When I was in medical school in the 1960s, the prevailing belief was that once we reached physical maturity, our brains ceased to make new brain tissue. Therefore, all of the conditions associated with aging gradually depleted the neurons in our brains, causing them to atrophy until we eventually succumbed to dementia … Depressing, right?
Fortunately, we were wrong. We’ve since learned that our brains are not the static organs we once thought they were. They are actually dynamic and have the incredible potential for growing, rewiring, and healing.
Neurogenesis, or the ability to make new neurons, and neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to reorganize and build new neural pathways, continue well into old age, which means that we are, in fact, "architects" of our own brains.
With that in mind, and in honor of November's National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month, I'd like to share the two most important things we can all do to prevent brain decay: