What’s the most important single thing your brain needs?
October 3rd, 2016 by NHI
What do paleontologists and brain scientists have in common?
They agree on the most important need of the human brain.
Evolutionary paleontologists dig up and examine fossilized human remains dating back as much as three million years. They’ve concluded there’s been one special substance that has allowed human brains to develop into high-performing intellectual machines.
And medical researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital in Canada have discovered that a healthy aging brain requires plenty of the very same substance.
Here’s why good circulation to your brain is so important. . .
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This “Forbidden” Food
A 30-year Canadian study that analyzed how the human brain ages shows that the very first sign of developing Alzheimer’s disease is a decrease in blood flow to brain cells.
The research involved more than 7,700 brain images from more than 1,100 people and included magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) and positron emission tomography (PET). The scientists also tested blood and cerebrospinal fluid and administered cognitive tests to the people in the study.1
After analyzing all of the data, they concluded that alterations in blood flow represented the earliest warning sign that Alzheimer’s disease was a threat to a person’s memory. Their tests also revealed that declines in intellectual ability start earlier in the disease progression than most scientists think.
The Canadian scientists emphasized that their detailed analysis would not have been possible without feeding their data into high powered computers. The research entailed charting the accumulation of amyloid beta in the subjects’ brains, recording glucose metabolism, and detailing blood flow to various parts of the brain, while recording functional activity and measuring shrinkage of 78 areas of the brain.
That’s quite a list of variables. The analysis and compilation of all this data took up thousands of hours of computer time.
Bigger Brains, Getting More Blood
At the same time as the Canadian study has outlined the importance of blood flow to the aging brain, evolutionists at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa and the University of Adelaide in Australia have shown that an ever increasing blood flow has been instrumental in the expansion of brain power in humans as they have evolved over the past three million years.2
As researcher Edward Snelling concludes from the examination of fossilized human remains – “Ancient fossil skulls from Africa reveal holes where the arteries supplying the brain passed through. The size of these holes show how blood flow increased from three-million-year-old Australopithecus to modern humans.”
According to the researchers, while brain size has certainly played a role in producing smarter humans – human brain volume has increased by 350 percent in three million years – the supply of blood to the brain has been even more important: During that same period, blood flow has increased by 600 percent.
Essential to Keep the Flow Going
One important way to keep the blood pumping in and out of your brain: consistent exercise.
That doesn’t mean just exercising once in a while. You have to keep up your cardiovascular fitness week after week to maintain your brain fitness.
Don’t just take my word for it. Research at the University of Maryland on physically fit seniors shows that skipping ten days of exercise shrinks blood flow to the brain, especially to the hippocampus, the seat of your memory.3
As researcher J. Carson Smith notes, “The take-home message is simple – if you do stop exercising for ten days, just as you will quickly lose your cardiovascular fitness, you will also experience a decrease in blood brain flow.”
So keep that blood flow going – it’s the best way to keep your thoughts and memories flowing, too.