Brain Myth #1: The brain doesn’t make new brain cells.
Fact: Wrong! You can create new neurons and synapses by exercising your brain. The 100 billion neuron cells in your brain process and transmit information, but with stimulation (i.e. brain fitness) these neurons can also continue to grow through neurogenesis. In fact, studies have shown that the hippocampus (where memories are created) and the olfactory bulb (scent-processing center) produce new brain cells.
Brain Myth #2: We only use 10% of our brain.
Fact: Nope! We actually use 100% of our brains. Famous author William James said, “The average person rarely achieves but a small portion of his or her potential,” which led to this misconception. His comment incorrectly evolved to the belief that most of us “only use 10 percent of our brain.”
Brain Myth #3: Memory loss or decline is inevitable as we age.
Fact: Many individuals stay sharp into old age. Genetics are part of the equation, but preventative lifestyle measures can also make a big difference. For instance, if you exercise both physically and mentally, eat well, socialize, manage your stress, and have a positive outlook on life, studies have shown that your brain will be better off in the long run. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that memory decline can start as early as age 30, so it is best to enact these lifestyle adjusts sooner rather than later.
For tips on keeping your brain healthy and fit, see our Brain Tips. If you have other questions about the brain, leave a comment and we can address them in later posts.