FILE - Two women talk on a park bench on Sept. 27, 2020, in Vancouver, Canada.
(Photo by Andrew Chin/Getty Images) Newly-published research on keeping the human brain sharp emphasizes the old adage, "use it or lose it."A research paper, published last month in the journal Brain Sciences by scientists in Norway, looked at the key factors related to maintaining a person’s brain function as they age. They analyzed previous research in the field of brain health, offering 101 references to articles on how to keep the brain’s grey and white matter in shape — the keys to our nervous system. "Three factors stand out if you want to keep your brain at its best," Hermundur Sigmundsson, a professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's (NTNU) Department of Psychology, said in a statement. These factors, physical exercise, being social, and having strong interests, "help to develop and maintain the basic structures of our brain as we get older," Sigmundsson said.Researchers have found that loneliness might actually help build and strengthen parts of the brain tied to the imagination and thinking of others.The researchers note how the brain should function its best — think learning, remembering, and reasoning — when the gray and white matter is kept "in shape." Gray matter in the brain is needed for cognitive functions.
It refers to regions throughout the brain where nerve cells – known as neurons – are concentrated, according to Dr. Christopher M.
Filley, a professor of neurology and psychiatry and the director of the behavioral neurology section at the University of Colorado Medical School. Filley was not involved with the research paper. White matter is comprised of billions of axons, which are like long cables
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