(05/12/14) - Simple tweaks could turn back the clock on your brain by a good 20 years. That could also make for a more efficient brain. The average person has about 71,000 thoughts a day, so it's no wonder our brains get worn out with age.
It controls your thoughts, stores your memories and drives your emotions. Without your brain, you wouldn't be you, says Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman of the University of Texas Center for BrainHealth, "there's not a single asset that you have that's not more important than your brain!"
Bond's fellow researcher Jennifer Zientz helps people learn to process information with a brain-building program, called smart training. She says it's all about saving your cognitive capital, "over your life, what you've done with your brain is you've deposited it, you've used it in certain ways that has built up a reserve."
Jennifer teaches patients three simple strategies: integration is breaking down and summarizing information. Innovation is coming up with solutions to problems. Strategic attention means blocking out useless details.
Dr. Sina Aslan studied the brains of people who completed the smart training program, "brain blood flow as a whole improved by about 12.6 percent."
Most of the patients also increase the speed of communications across brain networks by 30 percent, like attorney and business owner, Chad West, who had four weeks of brain training, "this training actually has completely changed my way of thinking."
Chad learned the "two-one-and-none" technique. He performs the two most important tasks that require the highest level of thinking first, "It's helped my brain come up with new ideas, creative ideas. It's helped me feel more relaxed."
Dr. Chapman says researchers can actually see brain changes after just twelve hours of training, but it isn't a permanent fix. Just like our bodies, you have to keep working out your brain to see the results.