Taking Posit Science Brain Fitness class. Three times a week (M-W-F), three hours per session, total: 40 sessions. It's intended to improve self-confidence as "you think faster, focus better, and remember more." Brain Fitness Program is said to improve the quality and quantity of the information your brain absorbs from your ears. It's said to speed up auditory processing and improve working memory by an average of 10 years. So I sign up.Administered by Santa Cruz Adult Education and our Instructor is an elementary school teacher. Truth be told, I love her manner... she's warm-hearted, enthusiastic, comes to class prepared and I know I'm getting more out of this disciplined classroom approach than I would be working at home on a $365. software program. And Adult Education charges $30. Ex-1960s hippie, I'm alarmed to learn that MRI's show "Islands of Inactivity" in the brains of those fried by marijuana.
Twelve or so students show up for the first class and, when asked why we are taking the class, one woman says she'd had a brain aneurism (sp?) and wanted "to find out what's left." Another said she had had electric shock therapy... others, like myself, were having problems remembering names. Also find I'm constantly making "to do" lists, reminders... in my DayTimer. Remembering names, everyone agrees, that's a universal problem.And we learn that many things can mess with the brain, including insomnia. Also poor diet, booze, drugs, trauma... and just plain aging. Anyway, all of us, for whatever reason, sense some slippage. A loose connection of two...
Learned that there are as many brain cells (100 billion) as there are stars in the galaxy. That some dendrites are very long. Several inches... That giraffes, says the instructor, have brain cells that are 6 to 8 feet long and that every cell in the human brain is replaced every 7 or 8 years. So you have, so speak, a very different brain now, for example, than you did eight years ago when George Bush first became President.
Talked to 81 year old man who lives in a Senior Trailer park in Santa Cruz. "There are funerals every day... they're going like flies... they're going like dying is going out of style."Later, in the Men's Room, the two of us side by side, he said how difficult he found it to do the brain exercises. At least _that_ day... and, dick in hand, he said, "At least now I know what I'm doing." Anyway, just as eons ago continents were once joined in a solid mass, e.g., Australia and South America; Russia and North America, so too were our brains once more of a piece, said the instructor, adding "You generate new brain cells all the time... right up to the minute you die, you're generating new brain cells." And brain cells travel to where they are needed. The brain of a musician is different from the brain of an athlete. But if an athlete seeks to become a musician, the brain cells begin to accommodate. There's something called brain plasticity... Until your last breath your mind can change.
In older people, the brain shrinks. You use it or you lose it. As you age, the cerebral cortex thins... Brain Fitness class is intended to strengthen your neuronal connections and release those neurotransmitters, dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine which enable plasticity. So it says in the course description.
Reading list includes Sharon Begley's "Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain," with Foreword by the Dalai Lama. In fact, Sharon Begley's book makes clear --she's a first rate writer-- the connection or collaboration between neuroscience and Buddhism.
Causes Robert Sward Supports
Audubon Society, National Geographic, "Green," the Environment, SPCA...