Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Training-Induced Brain Structure Changes In The Elderly

This is amazing information! In this age of dementia, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's we have here evidence that the brain is always plastic. By inputting information into the brain the output will be the reward of better cognition and function. I don't mean to say that learning to juggle will stave off these diseases but anything that improves brain function gives you a better chance. And this goes to show that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" simply doesn't hold water. The brain is always ready to receive new information and reward it's owner with improved function.

Chiropractic care is a great way to improve brain function and don't forget that your brain controls the rest of your body! How does it do this? In every muscle and joint there are tiny receptors (structures that receive information). When we move they are activated and fire their information into the Central Nervous System (the spine and brain). When this happens the brain is happy and lights up. The brain celebrates this input by sharing it with the rest of the body and you benefit with better function of your organs and total physiology.

Sometimes joints become locked or fixated and muscles become weak or tight. This can be due to many reasons. Chemical, physical, structural, emotional, etc. Locked up motion receptors no longer feed information into the brain and so you have both a local (at the joint) and global (throughout the body) decrease of function. Some of these changes are slow and even imperceptible for decades and sometimes the effects are more immediate. Either way its just a matter of time before a problem is perceived. Remember that by the time you perceive pain the problem has been there building up for some time! This is outside of the occurrence of a traumatic accident.

Locked up motion receptors have effectively gone off line and the brain no longer recognizes the level of the the locked up joint.

The chiropractic adjustment does three main things to reverse this:

  1. It restores the normal range of motion to the joint
  2. It puts a quick stretch in the muscle
  3. It provides a barrage information into those receptors

When this happens those receptors which were locked up and still now scream to the brain "We're still here. We just couldn't talk to you for awhile." The brain is only too happen to hear this since it just received a huge message from those joint levels and brings them back online. Function is now improved. And those tight muscles just received a quick stretch which helps them relax and perform better. Best of all you feel better, looser, lighter, with less stress due to the release of endorphins and enkephalins from the brain's natural pharmacy.

Chiropractic promotes plasticity of the brain and nervous system. It promotes joint structure and function. It promotes health.

From Faculty of 1000 Medicine

Training-Induced Brain Structure Changes In The Elderly: Commentary from F1000

Posted 08/15/2008

Lutz JänckeAuthor Information

Boyke J, Driemeyer J, Gaser C, Büchel C, May AJ Neurosci 2008 Jul 9 28(28):7031-5
Commentary from Faculty Member Lutz Jäncke

This is the first study published so far demonstrating cortical plasticity in the elderly and, thus, supports the view that cortical integrity and possibly cognitive functions can be shaped by training, even in the elderly. One of the most interesting and possibly important findings in cognitive neuroscience has been the discovery that the human brain can be shaped by experience. In this context, it has been shown that even specific characteristics of brain anatomy (e.g. gray and white matter density) can be changed by experience. This study demonstrates that gray matter changes can even be induced in the elderly. The authors of this study focused on healthy elderly citizens (on average 60 years of age) and conducted a training study during which these subjects learned three-ball cascade juggling. It turned out that senior citizens learned to juggle but with less proficiency compared with adolescents. However, similar to the young group, gray matter changes in the older brain related to skill acquisition were observed in area hMT/V5 (middle temporal area of the visual cortex). A further finding relates to the hippocampus and reveals that elderly volunteers who learned to juggle showed transient increases in gray matter in the hippocampus on the left side and in the nucleus accumbens bilaterally.

Faculty of 1000 Medicine Evaluations, Dissents and Author responses for: [Boyke J et al. Training-induced brain structure changes in the elderly. J Neurosci 2008 Jul 9 28 (28):7031-5]. 2008 Jul 17.

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