I now subscribe to a service where I play brain games and my progress is measured so I can see that my scores are getting higher over time.
Doing crossword puzzles, studying a new language, or learning how to play a musical instrument could be contributing to the development of new neurons.
I believe that the brain can rewire itself and continue on. For example, the double vision I had at Thanksgiving is completely gone now.
I have no way to prove it, but I believe that my brain encountered a disruption in one neuro-pathway, so it found another way. It rerouted the signal.
Sadly, it is a myth that we are only using 10% of our brain. Alas, the idea of repurposing vast unused areas of my brain to replace the myelin I'm losing, is not to be.
Nevertheless, we do know that brain cells that are not used will degenerate. I assume that the reverse is true and that the brain can be strengthened just like any other weak muscle, improving its ability to function
Apparently, scientists have known since the 1950s that synaptic feeders to the neurons in the brain will grow and multiply in response to intellectual stimulation and the consequential learning.
And recent research appears to show that new neurons in the brain are created daily. This is being called neuroplasticity, how the brain changes itself
So we have discovered how to train the brain in this, and how to measure improvements in memory and attention, at least.
Playing brain games, doing crossword puzzles, studying a new language, or learning how to play a musical instrument could be contributing to the development of new neurons.
I now subscribe to a service where I play brain games and my progress is measured. I can see that my scores are getting higher over time.
One scientist moderator said that our brains don't change and grow by doing what we think of as chores; we should have fun with it, we should play. (Again, I'm reminded that how we self-talk is important!)
You can test yourself while waiting for your dental appointment, for example, by trying to think of ten verbs to match an object you see. So for "pencil," you might think of "doodling" and "sharpening."
The National Institute of Health found that cognitive training can counteract seven to fourteen years of age-related cognitive decline.
I'm hoping that scientists will eventually learn how to train the brain to replace lost myelin. For now, I'm trying to have fun playing brain games.
- How you think matters (2010). See http://lorna.typepad.com/blog/2010/08/how-you-think-matters.html
- Boyd, R. (2008). Do people only use 10 percent of their brains? Scientific American, Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=people-only-use-10-percent-of-brain
- NIH Press Release (2002). Training improves cognitive abilities of older adults Retrieved from https://www.nia.nih.gov/newsroom/2002/11/training-improves-cognitive-abilities-older-adults (updated 4/24/17)