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dumb question #5843727

Mr_Furious

TRIBE Member
is there any way to increase brain activity?

.....you know....from all that heavy marijuana use :D

It just seems that I can remember things nearly as well as I used to. People used to say that gingko biloba helped you to concentrate and focus, but then I heard that in some cases it causes internal bleeding.......nice trade-off
 

deep

TRIBE Member
I think ginkgo is overrated. Smart drugs are interesting but as a whole I think the smart drug community are a bit idealistic about just how much reward can be reaped from certain chemicals.

Any kind of stimulant will increase activity per se. But increased activity doesn't mean a tangible increase in useful thoughts. Paradoxically sometimes calming the mind rather than stimulants can lead to more directed less convoluted thinking.
 

PosTMOd

Well-Known TRIBEr
Gingko is a waste of money.

Acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha-lipoic acid in combination were in the news recently, putatively helping mice's brains.

Take your antioxidant vitamins: A, C, and E...

But, before any of these supplements do *anything*, you have to have a base which comes from your overall diet, i.e if you're eating like shit, those things won't do anything.

Eat lots of vegetables, especially leafy green ones, and bright coloured ones.
 
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PosTMOd

Well-Known TRIBEr
Originally posted by Bass-Invader
i find that actually doing something intellectually challenging increases brain power.
Very true. Your brain is like a muscle, in a sense. You have to work out with it, using all sorts of exercises. Regular physical exercise is good, since it increases blood flow, which is what a lot of those "brain drugs" do.
 

deep

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Mr_Furious
what about increasing memory? both long and short term?
Most people think erroneously of memory as a single function when in reality it is a composite of diffuse operations. In other words the way you handle information has more of an effect on whether you remember it than it does taking something per se. In some people agents that raise serotonin in turn benefits memory since serotonin is heavily used by the hippocampal region, one of the major areas of the brain involved in memory. But for the most part I'd say that this effect is overrated (5HTP as a whole is a bit overrated since a lot of it gets absorbed by tissues in the digestive tract).

So back to how to handle information. A lot of the cliched things people have said about memory are nonetheless valid. Make the information personally relevant. Repeat it over and over again. Call upon the information regularly to avoid decay. Network it with other concepts in your mind, try to make connections beyond the facts themselves. The brain is by nature a network and the more connections and relevance you make to a thought the greater the likelihood that it will be remembered. Apply the information in some practical way to help carry some of it over from episodic to procedural memory. Procedural memory is more resistant to wear/tear or loss. For example people who suffer amnesia often forget information from their episodic memory (experiences they've had, things they knew), but retain the ability to perform tasks and functions (procedural memory).

That all being said I'm damned surprised I remember any of this. Hah.
 

gazgiz

TRIBE Member
doesn't the average person only use...something like 20% of their brain anyways? i mean..based on that one would have 80% to burn. :p
 

deep

TRIBE Member
Oh, most people's diets are deficient in essential fatty acids, and these are especially important to overall brain health and function. In fact some studies correlate attention deficit disorder with deficiencies in essential fatty acids.

To elaborate on bass invader and postmod's point about intellectual challenge - to a certain degree it is true for the brain that the more you do something, the better you get at it. Although the adaptability of the brain tends to peak during childhood and adolescence, the brain is still capable of optimizing interconnections and pathways to deal with certain types of information. So the idealists are somewhat right when they say you just have to put your mind to something even if you don't get it at first.
 
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deep

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by gazgiz
doesn't the average person only use...something like 20% of their brain anyways? i mean..based on that one would have 80% to burn. :p
That's actually a popular misnomer, when people say that only parts of the brain are used, it's only referring to at any one time. The entire brain is used, but since functions are distributed across different regions of the brain, sometimes parts of the brain are more active than others. But as a whole all the functions of your brain will be required, unless you're in a coma.
 

noisy

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by deep

To elaborate on bass invader and postmod's point about intellectual challenge - to a certain degree it is true for the brain that the more you do something, the better you get at it.
I've heard that intellectual stimulation (nothing too hardcore, crosswords, reading, learning new activities etc.) can be useful in preventing dementia.

Does anyone know the veracity of this?

And if it is true, could it be extended to people already suffering from, say, Alzheimer's Disease? What about if the person had already suffered fairly significant cognitive deterioration? Are there any activities/supplements/anything else a person whose illness has passed beyond the reach of drugs aimed at slowing cognitive deterioration (like Aricept) could do to mitigate against the effects of the disease?

I realize I'm probably grasping at straws, but I thought I'd ask.
 
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deep

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by noisy


I've heard that intellectual stimulation (nothing too hardcore, crosswords, reading, learning new activities etc.) can be useful in preventing dementia.


Use it or lose it a fairly universal principle when it comes to not only knowledge but abilities of the brain. Studies done on senior citizens have demonstrated that a variety of cognitive capacities decayed not necessarily because of biological precedent but because of a lack of use.


And if it is true, could it be extended to people already suffering from, say, Alzheimer's Disease? What about if the person had already suffered fairly significant cognitive deterioration? Are there any activities/supplements/anything else a person whose illness has passed beyond the reach of drugs aimed at slowing cognitive deterioration (like Aricept) could do to mitigate against the effects of the disease?
This is a bit different, in alzheimer's there is a disease that is actively causing the neurodegeneration, not necessarily a similar state to aging. Because the etiology of the disease is not yet fully understood counteracting it is obviously difficult. However, you're not really grasping at straws since animal studies have shown that a complex environment leads to greater neuronal elaboration. Researchers have extrapolated that more schooling and lifelong mental demands may have an extra reserve capacity to stave off neuronal loss. It has been directly correlated that the level of schooling one has is inversely proportional to the risk of acquiring Alzheimers. This has been observed across cultures, even accounting for age and gender. Why this is true is yet unknown. It could be that a lack of schooling exposes people to the risk factors responsible for Alzheimers. But there is still strong evidence showing that the majority of the problem is biochemical/genetic and not necessarily experiential.
 

Pyrovitae

TRIBE Member
haha ryan, you and your trepanation fetish.

to further elaborate on what deep has mentioned in regards to alzhiemer's...it is true that a post-secondary education can ward off/postpone it, but that it is generally genetically determined.

however, even those who are predisposed may be capable of retaining memory if they keep their minds active...there was a study, (no source, sorry,) done where it was proven factory workers and those who do monotonous tasks on a daily basis for a period of decades were more inclined to become senile later in life. those who were actively challenged in their professions, or even read in their spare time and constantly sought new intellectual experiences for themselves, were not as likely to suffer severe cognitive degeneration.

essentially, i believe, everything you have ever learned is still locked away, potentionally inaccessible in your brain. various theories have been postulated stating that it may be that new information crowds out the old, as well as a few others which i forget.:p (a university lecture on the "persistence of memory" five years ago has escaped me.)

most people only remember the most relevant information that they are exposed to that is neccessay for day-to-day functioning.

for example, phone numbers are approximately 7-digits because that is all the average mind is capable of retaining.

*muah*
~N
 

deep

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Pyrovitae
a university lecture on the "persistence of memory" five years ago has escaped me


hehehe

ps. the seven digits thing actually refers to chunks of information rather than single digits... people can remember larger numbers if the numbers are chunked into subsections (i.e. they could remember a 10 digit number if chunked into 5 chunks of 2 digits)
 

Pyrovitae

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by deep


hehehe

ps. the seven digits thing actually refers to chunks of information rather than single digits... people can remember larger numbers if the numbers are chunked into subsections (i.e. they could remember a 10 digit number if chunked into 5 chunks of 2 digits) [/B]
52 91 28 76 31

now close your eyes and tell me what i just said. no cheating! ;)interesting theory...i wasn't aware of that. (logically it makes sense though, it seems that for our mind to ever really grasp anything there has to be the ability to relate/associate with the concept involved. it's basic processing. [well. maybe not *that* basic.])

*muah*
~N
 

deep

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Pyrovitae


52 91 28 76 31

now close your eyes and tell me what i just said. no cheating! ;)interesting theory...i wasn't aware of that.
It's the troof! If you break it up into larger chunks so there are less of them it becomes slightly easier
 
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sugar

TRIBE Member
It's 7 + or - 2 chunks of info :)

Last week I was hanging out with some gals, and somehow we got on the topic of personality disorders (because there was this girl in our class that was extremely irritating and, coincidentally, was a dead ringer for "Pat" from Saturday Night Live). So, I start blabbing on about the criteria, etiology, and treatment prognosis for various personality disorders...until my friend comments that she can't believe how much I know about the subject. Then it hit me: I actually remember the stuff I learned at school!!! *And* I was able to put it to good use!

Imagine that...especially coupled with the fact that I was doing teh drugs throughout most of my highschool and university career. Who'd a thunk it---a stoner with all A's.
 

Pyrovitae

TRIBE Member
i'm curious, does anyone know anything about having a (seemingly) exceptional memory?

i know what i wore valentine's day 1992. i can recite verbatim a shakespearean soliloqy i learned in an hour when i was 17. i have a billion quotes stuck in my head. i used to think my memory was photographic, (and while i realize that's not true, it feels close to it.)

this is not info i use on a daily basis. am i just some kinda weird freak?

*muah*
~N

(the obvious answer is "yes" :D)
 

noisy

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Pyrovitae
i know what i wore valentine's day 1992. i can recite verbatim a shakespearean soliloqy i learned in an hour when i was 17. i have a billion quotes stuck in my head. i used to think my memory was photographic, (and while i realize that's not true, it feels close to it.)
Really? I do the same thing, right down to the soliloqy (although it's one of the more famous ones, so it's hard to forget it). Freaky.

I tend to remember useless things. Song lyrics, verbatim conversations I had years ago. The perk is that I play a mean game of Trivial Pursuit.

thanks for everyone's thoughtful posts on AD. I wonder if any of that can be translated into practical things to do for someone living with the disease. . . like reading to someone, or doing excercises with them? Of the many care workers who march through my family's home each week (a member of my family has early onset AD), one of them used to do little writing excercises with him. It seemed to me more of an exercise in frustration though, as each week he did worse, until he lost the ability to write at all. On the other hand, he does seem to flourish when given tasks to complete that are within the realm of his ability. It's just that, as time passes, there are fewer and fewer things he is actually able to do.

Treatment, in terms of actually fighting the dementia, is only effective in the beginning stages, if at all. The most it can do is delay the inevitable. After that, care consists of basically making the person as comfortable as possible. It is difficult to watch someone you know slowly lose their ability to express themselves, to conduct daily activities, basically lose their ability to think, knowing that there is nothing you can do, especially when it strikes someone young. For that reason, I can't seem to shake the delusion that one day I will stumble across something I can do to make him better.
 
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