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Friday, April 30, 2010

Work Your Synapses!

Contrary to popular belief, the mental decline older people experience (I'm one of them) is not due to the steady death of nerve cells. Instead, it results from the thinning out of the so-called dendrites, the branches on nerve cells that receive and process information from other nerve cells. Dendrites receive information across connections called synapses. If connections aren't regularly switched on, the dendrites can atrophy. Growing new dendrites was long thought to be possible only in the brains of children. More recent work has shown that old neurons can grow dendrites to compensate for losses. So let our nerve cells keep communicating!

4 comments:

  1. Continuous exercise of mental activity can even, not prevent, but compensate Alzheimer.

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  2. @epitimaios.
    Don´t be afraid of Alzheimer.

    A man comes to medical practise.
    The doctor says: I have got two bad messages. The first is: You have cancer. The second is, you have Alzheimer.
    The man answers: Pure luck, that I didn´t get cancer.

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  3. Another man comes to his doctor and says: "My right eye is always aching after drinking my morning coffee!"
    The doctor askes him: "Have you tried to take the spoon out of the cup before drinking?"

    ReplyDelete
  4. I prefer to think that in old age we get so wise that we lose interest in the superficial chatter of our surroundings. The chatterers interpret this as "mental decline".

    We have lost the art of seeking our elders' advice. Pity.

    ReplyDelete