Recently scientists have been studying how the neural network of the brain forms. Throughout life this vast network continues to expand, adapt, and learn.
One of the most exciting latest discoveries in this field is evidence that brain cells continue to grow and connect with each other in complex ways throughout our entire lives. Our brains have the capacity to continually “grow” and create new learning pathways. These findings show that the human brain is able to constantly rewire itself. Even in old age, our brain can continue to grow and improve by building new neurons, proving that the brain can, and does, change at any age.
Research at Case Western Reserve University has shown how older brains can have an advantage over younger ones when it comes to learning. In some instances, more highly developed neurons respond better to intellectual enrichment than less developed ones do.
Throughout life, your neural networks reorganize and fortify themselves in response to new stimuli and learning experiences. As we age, mental stimulation improves brain function and actually protects against cognitive decline.
Neurologists from University Hospital’s Memory and Cognition Center reinforce that mental activity is an important way to develop a stronger, healthier brain through the building of Brain Reserve.
Brain Reserve relates to the brain's ability to physically reorganize itself in response to the demands placed upon it. A brain with a strong reserve is one that has formed many cellular connections and is rich in brain cell density. A strong reserve is believed to have the ability to delay the onset of mental deterioration, such as Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.
Simply put, neurodegenerative diseases must work longer and harder to manifest in a brain that has built up strong reserve. At any point in your life, you can build these connections with a regular, balanced routine of mental stimulation.
Current data from the Cleveland Clinic Center for Brain Health suggests that participation in the right combination of activities centered around cognitive learning, combined with emotional connection - which drives our attention, learning, meaning and memory - may actually lower the risk of mental deterioration by building up specific brain cells that are unique in their ability to reinforce and fortify neuronal reserves. The more connections you make – the more neuronal reserves you will have.
This kind of intellectual stimulation helps our brain to manufacture its own nutrients that strengthen, preserve, and grow brain cells. By activating underused nerve pathways and connections, and strengthening neural connections in venerable brain areas, you can actually help to achieve a fit and flexible mind at any age.