Brain is considered as the most vital organ of the human body. It controls everything from involuntary life-support functions like heartbeat and breathing to the essence of a person’s personality and memory. My goal in this essay is to analyze the factors that cause decline in an individual’s cognitive activity and factors that can reverse that damage. The broad attention is to explore the possible areas of intersection between environment, genetics and ageing.
Mental function is largely determined by three factors, viz, mental lifestyle, role of genetics and flexibility of one’s mind. The power of mind diminishes with age. One clear sign of an aging mind is that it responds slowly to external stimuli like a question, noise etc. An older mind takes longer to learn new things. Cognitive decline starts as early as 20s and this decline is constant irrespective of age. However the rate of this decline varies from person to person.
The question is what causes this variation? While there is no doubt that genetics play a role, I think much of what is attributed to genetics is actually behavior and environment. An interesting example is a report of identical twins, both of whom developed dementia of the Alzheimer’s type; while one was diagnosed in her 60s, the other was not diagnosed until age 83. This is attributable to one’s environment, quality of medical and family care, food and learned behavior difference in how one exercises one’s mind and body. Thus ‘use it or lose it’ holds true here. Solving crossword puzzles daily is good.
Stress regardless of how one uses one’s brain can destroy brain cells. One way to reduce damage due to stress is to meditate on a regular basis. Also walking improves brain function by as much as 50%. Socializing and engaging in creative activities is helpful to people who have Alzheimer or dementia. I believe the best way to prevent one’s brain cells is to exercise one’s brain.