When we are growing up, we equip ourselves with knowledge by studying in college and university or take some courses. Our goal in the end is to get a good and stable job or maybe become famous for inventing something new to the world, or becomes famous for a particular talent like singers, actresses, etc.
How about growing old? After passing adult stage in life, we are growing old. Some of us stop taking courses or studying because our body is no longer as energetic as before. Then, are old people smarter? This may be true for life experiences. But it is also not necessarily true whereby the young adults are keen to learn more, flexible, curious and easily adaptable to changes
As the body condition deteriorates for older people, what happen to their brain? You must have heard a lot about this disease called Alzheimer disease; a type of dementia caused by brain cell death and so it causes memory loss and declination of cognitive reserves. After watching TED Talk from Dr. Lisa Genova- What you can do to prevent Alzheimer’s, I am inspired to share this information through this blogpost to other people, not only for the older ones, but also the young adults. So that everyone works together to contribute for the prevention of this disease.
Going slightly deeper into science, the cells in our body communicates to each other by neuron; a more complex communication system is called nervous system. Each neuron transmits signals to one another through a connection called synapse. For the neurons and synapses inside the brain, every activity that causes brain cells to learn new thing or to remember something new, a new synapse is formed. Therefore, the more learning we have and the more active our brain is, the more synapses we produce in the brain and so the more alive we are. These functional synapses contributes to our memories and so our cognitive reserves.
In regards to Alzheimer disease, the accumulation of a substance (called beta-amyloid) in the synapse in the brain causes the formation of plaque. When the formation of plaque spread over to other synapses, it causes memory loss and of course brain cell death in the end.
As we are not going into detail about the Science behind Alzheimer disease, it’s good to understand that our daily activity like sleep deprivation, cardiovascular disease and other health deterioration can contribute to the formation of plaque in the synapses in the brain.
When sleep deprivation causes the brain to lose one synapse due to plaque formation, you can form a new synapse with a new memory/information to keep the brain alive. This can be done by engaging in social activity, studying or learning new things, listening to TED talk or other things that improve your brain quality.
According to TED Talk by Dr. Lisa Genova, a study conducted on nuns, whereby they did not have Alzheimer’s symptoms when they were alive even though they had sleep deprivation and plaques were found in their brain during autopsy, shows that by engaging more on social activity/learning, their brains have more cognitive reserves that helps to prevent them from getting the symptoms.
Nowadays, Alzheimer disease is no longer rare to be found around us. It could be you or anyone around you. No matter how high the risk is, let’s equip ourselves with more activities, more learning that help to form more cognitive reserves in our brain. Therefore, in a condition where sleep deprivation and other causes are unavoidable, we still keep our brain cells alive.
Through this post, I would like to persuade all elderly to not just submit themselves to high risk of Alzheimer disease but to keep on learning and involve in more activities. So they can be not only smarter but more engaging as their brain cells keep on growing. As old people rarely see blogpost, we, the young adults, can assist them on this simple prevention method to show how we love our parents and grandparents.
Like a quote says “When there is a will, there is a way”. Let’s fight Alzheimer disease together with all the prevention measures while all the Scientists are busy finding the cure. Happy Learning for everyone. 🙂