Showing posts with label Neurons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Neurons. Show all posts

May 31, 2011

Alcohol Does Not Kill Brain Cells

Time to debunk another popular myth. Research has shown that the quantity of alcohol you could possibly take in, without killing yourself, does not introduce enough alcohol into your bloodstream to kill brain cells. This was proven by a study by Grethe Jensen and co. in 1993. They meticulously counted neurons in matched samples of non-alcoholics and alcoholics.  They found no real difference in the density or overall number of neurons between the two groups.  Other research has backed up those findings. 

According to a study done at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, in Italy, 29% of people 65 years or older who almost never drank alcohol throughout their life had mental impairment issues. About 19% of people 65 years or older who drank moderate amounts of alcohol regularly had any mental impairment. It was further discovered that, among the various groups where other problems might impair them mentally, the same trend appeared. In every group, those who drank moderately on a regular basis throughout their lives always had a less chance of becoming mentally impaired in their old age compared to those who didn’t drink at all or almost never drank.

Scientists also once believed that the number of nerve cells you have in your brain, once you reach adulthood, was fixed. They have now discovered that new neurons are continuously created in the adult brain.

There are other side effects of alcohol on your brain, such as developing Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which is characterized by: confusion, coordination problems, hallucinations, memory problems, eye problems, and even inducing a coma or death, if left untreated.  Excessive alcohol consumption over a long period of time causes a vitamin B1 deficiency, because alcohol inhibits the body’s ability to absorb thiamine.

Aug 31, 2010

Brain Myth Debunked

Many still believe that we only use about 10 percent of our brains, even after science has proven otherwise.

Many sources of this misinformation appear to point to an American psychologist of the early 1900s named William James, who said, "the average person rarely achieves but a small portion of his or her potential." The media has long perpetuated that into "only using 10 percent of our brain".

In addition to those 100 billion neurons, the brain is also full of other types of cells that are continually in use. We can become disabled from damage to just small areas of the brain depending on where it's located, so there is no way that we could function with only 10 percent of our brain in use.

Brain scans have shown that no matter what we are doing, our brains are always active. Some areas are more active at any one time than others, but unless we have brain damage, there is no one part of the brain that is absolutely not functioning. Here is an example. If you are sitting at a table and eating a sandwich, you are not actively using your feet. You are concentrating on bringing the sandwich to your mouth, chewing and swallowing it. But that doesn't mean that your feet aren't working -- there is still activity in them, such as blood flow, even when you are not actually moving them. Also true - alcohol does not really kill brain cells.