Neurobics: "Keep Your Brain Alive"

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Thu Oct 25 2001 - 11:42:27 MDT

Read a book upside down. Brush your teeth with your wrong hand. Sniff
vanilla essence while listening to classical music. Breaking your normal
mental routine will help invigorate your brain, and encourage its cells
to make new connections and pump out neurotrophins that feed and sustain
its circuits. This is the theory behind "neurobics" - mental workouts
that are believed to shape and sculpt the brain in much the same way as
physical exercise tones and trains the body. But does it work? Brain
scans do indeed suggest we use a lot more of our grey matter when
carrying out new or strange tasks. And rats raised in bright cages with
toys are known to sprout more neural connections. So if you exercise
your brain, will it grow? Is there a brain-boosting regime that could
allow you to "think" yourself cleverer? This week's New Scientist
magazine investigates the possibility of turning brains into

Keep Your Brain Alive
Neurobics is a unique new system of brain exercises based on the latest
scientific research from leading neurobiology labs around the world -
including Dr. Katz' lab at the Dept of Neurobiology in the Duke University
Medical Center in Durham, NC. The deceptively simple exercise program is the
first and only program scientifically based on the brain's ability to produce
natural growth factors called neurotrophins that help fight off the effects of
mental aging. Neurobic exercises use your five physical senses and your
emotional sense in unexpected ways and encourage you to shake up your everyday
routines. Neurobics don't require paper and pen or isolating yourself with
puzzles. Everyday life is the Neurobic Brain gym. They can be done anywhere,
anytime in offbeat, fun and easy ways while you're getting up, commuting,
working, eating, shopping or relaxing. They are designed to help the brain
manufacture its own nutrients that strengthen, preserve and grow brain cells.

Something as simple as closing your eyes and using your other senses of touch,
smell and spatial memory to unlock your door, enter your home at the end of
the day and find your way to the coat closet and answering machine is a
typical Neurobic exercise. What happens in your brain while you're doing this
becomes exercise because different, underused nerve pathways and connections
get activated. The result is the production of a kind of natural brain
fertilizer that strengthens nerve connections and helps them and your nerve
cell receivers (dendrites) stay younger and stronger. And the benefit of that
is a fit and flexible mind ready to meet any mental challenge whether it be
remembering a name or where your car keys are or mastering a new computer
program or staying creative in your work.

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Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego, human values, scientific relinquishment

We move into a better future in proportion as science displaces superstition.

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