Brain and Age

Are you afraid of getting Alzheimer’s disease? Many people express great fear about losing their memory as they get old.. Every day we lose brain cells. However, getting old does not equal degeneration! You may not know how many brain cells you carry around every day. The number of brain cells amount to 10-14 billion! Each of these cells can store 1-2 million bits of information. If you started counting your brain cells at the speed of one cell per second, it will take you about 32 million years to finish.

Perhaps you now start to relax about losing brain cells. At the age of 80 you may have lost 3% so you can no longer excuse memory laps because you still have such a vast quantity. Many of the memory problems can be avoided or compensated for. There are many encouraging examples of how well aged people function. Pablo Casals performed on his cello in his 90-ties, Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977), one of the greatest conductors of all time signed a five year recording contract when he was 94.

Jeanne Calment who died at the age of 122 was very alert and fresh during an interview in 1997. When talking about her high age, she answered, “I think God has forgotten me!” A couple of months later God remembered her. Studies have provided information about the performance of young people compared to old people. One third of all the people in their eighties performed just as well as the younger participants, and some of the people in the age group 80-90 performed even better.

Loss of brain cells is compensated for by built-in mechanisms. The connection between the brain cells grow longer and develop more branches. It has also been proven that we develop new brain cells. Memory disorder can be caused by depression, minor strokes and lifestyle. The brain can keep its vast capacity, as we grow older – but it does not happen by itself. It is something we work on. What can we do?

Strategies to stay mentally and physically active: Relaxation Take time out to do yoga or meditation, or just to find a place where you can relax. Laughter Read jokes or watch funny videos and films. Victor Borge once said, “I don’t mind getting old. I just cannot get used to it!” Exercise The brain needs oxygen. When we exercise, blood flows to the brain which stimulates the growth and survival of brain cells. Programming What we tell ourselves. Keep repeating that you have a terrific memory and that you remember and recall easily.

People who are active have a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s in particular. We evolved to a life different from what many people experience today. Take up walking or other activities to protect your brain.

Make great choices every day and have a lot of fun. Laughter makes us relax. Stress may cause death, but you won’t die laughing.

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