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It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.

This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.

I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Is Your Brain Getting Smarter ?

Are you getting smarter as you age or not?  Are you more intelligent than you were in high school or not?   If there are changes in intelligence, what might be the influences?  An article in January 10, 2012 edition of the Wall Street Journal had an article titled “New Insight Into Aging Brains.” 
A study published in the Journal Nature, evaluated the relationship of genes to the environment as they contribute to fluctuations in a person’s intelligence between adolescence and old age.  Scientists from the University Edinburgh, the University of Aberdeen and the University of Queensland in Australia conducted the study.
These researchers looked at a Scotland database of 1,940 unrelated individuals. Their intelligence was first measured at age 11, and then at age 65, 70 or 79.  These subjects also provided blood for DNA analysis.  The researchers using statistical techniques came up with the following associations between genes and the environment, and how intelligence levels shifted over the years.  Some of their conclusions were as follows: 1. Many of the same genetic factors seem to explain why people differ in intelligence in childhood and old age .2.  People tend (not all) to retain a similar ranking in intelligence between childhood and old age. 3.  24% of the lifespan changes in intelligence could be linked to genes, the rest to environmental factors.
Other studies have concluded the following: 1. A gene called Apolipoprotein E can contribute to a small amount of cognitive aging. 2.  A person’s intelligence level as measured by IQ tests can rise or fall as a person ages-IQ scores can  increase or decrease as many as 20 points in just a few years.  3.  IQ scores change after just a few weeks of cognitive training but fade after a few months. 4.  People whose jobs involve setting up elaborate systems or dealing with tough or complex relationships tended to do better over time on cognitive tests .5.  Schooling has been shown to boost IQ, while music lessons have been associated with higher IQ throughout life.
What conclusions are to be drawn from this newspaper article?  First, the environment plays a major role in developing intelligence.  Second,   we are learning more about genetics and its relationship to intelligence. These conclusions are of no surprise.
If over 70% of cognition, as measured by a intelligence test, is related to our choices, then we better make sure we have reliable information.  Reconsider what you eat, the amount of physical activity, as well as the intellectual challenges that you seek out.  In other words, continue learning.  My father would say to me “use your brain not just your back.”  He was right again. Your parents might be smarter than you think.
"We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn."– Mary Catherine Bateson


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