Thursday, 7 June 2012

5 Ways to Supercharge Your Brain

By Luke Kristopher Davis
1. Digest more Omega 3 fatty acids

A study on school children aged between 8-10 in Durham took place which tested the effect of omega 3 fatty acids on academic success, that is, on intelligence (not all intelligence mainly academic). The experimental method applied was the double blind trial where half the children were given capsules high in omega 3 fatty acids and the other half given placebos. All the children did not know which one they had. One mother noticed a difference in her son (who was given non-placebo caps): 

“When I first heard about it, I didn’t think Mark had any problems. He’d only been taking them a few weeks when I started to notice changes. His handwriting became better and his teachers said he was joining in more in class discussions,” says Mark’s mother Christine.
Dr. Richardson of Mansfield college Oxford found increased academic success in 40% of those who took the  omega 3 fatty acid tablets. He also notes that dyslexia and dyspraxia overlap in neural causes by about 50% and there is connections with ADHD disorders. This study hints at but does not confirm the benefit of Omega 3 fatty acids in our brain. Take it anyway !!

2. Read lots of different materials and Search the internet more randomly

The occasional article in cosmopolitan or Zoo magazine or the odd chapter in a fiction book would not be challenging your brain to increase its brain power and increase neural connections. In order to really work your brain out regularly make time for challenging material and material that is sometimes picture heavy, wordy or full of numbers. This will regularly activate key areas in your brain. Not just this but reading magazines such as the NewScientist, NewStatesman, The economist and Menshealth (or womenshealth) allows you to absorb positive useful knowledge which you can apply in your actual life. This makes learning fun and worthwhile, your brain will like this. You will become more curious and read more and more!

These images (which were provided by UCLA  newsroom) are functional MRI brain scans. The one on the left is that of a person reading, we are not told what type of book or how it is being read, the one on the right is that of a person browsing the internet. As you can see the areas engaged whilst browsing engage those areas whilst reading but much more activity occurs. This is good. This is brai-cercise (I'll happily coin that term).

Don't just become absorbed on facebook, which no doubt is a great place for your brain to analyse peoples thoughts and social status or even follow links, videos and articles. Literally explore the internet "web-sling" from site to site follow your curiosity and just go wild. You will be surprised to what you'll find and what you'll end up knowing.

Just try to avoid any... sticky sites.

3. Exercise more regularly and change your fitness routine more often

This data was taken from a study of young adults who exercised often to those who did close to none. The study was to test the relationship between exercise and cognitive ability. These graphs highlight a possible linear correlation between cardiovascular fitness and nearly all aspects of cognition. Muscular training i.e. strength training increased global intelligence at the beginning significantly but in the long term the affects died off.

So go for more runs, swims, bike rides, Zumba classes, spinning, boxing or any cardio testing training. If you do this often enough with enough intensity you may say increase in your sharpness of your brain and your genera intelligence...   what are you waiting for... 10 pressups, 30 mins on treadmill, 10 more pressups, 20 mins Bike GO GO GO!

4. Increase your network of friends... be more sociable!

A study on primates revealed an amazing discovery which led to the hypothesis that the size of an individuals network (amount of friends say) determined the size of the neo cortex and the density of gray matter around the cortex.

More recent studies reveal that this may also be true to humans as we are related to primates (Genetics are extremely similar) and we are the most sociable primate out there! There may be a link to our superior cognitive ability and our bigger average network size of humans compared to our evolutionary predecessors. This is not established scientific fact. However evidence is inclined towards this hypothesis.

I mean think about it in your everyday life... if you propose an idea to say 10 friends at once, you are more likely to receive more varied and interesting replies from a bigger group than say 3 friends (assuming intelligence of the friends are around the same).

So mingle with different people and be more open about your ideas. The more replies and constructive rebuttle you get the more chance you can practice your reasoning abilities and or your ability to accept you're wrong and moving on with fact. << VERRRRY INTERESTING

5. Do more math and try applying it to science!

Mathematics requires a brain which is logical, patient, visual and imaginative. Generally after one has been doing maths for a while you start applying your mathematical methods to everyday life, solving numerical problems, tax bills, pocket money, interest rates, dividing restaurant bills etc. not only that one sees the world differently. Some natural phenomena like say a grand father clock resemble periodic motion which is embodied in the sinusoidal trigonometric function. You starting building connections with real life phenomena.

Not just that, mathematics requires abstract reasoning and visual spatio reasoning which will most probably increase the performance of those areas of the brain. Also your executive memory and your attention span increase in performance as some mathematics problems push you to remember certain facts or conventions and you may become absorbed in it... inducing 'flow'.

Number Crunch when you can and never be afraid of math!

Generally having fun increases your endorphin levels and serotonin levels which will increase attention span and cognitive activity.


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