50+'rs, Challenges and Brain Plasticity
I have been watching a very interesting special on PBS regrading plasticity of the human brain.
It appears that if the brain is constantly challenged with new things to do and figure out, that a couple of neuro transmitters or chemicals (whatever) are released that increases the plasticity and growth of the brain.
However, just doing the same old thing does not. So, if a person reads books every night, it does not necessarily increase plasticity unless the book required new thoughts and challenges.
I can remember some 35 years ago when we took our youngest son to a place in Philadelphia called the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, where they prescribed intensive physical therapies to alleviate brain damage. The program was carried out in the home by volunteers 7 days per week 13 hours per day. We continued this program for 6 years in CO, then Il and then CO again.
The program was highly controversial and pooh-poohed by the MD's and others, who believed the brain was a fixed piece of protoplasm, and could not be changed. In fact, my advisor for my doctorate told me the same thing - the brain is an unchangeable organ.
At that time, I kept wondering about the therapy given stroke victims. If what everyone said was true, then why were there physical and occupational and speech therapists giving therapy to stroke victims - essentially giving brain therapy, as a stroke is in the brain, not the limbs or speech affected?
In any event, Andy made some good progress in that program
So, anyway, folks, keep your challenges coming into your life - it will keep your brain growing and "plastic." There is actual physical evidence (the chemicals they find in the brain) that can be found.