Expert information about Brain Function
Better understanding about the brain can help preserve and enhance your brain function.
The brain is one of the most overlooked organs in the human body. We feel, think, concentrate, and so on mostly without knowing that we always keep it on. It is a good idea to start taking good care of your brain. Holistic approaches can combine to keep your brain sharp and healthy in the long run.
How does brain function?
Brain acts as the command center of the human body, it controls everything we do, think and say. It can be divided into regions that control various functions, such as hindbrain, midbrain (known together as the brainstem) and the forebrain. Forebrain includes the cerebral cortex - the part that most people think of as the brain, which handles many of the unique skills, like language and problem solving.
It can also be divided into the left and right hemispheres, which are joined by a thick bundle of nerves. Although the two sides of the brain look like mirror images of each other, they are different. The left side of the brain controls the motor and sensory function of the right side of the body. It is responsible for scientific function, such as understanding written and spoken language, number of skills and reasoning. The right side on the other hand, controls the motor and sensory of the left side of the body, and responsible for artistic functions, such as music, art awareness and insight.
As one of the most important parts of human body, the brain is an incredibly complex organ which allows a person to think, feel and store memories. It controls and coordinates human body’s actions and reactions. Damage to any region of the brain may affect the functions it controls, causing symptoms such as loss of movement, difficulty speaking, or loss of coordination.
As a person gets older, changes occur in all parts of the body, including the brain. As we get older, people may show signs of modest decline in their ability to learn new things, and retrieve information, such as remembering names. They may perform worse on complex tasks such as focusing, learning, and memory than would a younger person. The aging process of the brain, in other words, may cause changes, such as reduction of communication between neurons that leads to degradation or loss of white matter (myelin-covered axons), reduction of blood flow due to arteries narrowing and less growth of new capillaries. It also causes brain damage due to increased free radicals.
Why brain-healthy lifestyle is important?
The latest scientific research shows that specific lifestyles and actions can, at any age, improve the brain’s health and functionality. Such improvements can benefit the brain from neuroplasticity, i.e. increasing the rate of creation and survival of new neurons, speeding up the rate of creation and survival of synapses, nurturing the neurochemical environment in the brain for better information processing.
Current recommendations suggest that a healthy-brain lifestyle should include at least balanced nutrition, stress management, physical exercise, cognitive exercise, and a good sleep.
1. Balanced nutrition
Balanced nutrition can contribute to improvements in memory, mood, clarity and focus, and protect against mental decline, depression, anxiety and dementia. However, it is nearly impossible to get a balanced nutrition from diet alone these days.
Research has shown that taking the right supplements can help the brain now and protect against mental decline in the future. There are thousands of supplements marketed as “brain supplements”. Taking the right nutrition and vitamin supplements can even make a person happier and live longer, and more importantly, it can prevent him/her from having major cognitive problems and significant health issues.
2. Stress management
Studies have shown that there is a high correlation between having high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and/or high cortisol and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Stress has shown to be a key factor in all these conditions. When a person is stressed, chemicals –such as adrenaline and cortisol– will flood his/her body. Cortisol in an excessive amount can damage cells in the memory center of the brain. It stops glucose from entering the brain cells, blocks neurotransmitter function, and causes brain cells to become injured. High levels of cortisol also impact a person’s ability to learn and retain new information (this is called short-term memory loss). Individuals that have psychological distress are at an increased risk of memory problems and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers have continually demonstrated that stress management is a very vital part of any Alzheimer’s disease prevention strategy. For instance, meditation, which has been practiced for thousands of years for relaxation and stress reduction, can lower cortisol and improve many other aspects of an individual’s mental function. Spending a few minutes in meditation can restore our calm and inner peace. Just as we shower to keep our bodies clean or move to keep our muscles toned, meditation can be perceived as a fundamental discipline of mental health, cleanliness and brain fitness.
3. Physical exercise
As a rule of thumb, if you do not work out, your muscles get flaccid. Regular movements not only lower the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, but it also prevents certain cancers, improves your mood, builds bones, strengthen muscles, expands lung capacity, reduces the risks of falls and fractures, and helps to keep your weight in check. These are just some of the more familiar effects.
Recent studies conducted by scientists from Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Fairway, Kansas, and other institutions indicate that most of the exercisers showed improvements in their thinking skills, especially in their ability to control their attention and to create visual maps of spaces in their heads –two aspects of cognition that are known to decline with age. Exercise does not only encourage the brain to work at optimum capacity by causing nerve cells to multiply, strengthening their interconnections, and protecting them from damage, but the proteins that are released by nerve cells can also directly benefit cognitive functions, such as thinking during exercise. Thus, the exercise routine here at the Brain Health Institute is specifically designed for each individual to help improve the overall coordination.
4. Cognitive exercise
It is widely agreed that cognitive exercise can lead to substantial benefits for older adults on the task trained, and that some of these benefits are maintained over time and may transfer to other tasks. “It is exercise alone that supports spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor” proclaimed Roman orator Cicero. What most people don’t realize, however, is that your brain stays in better shape when you exercise.
Recent studies that focused on working memory, episodic memory and perceptual speed show that both younger and older adults have general improvements in working memory through cognitive exercise. Younger adults also broadly showed signs of improved memory and reasoning, and were able to maintain their gains in reasoning over a period of two years. Frequent brain exercise not only benefits us with improved cognitive functioning, but it also provides protective effects to the brain through production of nerve-protecting compounds, greater blood flow to the brain, improved development and survival of neurons, and a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease like a stroke. Thus, cognitive exercise is crucial for the well-being and quality of life of older adults.
Sleep is not only essential for regenerating our physical body, but it is also imperative for reaching new mental insights and being able to see new creative solutions to old problems. As a crucial element to creativity, sleep removes all blinders and helps “rest” our brain to look at problems from a different perspective. It is also known to enhance our memories and help us “practice” and improve our performance of challenging skills.
About Phuket Brain Health Institute
We Welcome you to Bangkok Hospital Phuket
Nowadays, there is a wide array of annual health check-up programs which can be tailored to different personal needs, all in all to promote physical health and well-being. However, specific programs for comprehensive brain health screening are rarely found despite the fact that our brain has to always stay on: thinking, processing, commanding, feelings, executive function, etc. Even during a deep sleep, the brain keeps functioning.
When we get older, our memory tends to worsen, especially among those who have dementia and consequent poorer thinking all at the cost of their daily lives and family relationships. Dementia can be caused by different factors such as genetic factors, environmental factors, food and nutrition, exercise, daily behavior, infections, oxidative stress.
It is obvious that some factors can be reversed as medical studies show that human brainpower can be preserved and boosted for greater capabilities. All this can stem from constructive behavioral change well ahead of brain degeneration or dementia. Therefore, our Brain Health Programs have been developed to pave the way towards dedicated analysis and enhancement of brainpower all on an individual basis, based on state-of-the-art medical advancement and technology. A principal program will take 5 days in total, which is considered as a short treatment time, but with long-term outcome based on established routine of brain health care.
Why Choose Our Institute?
Experience brain health care in the most sophisticated sanctuary.