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What stimulates brain cell growth?

I just want to know.

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    Aug 3 2012: It has been touched on here and is a well known stimulant to brain cell growth. DO HARD STUFF! Whether you learn a language or spend a whole day using your non-dominant hand or learn a new skill. The more active it is the more resources your body puts into it. Yo-Yo, left-handed Yo-Yo, mountain biking, juggling, musical instrument, paddle a kayak, write a book. It doesn't really matter what you do just don't stop doing new stuff.
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      Aug 3 2012: Would that include a new reality tv show? Maybe use my left hand for the remote?
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        Aug 4 2012: Pat,
        Be careful....don't do too much all at once! LOL:>)

        We don't stop playing because we grow old...we grow old because we stop playing!
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    Aug 3 2012: Stop drinking alcohol, it will increase the net growth significantly.
  • Aug 3 2012: Perhaps certain fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, herbs. Perhaps increasing the quantity of new activities per day. Doing things differently. People with behavior and speech repetition patterns seem to be less interesting, less intelligent than people who vary their use of language and their behaviors. Learning new things.
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    Jul 30 2012: I do know that fish oil is very good for your brain and helps make you active.

    I also found that, a good practice to stimulate your brain, is to ask lots of questions, particularly the "why" questions. So maybe just ask "why" for everything you do. Why do I brush my teeth every morning? Why did I get up at 6 AM instead of 7 AM today. Why do I only eat cereal for breakfast?

    Why do I brush my teeth every morning? Because it's a routine. Because I won't get bad breath. Because it's good for the teeth. Why is it good for the teeth? Because of its chemical compounds. Why is it a routine? Because it's ingrained into our brain and humans are repetitive creatures who do a lot of things by habit. Why do the chemical compounds in the toothpaste get rid of germs on your teeth? I don't know cuz I wasn't really good at chemistry lol.

    But you get the idea.
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      Jul 30 2012: Dear James,
      There you go again....being logical, rational, insightful!!!

      I totally agree that USING our brain and asking questions stimulates it.

      Since you write about brushing your teeth....try this....brush with the non-dominant hand, and have fun with it! LOL

      Changing our routines and introducing new "stuff" stimulates the brain as well, because it causes the brain to accept something different and creates new neural pathways. Change what you eat for breakfast, change the route you take to work or school. Do things at different times in your daily routine. You're right, we do a lot of things by habit.

      When we change those routines, and become more mindful....like you say....ask questions of ourselvs, it causes the neural pathways of our brain to get used to change. Then when there is, in fact, a big change in our lives, we are more capable of dealing with it.

      I really think/feel this to be one of the important factors in why I am functioning after a near fatal head/brain injury, when the prognosis was not so good. I LIKE change in my life. I EMBRACE change. When I regained consciousness, after an emergency craniotomy and kept alive on life support systems, I was told I would never function "normally" again.

      In the back of my mind (such as it was), I knew I learned certain things before, and would learn them again to the best of my ability. I'm functioning at a much higher level then expected, based on the severity of the injury, and I believe in large part it is because the brain (what was left of it) readjusted:>)

      I cannot give you any more thumbs up....I'm cut off for the week!!! Sending you a smile........:>)
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        Jul 30 2012: Thanks! :)

        And using the left hand for a lot of things is pretty interesting idea I didn't think about. I will definitely try it some time...

        And your case with that brain injury is also very intriguing as well. It's pretty amazing how you adapted to the change where you wouldn't be "normal" again, and there are then new things for you to try as a result. Kind of like how some people go blind, but then as a result your other senses are amplified. Like because you can't see anything anymore, this offers a new perspective in interpreting things. All your other senses as a result will amplify. Maybe Ray Charles, the blind musician, heard something that other people didn't. Then an even more interesting case was Beethoven, the deaf composer and pianist. How can he be deaf and still find music fascinating? There's something that he sees that others simply cannot.

        My mom was also on a bus full of blind people one time, it was some kind of convention. The blind people can tell which cane is theirs just by feeling them. One time the bus driver was also like "hmm I gotta check where we are, I don't know which highway this is..." and one of the blind guys remarked, "I'm pretty sure we're on I-35," and after verifying, the blind guy was right. How do they know????

        And thanks again! More smiles are much appreciated :)
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          Jul 30 2012: You're welcome James:>)

          I LOVE doing these little experiments/explorations, and maybe it will keep the brain stimulated. If not, I'm having fun with life anyway:>)

          Yes, the injury, and all parts of the experience were, and continue to be intriguing. I call it lovingly, my final exam. Although I suspect I will have more challenges before I take my last breath. I will still be exploring at that time:>)

          You are absolutely right that when some of our senses are challenged, others take up the slack. My friends who are blind sometimes "see" a lot more than sighted people. You bring up a good point with composers, and what they did even with certain challenges.....or maybe BECAUSE of the challenges?

          LOVE your story about your mom on the bus! I have a blind friend who stayed with me once in awhile. When she first came, she kept her seeing eye dog harnessed and in service until she found her way around. The next time she came, she let the dog free in the house, and she always KNEW exactly where she was going...she sensed space, distance, direction, etc. It absolutely amazed me.

          So, after she left once, I tried an experiment. I blindfolded myself and tried to navigate through the house. I've lived here for many years, so I had a little success, but still bumped into a LOT of things! I asked the same question as you ask...How do they know???

          After only one tour through the house...up stairs, down stairs, various rooms, etc., she KNEW EXACTLY where she was going in the house. She did the same thing in the gardens, once she was familier with the paths, bridge, etc. IT IS AMAZING!!!
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        Jul 30 2012: That's really awesome to hear that you're happy with yourself! There should srsly be more people like you, who are as optimistic about life, who look forward to these overcoming the challenges in life. It's hard to accomplish things when you don't enjoy yourself while doing it.

        Amazing indeed! It's like having another superpower. Like a blind person walks into the a room, and then goes "Pfft, weak sauce, I instantly know where everything is." Or maybe he/she just smells and just instantly knows lol. I bet a blind person can simply walk through a mine field no problem.

        Your friend is very interesting! She kinda reminds me of a Marvel hero named DareDevil. The guy is a blind lawyer but his other senses are way stronger, so he can sense a person's heartbeat and tell if someone's lying or nervous.
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          Aug 1 2012: Well thank you James! It seems like YOU have this perception as well huh?

          I wouldn't actually say that I "overcome" challenges. I accept challenges as learning opportunities. Different perception, in my experience. Are you aware of one of the basic principles of Martial arts? Come from the core with strength and yield.

          My "core" is based on the idea that life is about learning, and with that belief, there is strength. I "yield" to the challenges with an underlying feeling of strength. You know...how in martial arts we can actually be in a better position with strength and yielding? So, that's how I perceive life challenges.

          With this process, this mantra is also very helpful to me...
          "Grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference"

          Sometimes, for example, life circumstances CANNOT be changed (example: my head injury, cancer, abusive father, broken leg....bla....bla.....bla)
          I cannot change the reality of those circumstances.

          I CAN, however, change my perception of the circumstances (accept the reality at that moment), and gather information, which gives me wisdom (hopefully) to decide how to move on with more strength than BEFORE the challenging circumstance. Make any sense?

          And to me, the process is ALL enjoyable...challenges and all...I find it quite fascinating:>)
          The more we are open to acceptance and learning, the more "powerful" a life force it becomes:>)
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        Aug 1 2012: I have pretty much agreed with everything you've said.

        My "core" is the same. Life is about learning, and we can never really stop learning as long as we're alive.

        "Grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference" That's a very good quote! It's quite true, there are just a ton of things you simply can't change, so that's when you need a "smarter" solution, not a "stronger" solution. I should srsly, start making a collection of these quotes...

        And that makes perfect sense! My mom has pretty much said the exact same things to me before lol. You can't be Superman. You can't be someone who you are not, and you shouldn't. You can only be you, so just accept what you have and what you are, and use them to your advantage.

        Yeah, sometimes the joy is in the process, as opposed the final result. But sometimes, people find much satisfication with the final result and can look past the process.
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          Aug 1 2012: I agree James...we can never really stop learning, unless that is the choice we make. I will be learning while taking my last breath on this earth school:>)

          I have a collection of quotes, and use them ALL the time as reminders of how to navigate the life experience. There is a LOT of information available to us, even in these quick little quotes. Information about the life experience has been passed down to us throughout history....we simply need to pay attention:>)

          Glad to hear that your mom and I are on the same page!!! LOL:>)

          I like THAT one..."accept what you have and what you are, and use them to your advantage".

          Reminds me of another good simple one...
          "Be happy with what you have and you will have plenty to be happy about..."
          (Irish proverb)

          Lots of people look past the process without noticing, and then they are searching, seeking all those things we find during the process!!! LOL

          Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass....it is about learning to dance in the rain. Happiness/contentment is not simply a destination.... it is a way of travel:>)
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        Aug 1 2012: I'm sure you and my mom would be pretty good friends :)

        Alright, I'm gonna start collecting a bunch of quotes now lol

        I bet we could literally carry a conversation using nothing but quotes and proverbs. That would be amazing haha
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        Aug 1 2012: Nice share! I shall start my quote-collecting with that thread.

        My mom would love to here that :)
        I can try to arrange something like that in the future!
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          Aug 1 2012: Yeah...moms ALWAYS like to hear good things about our kids:>)

          That would be VERY COOL! It would not be the first time I got connected with extended family members of people I connected with on TED. It is SO GREAT!!! It just happens that my daughter doesn't live too far from where you live, so ya never know!!!

          Connecting with people.....that is one of the most brain stimulating activities I know!
          It's pretty fun too:>)
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        Aug 1 2012: lol, I'm glad you have that kind of enthusiasm :)
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        Aug 3 2012: Dang, I've got some work to do!
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          Aug 4 2012: Just checking James...did you do your work yet? LOL:>)
      • Aug 3 2012: Colleen and James, I have reached my maximum on "thumbs up" for both of you. I am very glad you are here expressing your true thoughts and feelings. They are quite valuable. Thank you. Write on! Right on!
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        Aug 4 2012: @Colleen

        I'm still kinda working on it, may take a while... like a lifetime while lol, but one at a time :)
    • Aug 3 2012: I agree with everything you said except the question thing. I think questions come from a different place in people. I think questions limit answers and limit the people asking the questions. Also, they manipulate people.
      I believe people should express themselves and allow others to respond as they respond rather than be directed along the narrow path the questioner directs them to travel. A agree with Colleen's point about increasing connections with people. That's probably the best thing to accomplish many positive goals of human beings.
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        Aug 4 2012: Hi Rhona,
        I'm maxed out on thumbs for you too!

        I definitely agree that questions come from different places in different people, and can at times be limiting, depending on what a person's intention is. Questioning used sarcastically, or with intent to "trap" people in a certain dialogue can indeed limit and manipulate a conversation. I realize that some people perceive questioning as a form of interogation, and are not comfortable with questioning. Usually, I can "feel" the intent of questions from others and simply stay focused on the issue without being led astray. It's very common here on TED (and maybe in our world in general) to try to manipulate a conversation to their own advantage,

        Questioning in myself is how I get answers, so I like questioning when it is honest and genuine. My questions are to get information and genuinely learn about and connect with people, just as my questions to myself are for the purpose of learning. We always have choices to answer questions or not, and I respect some folk's choice not to participate in a questioning dialogue.

        I perceive James' questioning of himself in the comment you are responding to as a way to move a common activity beyond the habitual state by being more aware of why....how.....when.....etc.:>)
        • Aug 4 2012: Thanks for all the thumbs up, Colleen. I hear you on the subject of questions. I get that from everyone. I have had this position on questions for years now. I guess it started when I observed the impact of questioning in courtrooms. Also, intuitively, I feel questions are suspect in miscellaneous ways. For example, some questions (all?) contain their responses or the nature of their responses. I do hear you, but I am still skeptical about questions. I think if a person can convert their question into a statement, the hearer has the opportunity to respond as they respond, absent manipulation. Approximately everyone I know agrees with you on this subject of "questions." At this point, I still agree with myself. I prefer communication that does not contain questions. Asking and answering does not feel right to me. I found out after I had this position that some dead guy named Rebbe Nachman of Breslov had the same point of view as I do about questions. He also said a few other interesting things. Have a wonderful day, you wonderful woman. Glad you are here. Thank you for expressing your true feelings and thoughts.
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        Aug 4 2012: Hi again Rhona:>)

        Well yeah! Courtroom questioning is definitely "leading the witness"...LOL:>) BOTH sides are trying to get what they want to hear. Luckily, I've only been in court proceedings as a member of the jury! Lawyers certainly know how to manipulate information REALLY well!

        I don't agree that questions always contain their responses, and that's ok....we don't have to agree ALL the time:>) If I am on the asking side, I definitely am open to what the other person wants to express. If I am the one who is questioned, I KNOW that I have a choice regarding how I choose to answer, so I don't feel like the answer is already there for the question. Interesting thought though....I'm still pondering....:>)

        If one converts a question to a statement, there is obviously no more question, so I'm not sure how that works.

        Agreeing with yourself and practicing what you are comfortable with is the absolute best answer for you:>) I appreciate you and your thoughts as well:>)
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        Aug 5 2012: Me too...no question about that:>)
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    Jul 30 2012: Alcohol, some of you may scoff but if this is not true why do you feel smarter after you have consumed alcohol?
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      Jul 30 2012: In balance, I will share something i reported here when I read it and that is that in the'Canadian Journal of medicine" it was reported that studies indicate the no level of alcohol at all is safe for anyone who has experienced (or maybe will experience) cancer. It gives us all pause when we think about the touted benefits of alcohol. MAD mothers already have their own certainties about it.
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      Jul 30 2012: Pat,
      You said it...."FEEL smarter". That doesn't mean we ARE smarter. I've seen people under the influence who think thay are the most wonderful, charming, intelligent, insightful people, when in fact, they are making an ass of themselves.......yes? Everything in moderation is my belief, and I don't feel "smarter", I simply feel that I have enjoyed a lovely glass of wine or cold beer!
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        Aug 3 2012: You know contrary to popular opinion Pat does occasionally have his tongue firmly planted in his cheek.
  • Aug 5 2012: Tea from Moringa leaves will help. You can search information on the internet.
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    Jul 30 2012: Well, just stimuli of all kinds. As more and more often as better. Those stimuli should be proportional to the given capacity of the brain at a given time yet with a little surplus for the challange of growth and the continuation of curiosity and its rewarding pleasure. It's all in the 'inner networking' and it works best at young age.
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    Jul 29 2012: Strangley as it seems one of the things that I am holding onto for dear life and one of the things that recent research indicates is that a stroke can encourage new growth of brain cells - not just energies and resources for rewiring and repair but maybe brand new growth. A surgery for a benign tumour in my spine resulted in two blot clots to my brainstem and I want not only to be all I was but all i can be with new growth.
    • Jul 30 2012: I also read this online too today. A synthetic chemical similar to the active ingredient in marijuana makes new cells grow in rat brains. What is more, in rats this cell growth appears to be linked with reducing anxiety and depression. The results suggest that marijuana, or its derivatives, could actually be good for the brain.
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        Jul 30 2012: Hmmm, could these new cell growth in the rat brains have any correlation to the effect of "being high?"
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      Jul 30 2012: That's really interesting... So what you're saying is, if you survive the tumor, you would become a super-human being with the power of brain cell growth/reparation?? So, that means you'll be like an X-men or something lol

      But in all seriousness, best wishes for you, I'm rooting for you! :)
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        Jul 30 2012: X-(wo)man maybe! Just joking. The interesting thing is that it only lasts for a short time so I have to capitalize on it now! Your good wishes mean the world to me, thank you!

        PS my xray vision is revealing too much - better get dressed!
        Don't worry,more joking!