Is Modern Technology causing our brain to atrophy over time @ 12 Dec 2019
It all started with minor slips you easily dismissed as "senior moments." You forgot your keys. You called someone by the wrong name. The word you were looking for was on the tip of your tongue, but you couldn't quite grasp it. You don't feel any older, but you do feel yourself changing. Researchers agree this could be a sign of something more serious. A young mind has the capacity to store vast amounts of information. This is made possible by the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which maintains and strengthens the neural connections responsible for a sharp memory. But as we get older, declining levels of acetylcholine begin to weaken the neural pathways required to retrieve information.
What is Acetylcholine?
Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter used at the neuromuscular junction—in other words, it is the chemical that motor neurons of the nervous system release in order to activate muscles. ... In the brain, acetylcholine functions as a neurotransmitter and as a neuromodulator. Two neurotransmitters seem to play a role in Alzheimer's Disease: acetylcholine and glutamate. Acetylcholine (ACh) activates muscles and helps with arousal, short-term memory, and learning. ... As the brain cells of someone with Alzheimer's Disease die, they release excess amounts of glutamate. Glutamate is a powerful excitatory neurotransmitter that is released by nerve cells in the brain. It is responsible for sending signals between nerve cells, and under normal conditions it plays an important role in learning and memory. “Glutamate is a pivotal transmitter in the brain, the crucial link in circuits involved in memory, learning and perception. Too much glutamate leads to seizures and the death of brain cells. ... Too little glutamate can cause psychosis, coma and death.
Promoting healthy levels of acetylcholine forges new neural connections, which power the information sharing network of your mind. This biological process restores retentive memory, clear focus, and confident decision-making.
A study published in the British Medical Journal of January 2012 has concluded that age-related cognitive decline begins much earlier than expected: by our mid-40s. Even more distressing, this decline can progress at very unpredictable rates. Scientists have identified that acetylcholine, a key neurotransmitter, is responsible for forming new connections and strengthening neural pathways in the brain. In other words, it keeps your mind sharp. However, persistently low levels of this key neurotransmitter places you at risk. Without healthy levels of acetylcholine, the brain can physically shrink; at which point, the damage can be very difficult to repair.
And yet, we all know people of advanced age who seem immune to this cognitive decline. These so-called superagers retain high mental acuity well into their later years. Scientists have determined that superagers minds' function with high levels of acetylcholine. Therefore, their minds have stronger and more numerous neural connections. This creates the ideal environment for a steel-trap memory. Unfortunately, for most of us, levels of acetylcholine decrease as we age and rapidly so after age 45. SuperAgers and their cognitively average-for-age peers reported similarly high levels of psychological well-being across multiple dimensions, SuperAgers endorsed greater levels of positive social relationships. This psychological feature could conceivably have a biological relationship to the greater thickness of the anterior cingulate gyrus and higher density of von Economo neurons.
But it's not just our age that is to blame. Like a muscle, your brain needs constant exercise to stay in shape. Modern society deprives us of essential mental exercise.
Before the written word became accessible and affordable, oral history was the only way to spread culture to younger generations. As a result, a strong memory was an essential part of everyday life. For example, ancient Greek poets would memorize and recite entire epic poems that were thousands of lines long. Because of the demands society placed on their brains, these individuals engaged in rigorous daily mental exercise. They did not have telephones, TVs, and computers distracting their attention and distorting the ways in which their brains processed information. This kind of singular focus required optimal levels of acetylcholine. Before the written word became accessible and affordable, oral history was the only way to spread culture to younger generations. As a result, a strong memory was an essential part of everyday life. For example, ancient Greek poets would memorize and recite entire epic poems that were thousands of lines long. Because of the demand’s society placed on their brains, these individuals engaged in rigorous daily mental exercise. They did not have telephones, TVs, and computers distracting their attention and distorting the ways in which their brains processed information. This kind of singular focus required optimal levels of acetylcholine.
A network of neural connections in the brain.
Modern technology denies crucial exercise to certain areas of our brains in two important ways, causing it to atrophy over time. We are exposed to numerous sources of stimulation which constantly disrupt our production of acetylcholine. Likewise, we no longer need to remember phone numbers, addresses, dates, or even basic navigation because our phones have replaced our memories. Both of these factors train your mind to forget and place you at risk for earlier onset of cognitive decline.
Dr. R. Jackie Taylor RN Ph.D
News powered by CuteNews - http://cutephp.com