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Enhancing Brain Health

The human being is distinguished from all of animal life by our higher cortical brain function. Only humans have higher cortical function that allows reasoning and choice. All except the most unfortunate of us, have inherited a biological fortune. We have a stunningly good body, whether we think so or not, and a truly amazing brain. Our physical brain knows only what we tell it by the way we live our life. The way we choose to live our daily life determines our state of health-good or bad, whether we like it or not. Health is our physical brain's perfect adaptation of our body to the world it thinks we live in.

This is not about disease, that's different. No one chooses disease. It's just plain bad luck, though often piled on top of bad health. But we each choose our state of health. We can see this as a burden or privilege, a gift or a curse, but we cannot put it down and we cannot get away from it. This is really great news, if we understand the rules, because it is not that hard to take over the controls.

We are each awash with information. We have billions of cells, and each one is constantly signaling its neighbors with highly nuanced chemical messages. Every scrap of tissue has a rich network of nerve connections and hormone receptors, and millions of their signals fly around our body all the time. All the traffic on the Internet and all the phone calls around the world are dwarfed by the information traffic within our body. This is not just a metaphor. We send trillions of internal signals all day, every day, from the moment of our conception until we die. Our brains and every part of our bodies are in a constant "stream of chatter", day and night, year in and year out.

Life is energy. Biology is a delicate balance between growth and decay.  Everything we do physically, everything we eat, everything we think and feel, every emotion and experience changes our body and affects our brain function. Physical exercise and involvement in life trigger great waves of growth throughout our body and brain. The take away message here is that our life choices and our attitude towards the options we have, greatly affect not only brain function but our health in general. More specific approaches to enhancing health will be discussed in future issues.

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