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Better Brain, Better Life

May 16, 2021 by  
Filed under blog

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the human brain and its huge power. The more research I do on the human brain, the more impressed I am about its amazing powers, which are greater than most people realize.

When I look back in time, I am so surprised how recently our human brains invented the automobile, TV, radio, airplanes, rocket ships, submarines, and the many amazing medical breakthroughs. Airplanes were invented in 1903, television as recent as 1927, and the cell phone first came about in 1973.

When I realize that I’ve been on this planet for 77 years, and that those inventions and discoveries occurred mostly in the last century while the earth has been here many millions of years… It’s just remarkable how much we’ve done in such a small amount of time! I can’t even imagine what breakthroughs and inventions we will see in the next 20 or 30 years.

Brains are amazing and they can do a lot more than we fully realize. I was blown away by what scientist were able to teach monkeys to do. They actually taught two monkeys to move an avatar hand by just using their brain. That seems impossible to me, but if a monkey can do that, our brains should be able to do even more very extraordinary things.

Incredibly, our brains also have the power to heal certain diseases by thinking and repeating certain thoughts. Our brains can make us happy or depressed depending on what thoughts we run through our grey matter. It can bolster our immune system and help us heal faster from various medical problems and, yes, it can even make us feel younger as well as stave off the effects of dementia. It can make us feel more relaxed, happier, and increase our social well-being as well as our very lifespan.

So, my challenge to myself and to you is to work hard on making our brains work for us. Let’s get our brains working on giving us a better life and talking our brains into giving us greater inner happiness. But how can we program our brains to do this? Use positive self-talk to change your brain.

Here are a few of my favorite self-talk lines:

1.  I am happy and healthy.

2.  I’m very upbeat and positive.

3.  I love my life. I love my wife.

4.  I have many great friends.

5.  I feel like a healthy 40-year-old with great energy, not a 77-year-old!

Now, let’s all work on and use good, mind-lifting self-talk comments to teach our brains to take care of our bodies and lift our life.

You Don’t Have to Age

April 18, 2021 by  
Filed under blog

 Source: New York Times, Oct. 31, 2006 Photo Jeff Miller, U of Wisconsin

I am only 35 months away from hitting the big 80, so I have been thinking about age a lot lately. That’s why I’m pulling from an old blog post of mine, one that hits close to home and that I would like to share with you.

Have you ever wondered what you will look like when you reach age 85? More and more Americans are living that long and longer. Statistics from the Society of Actuaries and the Annuity for the year 2000, shows that a male, aged 65, has a 50% chance of living beyond age 85 and a 25% chance of living beyond age 92. A female, aged 65, has a 50% chance of living beyond age 88 and a 25% chance of living beyond age 94. But what will make the difference for any one of us?

There is some evidence to show that calorie restriction and resveratrol could make the difference between which side of those life expectancy statistics you’re on.

Above you see two rhesus monkeys. The one on the left eats a calorie-restricted diet, while the monkey on the right eats a normal diet. Both monkeys are in their late 20s. Their normal lifespan is 30-40 years. As you can see, they look to be in quite different conditions. Here is how the New York Times made note of their differences:

At 28, getting on for a rhesus monkey, Matthias is losing his hair, lugging a paunch and getting a face full of wrinkles.

Yet in the cage next to his, gleefully hooting at strangers, one of Matthias’s lab mates, Rudy, is the picture of monkey vitality, although he is slightly older. Thin and feisty, Rudy stops grooming his smooth coat just long enough to pirouette toward a proffered piece of fruit.

Tempted with the same treat, Matthias rises wearily and extends a frail hand. “You can really see the difference,” said Dr. Ricki Colman, an associate scientist at the center who cares for the animals.

The scientists believe it’s the restricted calories that made the difference between the condition of the monkeys but have found that resveratrol, a molecular mimic of calorie restriction, may deliver the same benefits without food deprivation. There is more human testing to be done, but researchers themselves became so convinced of this they begun taking resveratrol pills themselves.

How does resveratrol work? Studies have shown that Resveratrol turns old cells into young cells. Old cells typically accumulate extra copies of ribosomal DNA that clog the cell and impair cellular function. Resveratrol reverses this.

I think it may also be important to note that recent studies indicate that resveratrol works best when taken in small amounts. There are varying opinions on how much that actually is, however. From 200mg a day or less to simply drinking a glass of red wine has been suggested. The idea is that more is not better with this compound. Too much can actually block the mechanisms that allow resveratrol to help keep up young.

So, if you want to look good as you age, you can go on a nutritionally smart restricted calorie diet or try resveratrol or a little of both. Also, don’t forget to keep having novel experiences, make and reach for big goals, stay social, and exercise. We all get older every year, but there is no reason to age faster than necessary.