Mind Science

Throughout time, scholars have been fascinated by the structure and functioning of the human brain. From the Egyptian era in 1700 BC to Plato and Aristotle's observations years later, the study of the brain has proven to be an area of new discovery and continuous change.

 The 1500s

In the early 1500s, mental functions were found to be associated with the activity of the brain, rather than the heart, as many had previously believed.

The 1700s

In this time period, researchers discovered the peripheral nervous system, by which the brain sends electrical signals to the body.

The 1800s

Understanding of the brain advanced in this century through the development of theories connecting brain locations to specific cognitive functions, and the first systematic division of the brain into regions.

The 1900s

In the twentieth century neuroscience was born, with the development of advanced study techniques at the cellular level, the use of animal and mathematical models, and the emergence of brain imaging technology.

Neuroscience today pulls from multiple disciplines, ranging from chemistry to mathematics to sociology. Even after centuries of study, scholars continue to explore the relationship between events in the brain and people's thoughts, feelings, and actions. Innovative technologies have allowed for life-transforming interventions for people suffering from brain diseases or injuries.

Every day, neuroscience-based technologies are impacting more and more people's lives for the better.

    Brain Facts

  • The human adult brain weighs about 3 lbs
  • The brain can stay alive for up to 6 minutes without oxygen
  • The brain uses about 20% of your body's oxygen, and a quarter of its energy
  • The human brain holds 100 billion neurons, with 1000 trillion connections between them
  • The left hemisphere of the brain has 186 million more neurons than the right hemisphere

Brain Plasticity

Fundamental to the study of neuroscience in the last couple of decades has been the concept of brain plasticity or neuroplasticity. For many years it was believed that our brain connections became fixed when we reached adulthood. But research has now revealed that, in fact, the brain never stops changing in response to new experiences. Plasticity is the brain's ability to change as it encounters new environments and challenges. Changes associated with learning occur mostly at the level of the connections between neurons, called synapses. New connections form, and the internal structure of existing synapses changes, increasing or decreasing their activity and altering the pathways along which information flows.

    Neuroplastic changes occur:

    During childhood - the immature brain grows and organizes itself

    After brain injury - the brain reorganizes to compensate for lost functions and to maximize its remaining functions

    Throughout adulthood - whenever something new is learned or memorized

Research has shown that when you become an expert in a specific domain, larger areas in your brain are brought into play when you are performing that skill. For example, neuroplasticity can be easily observed in the brains of bilingual people and professional musicians. Bilingual brains have larger language processing centers, while musicians have higher gray matter (cortex) volume in motor, auditory and integration regions - all areas that are involved in playing music.

The importance of maintaining lifelong learning and brain fitness cannot be underestimated. Studies show that mental activity is important for maintaining brain health well into old age. Activities such as doing crosswords or other puzzles, although challenging, do not produce as much benefit as a well-designed cognitive training program.

Brain fitness programs use specific cognitive exercises that stimulate neuroplasticity and improve multiple brain functions. Focused brain training stimulates plastic change more efficiently than general activities and challenges. To bring your brain function to its optimal level, you should combine mental activity, daily learning and physical exercise with a scientifically-proven brain fitness program.

Testimonial:

I found my program challenging at times but I persevered and am very happy that I did. By the end of the program I felt I had made significant improvement in my working memory and ability to remain focused and on task.

Tips & Tricks

Explore your world - travelling to new locations requires you to focus more on your environment and adapt to different situations and challenges. Your brain develops with every geographic adventure.