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Grow Your Brain...

Is your brain growing or shrinking?

Dr. Callum Peever presented to Goodness Me in Mississauga on the topic of growing your brain – neuroplasticity.  He goes through practical ways that you can grow … or shrink your brain.  The video below is small part from the health talk which was titled: “Grow Your Brain”.

Transcript from the Grow your Brain video:

Grow your brain.
How do you grow our brain?
How do we shrink our brain?
At the end of this talk you want to have some practical knowledge.
Is your brain growing or shrinking?

I remember learning in school when they were trying to scare us away from alcohol, if you had a glass of wine or beer you’d lose brain cells. You only had 1000 brain cells. And every time you had a drink you’d lose one. You had to start counting. That was the up to date science until about 5-10 years ago until they found out we could actually grow our brains.

Many of the brain studies on growing or shrinking is done having people learn how to juggle. Why? Hand eye coordination.

Other studies are done with coordination exercises such as the hand coordination brain exercises that came from Peking.

Do you think there were 20 year-olds they did this on? No. They were in their 70’s and they taught them how to juggle. Do you think it was easy? No. It was hard so they taught them how to juggle. They measured their brains first with functional MRI’s. They taught them how to juggle and had them practice and checked them again at the end. And their brains grew. Not just in function, how it’s able to think but the actual size of the brain grew. Awesome. That’s the concept – Your brain can grow at any age!

To see this concept in action, check out this amazing and inspiring article of a 93 year old track star who took up track and field in her 70’s.  Her brain looked like a 60 year old’s brain! There is even suggestions at the end of the article on growing your brain! One of my favourite topics as a Chiropractor!

Who has heard of grey matter and white matter? Well get technical and anatomical. Which is the nerve pathways? Grey or white? White. The white parts of the brain if you ever looked at a picture of a brain that looks like this. I have it on the Ipad too. You can cut open the brain and look at the iPad without an actual human body. It’s all computerized.
The white part is actually the pathways.
The grey part is the grey matter is actually the part where the processes happen.
Ok? So if you look at the functional MRI or the MRI pictures where you see all the colors, most of that would be happening in the grey matter. Then the signals would be transferring into different parts of the body through the white. It’s not necessary to know for this, it’s curious, it’s cool. Maybe you’ll look it up in a picture when your home. Google anatomy.

So knowing that we can grow our own brain, so is my brain growing or shrinking?
What can I do to actually grow my brain?
Someone in the crowd mentioned Ritalin, as something that will shrink it. He also mentioned Marijuana, another drug, so chemical things.

What are some other things that can shrink the brain?
Crowd members mention prescription drugs, inflammation, not enough fat, electrolytes, negative thinking, stress, stimulus, trauma, inactivity.
There are three general topics (Physical, Chemical, and Emotional things)

This is just overview. I want you to grasp the concept then apply it to your life so you’re not shrinking your brain.

What are the physical stressors in life that can impact the brain?
So we’ll start with the first one here, physical impact on the brain.

Who here has hit their head before? How long does it take to heal? A long time and sometimes you don’t recover unfortunately. Right? So if I’ve got my little man here (illustration from What is the most important part of your body?)

What’s the number one rule for your brain? If you’re trying to grow your brain and have a good long productive life? Don’t hit your head. Wear a helmet if you may hit your head or avoid it all together. So someone likes hockey back here. Helmet on the outside, don’t hit your head.

Your body tried to protect that brain. It completely enclosed it in bone. It only has one exit for the nerve to come out, the spinal cord to come out. Everywhere else is protected unless you hit your head. Ok so rule one don’t hit your head. So there’s one physical aspect. Let’s skip to the next. We’ll go one at a time.

What about the Chemical stressors that can impact your brain?
Someone mentioned prescription drugs. There is a purpose to prescription drugs. Usually your body has run into such a health problem that you run into prescription drugs? Unfortunately there’s side effects and a lot of them do impact the brain as well. I’m not an expert on prescription drugs, they can be good or bad. Ok, so yes they can impact the brain directly or indirectly too.

Someone mentioned marijuana. Sort of like a street drug type of thing. Brain altering, it will impact her brain as well. And lots of times people say that marijuana is natural. But so is poison ivy right? Poison ivy, that’s natural too and you don’t want to play around with things that are impacting your brain.

Now let’s get to the next one. Emotional things can impact your brain as well.
Someone did mention negative thinking. Stress and negative thinking. So when you are having negative thinking why would your brain shrink? Why?
We were saying that to you before. Your body is under stress all the time.
Realize that your brain is the adaptation machine for your body. It creates the adaption of your surroundings, your events. If you were in a negative event or if you were in a negative environment it reacts one way and if you were in a positive safe environment it reacts another way. They usually describe this as fight/flight and relaxation.

Have you heard of the words sympathetic and parasympathetic?
There’s two states, two general states that the nervous system or brain stays in.
One is parasympathetic and one is sympathetic.
Ok long words. One is when you are fighting and stressed (sympathetic) and the other is when you’re relaxed and healing (parasympathetic).

Your brain is able to perceive which one you’re in by depending on your surroundings. And they say humans are the only ones who can do this. Maybe animals can too but you can’t ask them. So we got sympathetic with an S and parasympathetic with a P. when you are stressed your body releases hormones.

The brain tells the body to release hormones which are good for that stress time but only in short bursts. They say it is designed or evolved or created to deal with a tiger. So if something jumps out of the bush and scares you, you react stressed and you fight it or you run. And then it’s a short burst thing.
But nowadays we don’t have tigers chasing us. We have tax, we have bills, we have family problems that build up over time.

So the stress doesn’t stay for a short time. It stays for a long time. Now when you’re in a stressed state and you have cortisol running through your body, and you have all that negative thinking on you, staying in this state is a bad thing for your body and your brain. Maybe I don’t know for sure but it may not get enough oxygen. I’m not sure on that one. But it definitely mainly impacts its ability to heal and grow. Cool eh?

-This is a transcript of a part of Dr. Callum Peever’s health talk in Mississauga on Grow Your Brain in 2015 at Goodness Me Mississauga.   He is a Chiropractor in Caledonia who works to help you live towards a longer, more comfortable, and active life.  He enjoys teaching and encouraging patients to apply health concepts to their lives.  To connect with Dr. Callum Peever contact us



More blogs to read if curious to grow your brain!

See a Headache! – MRI Videos of Spinal Fluid Flow that is impacted with Neck Postures

What Is The Most Important Part Of Your Body?

Learn to Juggle with Dr. Callum Peever


Articles on neuroplasticity, juggling, and brain growth to read if curious:

The Effect of Juggling as Dual-Task Activity on Human Neuroplasticity: A Systematic Review