Use It or Lose It

Here’s an interesting technical comment on the subject of brain health. I’d read this book five years or so ago, and it helped to form my ideas on this subject. So it’s no coincidence that I’ve said similar things from my own perspective.

The competition for synaptic space [in the human brain] is intense, and success in finding and maintaining a connection depends on the synapses being active. If they are inactive, owing to damage or disuse, the connections decay and the synapses disappear. Even the neurons may vanish. The health of neural connections in old age, like muscles, requires exercise. The lifelong growth and the maintenance of active connections provide the basis for learning, remembering, and adapting through modifications of the numbers and strengths of synapses, and they require daily exercise. [How Brains Make Up Their Minds, Walter J. Freeman, Columbia University Press, 2000, page 40]

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