Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Heading to my brain health class

Tonight I have my class on brain health at the local community college. When registering for the class last month, I suspected that my classmates would be at least over 55 and I was right. (Most of my friends are over 55, so that of course wouldn't stop me!) The purpose of the class is not only to learn about the brain but also develop a plan that will keep the brain healthy in old age. If, at this point, you're asking if I'm now worried about Alzheimer's, the answer is no, at least not now. But according to the doctors leading the class, maintaining one's brain health should start early, as early as 35. I suppose 37 is the perfect age for taking the class!

All kidding aside, I did take the class for the info on brain neuroplasticity, the relatively new finding in neurology that says that the brain continues to produce new stem cells for the rest of our lives. These new theories refute the old story told to us in school when we were young - that the brain has a fixed number of cells that can only decrease in number (and decrease even faster with alcohol consumption). I have to say that neuroplasticity was the most promising news coming out of science in a long time! In taking the class, I have learned a good deal of info. I was surprised, for instance, just how beneficial exercise and meditation are for brain cell growth.

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