Neural Degeneration

1 Jun 2012
Author: Lindsay Johnson
Read time: 7 min
Category: Archive

Genetic theory specifies three major factors in brain health and/or degeneration:

  1. Extensive scientific research and studies reveal that premature aging may be in our DNA. At the end of linear human chromosomes are inactive, repetitive DNA sequences called telomeres. These telomeres shorten with each cellular division. When they become too short, they become unkempt and initiate an end to a cell's division, causing the cell to eventually die.
  2. Various key genes on our chromosomes - either up or down - regulate such causing activity or inactivity as we age, which in turn initiates cellular declination and eventual death.
  3. Mammalian species tend to have their outside life span determined by the rule of six. In most mammals, if you multiply the time it takes for the mammal to reach neurological maturity by six, you reveal the approximate life span of the species. In humans, for example, it takes about 20 years for the brain to reach maturity; the maximum appears to be about 120 years.
  4. Disease theory outlines ten causative reasons for brain decline:

    1. First, we degrade DNA and initiate cell death by free radicals - that we cause - from poor food choices, environmental toxins, and ingested and absorbed heavy metals. The more free radicals we create through unhealthy living, the greater degradation of the chromosomes that cause the brain and all other organs to falter.
    2. Low blood pressure is clearly linked to brain degeneration due to obvious reasons. The less circulatory activity we have reaching this essential organ, the higher the likelihood of anatomical degradation.
    3. Low blood sugar causes brain cell death since glucose is one of the three essential fuels for all cells, including neurons in the brain. The other two being essential fatty acids and oxygen. Obviously, when we lack glucose via low blood sugar, lack of this essential fuel precipitates cell death.
    4. Although low density lipids (LDL) - known as the bad cholesterol - can be a major culprit in creating poor health when it is chronically too low, it does not allow for the essential fatty acids to be readily available food for brain cells. Although it is a subtle yet fundamental coordination between the so-called bad cholesterol and good fats, it clearly illustrates that it is mandatory in the quest to maintain healthy brain function.
    5. Being underweight may appear to be more attractive than being overweight, but not when it comes to the function of the brain. After decades of evidential science, the ratio of those with dementia and other brain-related problems are markedly higher for the skinny than they are for those fitting into a "normal" weight range.
    6. Eliminating trans fats from one's diet (i.e., processed vegetable oils) has proven to be an important way to reduce cell death in the brain. Sticky protein linked to dementia and Alzheimer's disease is indirectly caused via the consumption of trans fats.
    7. Non-nutritive, high caloric diets - that generally cause unhealthy weight gain - spark the reduction of oxygen flow throughout the body as well as to the brain. By restricting this pinnacle nutritional element to the cells, it initially causes lethargy, potential confusion and ultimately the demise of brain cells.
    8. Lacking essential vitamins - such as vitamin B12, B6, E and C - is a set-up for the perfect scenario to harm brain function. These basic elements maintain general body-cell health and specifically create strong uncompromising brain cell function.
    9. Inadequate physical exercise is generally not considered a food, yet is one of the most important resources that the brain needs to survive. Many studies - such as those of Canadian researcher, Dr. Laurens - has shown that consistent aerobic exercise in populations above 70 years old slash cases of dementia by 50 percent, reduce attention deficit disorder by approximately the same amount, and ultimately provide a user-friendly memory bank for the mature population.
    10. Insufficient mental exercise is another underestimated cognitive facilitator. Exercising your mind has revealed its extraordinary influence on memory and brain mechanics. Harvard Medical School highlighted one study that looked at centurions with the classic Alzheimer's gene that showed no sign of this malevolent disease. Each subject demonstrating exceptional brain function at 100 years old were consistently working on crossword puzzles, reading, socializing and contributing. In the future, we may eventually realize that the single most important way to maintain the function of this vital organ is to conduct mental gymnastics on a daily basis.
    11. Regardless of one's level of health, the human brain begins shrinking over a lifespan beginning at the age of 20. This shrinkage was once thought to be attributable to the mass loss of neurons, but now we understand that this is not the case. Most brain loss (in volume) comes from the shrinkage of the neurons themselves as they lose dendrites and axonal connections to other neurons.

      On average, the human brain loses about 5 to 10 percent of its weight in volume between the ages of 20 and 90 years old. This amounts to one to two percent loss each decade. This decline does not appear to accelerate nor advance, showing that it consistently losses the same amount even as we age chronologically. The greatest loss of neurons and brain shrinkage, rather the normal aging process, occurs in the medial temporal lobes, which utilize acetylcholine as a neurotransmitter, and in the frontal lobes, which utilize dopamine as a neurotransmitter. With normal brain aging the levels of both acetylcholine and dopamine both decline over time. This causes the brain to process some kind of information slower and for certain types of memory processing to reduce.

      Many studies have shown that when the brain loses volume it does not directly correlate with cognitive function. One interesting aspect of such findings is that people with higher education suffer more brain volume loss. In speculation, high levels of lifetime education and learning provide a reserve of brain capacity that resist cognitive decline, even though the brain is shrinking more in volume compared to those with lower levels of education.

      Recovery is important in every aspect of our lives. From the time we become conscious that our body, its organs and their function need to be maintained and supported, we are obligated to adhere to such principles. Practicing these simple truths, prevents neurological diseases. Each of us is fully and totally responsible in the protection and maximization of our mechanical parts to ensure that we may create a full rich healthy life of contribution and excellence.

      Twelve major precepts to protect and preserve the brain and its function

      1. Do not smoke
      2. Exercise regularly
      3. Sleep and rest well
      4. Do not drink alcohol
      5. Avoid and reduce stress
      6. Maintain a positive attitude
      7. Eat organic fruits and vegetables
      8. Consume less total food/calories per day
      9. Maintain healthy weight throughout life
      10. Participate socially and make good friends
      11. Consistently challenge your mind and learn
      12. Maintain adequate levels of vitamins and minerals
      13. Vol 30 Issue 1 page 34

        Share article: