Aging Human Brain: Farook Aman, Ottawa, Canada
This is a synopsis of a presentation made by Dr Frank Knoefel. It was held on July 3, 2019 at The Duke of Devonshire Retirement Residence located at 1095 Carling Ave, Ottawa, Canada.
Dr Frank Knoefel is a medical specialist in the function of the human brain. He is a renowned public speaker. He is well informed in the outcome of various research studies in this vital region; and how it functions and what potential remedies might be available to his patients. The subject matter he chose to speak about on that beautiful Wednesday morning of July 3, 2019 was The Aging Human Brain and its daily struggle to keep active as we get older.
Dr Knoefel commenced his talk by referring to the fact that the human brain continues to develop right from birth to the age of 29, thereby building a huge memory disk of various life experiences and events. He says that the weight of the human brain is approximately 3 lbs, made of neurons that are electrically activated through a light up neuron process depending on the nature of the information collected.
Evidently, from birth, we immediately start learning. Children will memorize words such as, Mom, Dad etc. Repetition creates a make-perfect-memory. It is the orientation of time and place that is important to our daily life activities. The brain therefore gets loaded with an assortment of continuous flow of information. Therefore, at an early age, we tend to build blocks of sentences and paragraphs which are stored to be retrieved as and when we need it.
Vision Station Ability provides the natural ability to identify with objects. In addition, the frontal part of our brain is different from that of the brain of an animal. We can for instance plan for the future. We can plan for a vacation trip, the day, place, distance, the budget needed, as well as for contingency situations, etc. The animal brain does not have that ability
Anatomy – Cognition
The executive part of the brain is located in the front segment of the brain. The Internal memory allows for repetition to be transferred to semi permanent or permanent use when required. For example, when we use a phone number for one or two times only, the likelihood of remembering and retrieving that number again from our memory cell can be a difficult challenge. However, repeating the use of the same number over and over again makes it more likely to be retrieved easily without any difficulty.
One way to explain the intricate function(s) of a human brain is to examine the proper and efficient operation of the lungs and heart which ensure that the brain is continuously supplied with red oxygenated blood. The lung has tiny balloons to breathe in and breathe out as it expands due to its elastic nature. In a young individual, enough supply of oxygen is usually provided to the brain which in turn functions efficiently.
Aging and Respiration-
When we get older our body muscles also get weaker. The lung muscles are no exception. The simple explanation is that we do not get enough oxygen to all parts of the body; thereby less oxygen is pumped to the brain.
Anatomy – Circulation
Needless to mention that circulation of oxygenated red blood is vital to every single neuron in the brain. This would allow it to function efficiently. How do we accomplish this mission? It is of course through the beating of heart which continuously pumps red blood to all parts of the body, which in turn makes these organs operate smoothly. However, as we age, the heart gets older and weaker and may fail to circulate red blood as well as it should. The heart has elastic arteries to pump blood. However, when we experience difficulty in breathing, oxygen levels drop.
Let us examine the scenario of what happens as we get older. A research study indicates that as we get older over the age of 29, we start losing brain cells at the rate of 29,000 cells a day which could climb to 50,000. Therefore, when we multiply 50,000 lost cells each day by the number of days in a year, we would be looking at billions of lost cell per year.
From the above explanation, we realize that loss of brain cells is a fact of life as we get older. This presents the challenge of slower processing function(s) to respond speedily enough to life activities.
We are advised that we have to take care of our physical health in order to promote better brain function. The theory of eating well, sleeping well and having regular exercise may be defined as a simple process to adopt in our daily life. However, this discipline for the majority of people f 365 days a year would be a challenge. Why? Well, because humans have to be reminded all the time to carry out activities that will have positive returns to their respective body functions. Success is tightly associated with determination, enthusiasm and self motivation which are vital to achieve the ultimate goal of reducing the impact of aging.
The heart is an important organ to keep relatively healthy to continue to pump efficiently. That means that increasing the rate of heart beats due to regular exercise will promote an increase in the flow of oxygen. The more oxygen there is, the better it will be for a breathing progression.
What form of daily exercise can we adopt? Research studies recommend a 2 kilometer walk daily over 20 minutes as ideal and doing such exercise over a period of 2 years, as indicated by the research study result, actually made the brain look younger. On the other hand, the older looking brain is the result of loss of brain cells at the rate of 50,000 cells
a day made the brain shrivel down, as shown to us by one of the pictures displayed on the screen.
Brain exercises, i.e. Cognitive exercises for individuals aged over 65 years: A research study recommended one hour of brain exercise, 5 days a week, over a period of 2 months, evidently provided better and faster processing function to, for instance, manage banking, shopping, etc, which may have lasting effect for up to 10 years. Therefore, the risk of Dementia of the controlled testing group dropped.
A study of a controlled group, 1000 individuals followed over a controlled period of 1990 – 1997 produced some amazing results relative to human brain function. It confirmed that regular social engagements result in a healthy brain function. Discussions, planning, follow up, etc in a social engagement evidently provide space and scope to reduce the risk of further brain cell loss. That in turn provides a positive impact to have an active brain rather than sitting on a couch all day watching TV!
How do we accomplish that?
Simply, exercise supports brain cell activity and neurons make the brain healthy.
To conclude, it is important to note that better brain function is a result of good operating heart and lungs which transport oxygen to all parts of the body including the brain, in order to reduce the risk of rapid brain aging caused by the daily loss of brain cells. That happens when physical regular exercises become an essential part of our daily activity.
Therefore, when you take care of your heart and lungs, they will, in turn, take care of your body organs and brain too. Stay healthy.
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