The brain is the most complex part of the human body. It is the center of intelligence, interprets senses, and controls behavior and initiates body movement.
The adult human brain weighs about 3 pounds and is composed of 1 billion to 1 trillion neurons. Neurons are specialized cells that uses electrical signals to transmit information to other nerve cells, gland, or muscle cells. It is the primary functional unit of the brain.
All movement, thoughts, senses, memories, and feelings are the result of signals that pass through these neurons. Attached to the neuron are short finger-like protuberances called dendrites. Messages are passed from neuron to neuron through the dendrites.
As a person ages, the death of a certain amount of neurons is a natural process. Diseases, stress, depression, head injuries, alcohol, medications, and many other causes contribute to the death of neurons in large numbers. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and cerebral vascular accidents are a few of the more common causes of neuron death.
The number of and efficiency of the neuron and the dendrites determine how well the brain functions. In regard to a brain scan, a person with a healthy well-functioning brain will have a scan that is dense, like the map of Manhattan. The person with a neurological disorder that produces neuron death may have a scan that looks like a map of Kansas.
Scientists now believe that the brain can and does grow new dendrites and neurons. These can benefit anyone no matter how low or high functioning or how young or old the person is. This is achieved by stimulating the brain with challenging, novel-enriched activities. This is the basis of the Brain Fitness Exercises. These exercises were tested over a 2-year period by older adults in Port Charlotte, Florida.
Getting the Body Ready
Body Awareness, Motor Function, and Coordination
Crossing the Midline
Language and Communication