Archives for posts with tag: grey matter

Image courtesy of Justin Metz at Newsweek.

Been online for 8 hours today?

Churning through emails, checking Facebook, posting Powerpoints, playing with pixels?

Guess what.

You’re brain is on crack.

MRI scans in the US and China are showing that people who spend 38 hours a week online (that’s not hard) are producing brains that look like drug addicts’.

The grey stuff (the smart stuff that controls motor function, memory, emotion, senses and more) shrinks by up to 10-20%, and the white stuff (involved in spreading messages quicker, attention and decision matter) grows in its place.

Your cerebral cortex, the part responsible for thought, changes shape. And it can start to morph after a week of practice. And it continues to.

So we’re becoming quicker thinkers. But we can’t remember about what.

And we pay more attention to that cat video, but can’t tell someone why it’s funny.

Same goes for gamers; speed, agility and skill vs smiles, memories and living in that weird thing called reality.

The advice from the doctor? Switch off.

More on this at Newsweek.com

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Like your body muscles, your brain needs to keep fit in order to function best. Not giving your brain enough stimulation definitely has its consequences, so the key to keep your grey matter from going mushy is: move it or lose it.

The reason is that the brain is highly flexible – known as ‘neuroplasticity’ – and the pathways your neurons create when you learn something new are ever-changing. However, easily as they can be created, they can also be lost.

But never fear! The parts of your brain associated with memory and information processing are highly adaptable and with some practice, you can train your brain to pick up where you let it drop off.

So, got a spare minute? Get your matter moving with some brain teasers that will keep those neurons firing.

Good brain puzzles:

  • The New York Times crossword – subscribe for $1 to the infamous New York Times crossword and join the global millions to attempt this everyday. For a reward once you’re done, treat yourself to watching Patrick Creadon’s excellent documentary ‘Wordplay‘ which looks at die-hard NYT crossword fans, among them Bill Clinton.
  • Word and number puzzles
  • Soduku
  • Trivia – go to a night at your local pub or find trivia quizzes online at braingle.com
  • Try a jigsaw puzzle! Yes, remember those?

Or, if you’re on-the-go head to the apple store for a list of brain puzzles to enjoy.

Eating well, getting plenty of sleep, having good relationships, and managing stress levels all affect the functional capabilities of our brains. For other tips on keeping your brain and memory sharp go to helpguide.org.

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