The scientific and philosophical consensus in the modern era is that the human brain is the most complicated organization of matter known to man. The biochemist and famous science-fiction author Isaac Asimov called it “the three-pound universe.” Thomas A. Edison, one of the world’s great inventors once said, “The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.”
The brain, the critical organ that resides in and is protected by your skull, is the core of your self. It defines your identity. It is the essence of your uniqueness and the planning and control center of your body. When we grasp the obvious importance of our brain and its functionality, it’s only logical that we recognize the importance of maintaining a healthy brain.
Addressing the declines in mental performance is a rapidly growing issue for older Americans. By 2020, the number of Americans age 50 and up will soar by 31 million, to 118 million. Currently, among Americans older than 50 nearly two-thirds complain of some form of memory loss or memory-related problem, and a general study found that aging Americans fear memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease more than they fear cancer, heart disease, and even death!
So what do we know about the brain? Well, scientists have determined that the brain is more flexible, or plastic, than previously believed. That means that the brain is malleable and changeable – it can actually generate new cells and new connections even later in life. It is not hardwired from birth then frozen that way. The idea that the brain can rewire and reshape itself has revolutionized the way we look at the aging brain. They’ve also found that by using your brain every day in mentally challenging activities you build brain reserve, a personal insurance policy for a fortified brain. Exercising your brain makes use of its plastic quality (helping you create new brain cells and new connections) and provides ongoing strength building for the brain you’ve spent your life educating and loading with knowledge and wisdom. The result is a brain that is used to thinking, remembering, and performing at the top of its game.