Health Science

How can the average person become smarter?

Are we speaking here of knowing more? That we can do by reading, taking course work, even watching educational programs that increase our knowledge.

Or are we talking about improving our brain’s ability to learn?

Our brains are like many parts of our body that  can improve their function with “exercise.” Doing crossword puzzles, reading, or learning, doing math problems -sudoku- playing chess-or physically doing puzzles are great brain exercises. Basically engaging in mental processes helps retain and improve cognitive function- to a point. 

Cognitive function can still be lost over time due to age or illness such as Alzheimer’s.

The BrainThe following paragraph is taken from an article from NIH, the National Institute of Health:

“Understanding the molecular basis of the effects of food on cognition will help us to determine how best to manipulate diet in order to increase the resistance of neurons to insults and promote mental fitness.”

While certain dietary restrictions or additions are believed to promote a healthy brain, the quantifiable affect is still being studied. We will know and understand a lot more within the next few years. 

While you are waiting for those results, why not eat healthy. Check out “The Better Brain Book” (David Perlmutter MD) at your local library either on line if it is offered. or in person and read it.

There are also supplements that claim to give a benefit when taken, that return your brain to its functional capacity as it was years before. 

There is dispute and controversy over their claims. There are also potential negative effects from substances used within those supplements, so before taking them ask your doctor. 

Supplements are being blind studied and the true benefits should be known soon. One has already engaged such a study, but the results are controversial as they were run under the auspices of the manufacturer and need to be redone by independent unaffiliated labs.

There are things you can do to prevent loss of cognitive ability- wear a helmet when riding, avoid brain trauma by avoiding activities that put your brain at risk- mainly contact sports.

If you are a young adult and are having children, some studies suggest that breastfeeding your infant longer than six months- even up to two years helps increase brain function (mentioned in the IQ Blog) as well as making sure you have a proper medically supervised diet during pregnancy and proper pre-natal care. 

When you have children, read to them frequently, and engage with them in activities that stimulate their thinking. Take them to museums, or zoos, or places they can see and learn. Explore  science with them. Attend a local astronomy club meeting and go to a “Star Party” where they can look through telescopes and see the moon and planets.

Many professors do outreach programs and love to share their passion with young students. Call your local college or university and ask if they have programs that might be of interest to you and your children.

While being smarter might be something you set as a goal, why not be WISER? 

Wisdom comes from learning and experience. Learn from the mistakes you have made in your life and impart them to others. READ and acquire the  knowledge of others and use it to enrich your own life. One book I suggest is Esquire’s “The Meaning of Life Wisdom, Humor and Damned Good Advice from 64 Extraordinary Lives” 

The older we get, the faster time seems to pass- mainly because our brains process time relative to our age. The longer we live, each year is a smaller percentage of how long we have lived. 

Don’t waste time. It is precious. Use your time to improve your life and better the life of others. When I was young, my father used to say “use every minute to improve your mind or the health of your body.” It was wise advice.

What are your thoughts on not only becoming smarter but gaining wisdom?

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