Today, however, we tend to try to remove ourselves from the details of life. For example, instead of keeping track of appointments and to-do lists in our head, we use electronic gadgets with reminder features. Our streets are paved and lit, requiring virtually no attention to navigate from one location to another. And if you don't sufficiently challenge your brain with new, surprising information, it eventually begins to deteriorate."Generally, by the third or fourth decade in life, you're in decline," Dr. Merzenich says. "One of the things that happens across this period is that you go from a period of the acquisition of abilities to largely using abilities that have been acquired earlier in life. By that I mean to say, most of the fundamental skills that you apply in your profession or in your everyday life are things you have mastered at a young age, and you're now doing them in 'automatic pilot' mode.To a large extent, you're operating most of your day without really being consciously engaged in the things you're doing. You're substantially disengaged: 'sleepwalking through life.'This inattention to detail is substantially a product of modern culture. Modern culture is all about minimizing environmental challenges and surprises... about enabling brainless stereotypy in our basic actions so that our brains can be engaged at more abstract levels of operations. We're no longer interested in the details of things in our world. Because our brains are highly dependent in their functional operations in recording information in detail, they slowly deteriorate. Without that recorded detail, memory and brain speed are compromised."
Contributing Factors to Cognitive Decline, and How to Counteract it
With age, brain researchers have found that there's an increase in "chatter" in your brain. Dr. Merzenich explains:"Your brain becomes less precise in how it's resolving information as you're operating and listening in language, as you're operating in vision, or as you're operating in controlling your actions. We actually record these 'noisier' processes within the brain as you age. In fact, we can correlate the growing 'chatter' quite directly with the slowing down of your processing.You know, every older person is slower in their actions, slower in their decisions, and less fluent in their operations than when they're younger. They're slower because the brain basically is dealing with information that is represented in its machinery in a fuzzier, more degraded form."What research into brain plasticity shows us is that by providing your brain with appropriate stimulation, you can counteract this degeneration. A key factor or ingredient necessary for improving brain function or reversing functional decline is theseriousness of purpose with which you engage in a task. In other words, the task must be important to you, or somehow meaningful or interesting — it must hold your attention. Rote memorization of nonsensical or unimportant items or even heavy work at non-challenging tasks will not stimulate your brain to create new connections or neurons.Dr. Merzenich has been instrumental in the development of a kind of "brain gym" environment — a computer-based brain training program that can help you sharpen a range of skills, from reading and comprehension to improved memorization and more. The program is called Brain HQ.1"There are some very useful exercises at www.BrainHQ.com that are free, and using them can give a person a better understanding of how exercising your brain can drive it in a rejuvenating direction.
By Dr. Mercola
TAP - we use coconut juice in the Philippines to stop skin infections.Coconuts are among the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet and have been a dietary staple for millennia. Western science is now "playing catch-up" to what natives of tropical regions have known for thousands of years. One of the reasons coconut is so special is that it's a natural antimicrobial food.Coconut, especially its oil, is a powerful destroyer of all kinds of microbes, from viruses to bacteria to protozoa, many of which harm human health.Researchers at the Athlone Institute of Technology's Bioscience Research Institute in Ireland set out to test coconut oil's biocidal properties against the bacteria responsible for tooth decay.Dental caries is a commonly overlooked problem affecting 60 to 90 percent of children and the majority of adults in industrialized countries, according to chief researcher Dr. Damien Brady. His research team tested the antibacterial action of coconut oil in its natural state and coconut oil that had been treated with enzymes, in a process similar to digestion.The oils were tested against strains of Streptococcus bacteria, which are common inhabitants of your mouth.They found that enzyme-modified coconut oil strongly inhibits the growth of most strains of Streptococcus bacteria, including Streptococcus mutans, an acid-producing bacterium that is a major cause of tooth decay1. It is thought that the breaking down of the fatty coconut oil by the enzymes turns it into acids, which are toxic to certain bacteria.2 Enzyme-modified coconut oil was also harmful to the yeast Candida albicans, which can cause thrush.