by dissolving the plaque before it has an opportunity to destroy and disrupt healthy brain cells.

In addition there are techniques which can also slow the progression of the disease and in some cases reverse the impact of it. This is why it is so important to identify the onset of the disease so appropriate measures can be taken to minimize its impact and slow its progression.

A Brief Introduction To Mental Health

Mental health is normally associated with our cognitive and emotional well being. In simpler terms it has to do with how we think, feel and respond to our environment. Mental health can also be viewed as what occurs when there is an absence or minimization of mental illness.

Mental health has a profound impact on how people can enjoy their lives. Mental health is a state of mind and state of being. It is vitally important that people try to achieve an optimum level of mental health and avoid mental illness.

By doing so, they can achieve a happy, balanced and productive life. Yet mental illness or the absence of mental health is certain a very important and serious issue.

Many people, especially in the developed countries suffer from some form of mental illness. This can range from simple depression to more complex psychosis like schizophrenia, etc.

There is a great emphasis on improving personal health through treatments like prescription drugs, surgery or therapeutic techniques. It is equally important to address mental health issues and do everything possible to treat mental illness in order to help assure that as many people as possible are properly treated.

The difficulty is that in many cases, it is difficult to assess problems with mental health. Many people who suffer from some form of mental illness try to hide their problems either out of ignorance or embarrassment. Society still has little understanding the plight of mental illness.

In any case there are many kinds of techniques and treatments used to address mental health issues. The first is the ability to identify and screen out different problems. Once the problem is better understood, then an effective treatment plan can be initiated.

A common way to address mental health issues is through a series of counseling sessions. In many cases the patient can begin to understand their problems and how to better deal with them through discussions and exercises with a trained counselor.

There are also surgical techniques which can help correct certain mental health problems. Or certain kinds of drugs have been shown to have benefit in treating certain kinds of problems. It is important for a trained mental health professional to diagnose and assess the situation to determine the best plan of action.

If this is implemented properly, the patient can achieve a good level of mental health and live a much happier, fulfilled and “normal” life.

Exercise Your Mind With Brain Fitness

Our brain is acknowledged to be the most complex organ in our bodies. It is an amazing thing which controls most of our bodily functions and provides us with the ability to respond to our environment as well as think and learn. Much like the rest of our bodies responds well to exercise, brain fitness is a wonderful way to keep our minds functioning at their optimum levels. Here are some suggestions.

The first thing to keep in mind when it comes to Brain Fitness is to watch what we eat. Our bodies respond to good nutrition and so does the brain. Especially important are nutrients which help to keep the brain cells healthy. Vitamins like vitamin C, E, and B complex help quite a bit.

Make sure to eat lots of green leafy vegetables and avoid fats, sugars and alcohol. The brain needs plenty of well oxygenated blood so avoid foods which can clog the arteries. You want plenty of blood flow to the brain.

Drink plenty of water throughout the day. It helps to draw off impurities in your body. And take lots of antioxidants. This will help to keep the cells healthy and avoid premature degradation.

And as we said earlier, the Brain needs exercising as much as other parts of our body. The kinds of exercises for the brain are different than those for other parts of your body. A lot of these exercises challenge the brain to think in certain ways. They can also train the brain to respond to different kind of stimuli.

Many of the exercises for the brain are in the form of mind games. There are many kinds of interesting games and techniques to develop the brain. For example you can find exercises which challenge the ability of the brain to perform arithmetic functions. Counting drills or other mathematical functions can be performed on a regular basis.

Other kinds of games or drills help to improve memory or may improve certain cognitive functions. When implemented properly these techniques can stimulate many areas of the brain and greatly improve cognitive function. They can be very helpful for young children and are especially beneficial for older patients who may find some of their brain functions deteriorating.

There are a number of tests which can be run to benchmark improvement in certain brain functions. This is helpful to determine the effectiveness of these exercises and gauge the improvement from good brain fitness.

A Quick Introduction To The Brain

Our brain is the most complex organ in our bodies. Much has been learned about how the brain functions so we'll discuss more about this here.

In humans, the Brain is the center of the entire nervous system. The brain is encased in the cranium or skull. Although it has a similar structure to other mammals, the human brain is more three times larger than the brain of another mammal with equivalent body size.

The added size and features is what makes the human brain so much more complex and highly functioning. A lot of the expansion is due to the cerebral cortex which is a mass of neural tissue which covers the surface of the fore brain.

The frontal lobes are quite large as well. This area of the brain is associated with things like self control, planning, reasoning and abstract thought. The occipital lobe is believed to be associated with vision and it is quite a bit larger than other mammals.

It is estimated that there are 80 to 90 BILLION non neuronal cells in the brain and an equivalent number of neurons. These cells pass signals to each other through as many as 1000 trillion synaptic connections.

The brain performs many key functions. It monitors and regulates many parts of the body. It receives sensory information and quickly analyzes and then responds to this data. Several key areas of the brain perform different functions.

For example the brainstem controls things like breathing, heart rate, and other processes which are independent of conscious thought. The brainstem is thought to be the more primitive part of the brain.

The neocortex is where higher order thinking occurs. It is also directly related to learning and memory.

The cerebellum controls the body's posture and movement.

The Brain is extremely sensitive and must be protected from the outside world. Although it is encased in a hard bony structure, the brain is suspended in cerebrospinal fluid which helps to further cushion and protect it from impact and other threats. The brain is also isolated from the bloodstream through the blood-brain barrier.

At the same time the brain is still susceptible to different types of injury and disease. The most common come from impacts due to accidents or a blow to the head. The brain can also be affected by degenerative disorders like Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis or Alzheimer's disease.

But as researchers learn more about the brain, they are also learning how to better protect it and find treatments for different diseases which can affect it.