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Your brain is your superstar. It’s the only organ you have that is irreplaceable. It’s the only organ you have that makes you the person you are. The brain gives us our personality, and governs our lives. The neuroscientist and explorer Fridtjof Nansen in 1888 defended his doctoral dissertation, and presented a revolutionary idea: that the brain consists of individual, separate nerve cells. The neuron theory, first discovered by Nansen, showed that the nervous system consists of individual cells (neurons) with contact points (synapses) that serve to transmit signals.
Since Nansen in 1888, we have learned that now only intelligence, both also emotions, contempt, memory, learning, love of music and other preferences are formed in these synapses in your brain. The brain makes us who we are, It learns, falls in love and interprets complex patterns. But its also causes you to make bad decisions and rewards addiction. As author and neurologist, Kaja Nordengen has pointed out in her upcoming and highly recommended book - "Your superstar brain, " the brain is elastic all your life, and you can improve it.
But how can you improve your brain? Basically, it's about learning new things, keeping active and eating more healthy. Simply speaking, when we exercise, our heart rate increases, oxygen is pumped to our brains at a much faster rate, and new brain cells develop more quickly. The more brain cells we create, the easier it is for cells to communicate with one another, developing new neural pathways. Ultimately, our brains become more more efficient and plastic, which means we are taking care of our superstar brain.
Good brain health is to:
- Eat healthy with less sugar and meat. A diet that is plant based and rich in whole grains, fish, fruits and red wine, can lead to higher brain functions.
- Exercise and stay active
- Learn new things, your brain also needs exercise
- Monitor your cholesterol level and blood pressure
- Quit smoking
- A glass of red wine a few times a week
- Generally, whats good for your heart is also good for your brain
How can you make sure to keep your brain as your superstar? Live healthy, exercise and don’t stop learning new things. Every time you learn something new, your brain creates new connections, and becomes healthier. Go for it.
Bjarte Reve is the Chief Executive Officer, Nansen Neuroscience Network, an organization that connects neuroscience and industry to speed up development of new diagnostics and treatments for Alzheimer's, other dementia-related illnesses. He is also partner at consulting firm Considium.no in Norway.