Pondering: Brain Overload

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Have you ever felt that your brain was on overload? Is that even possible? Today I am pondering the brain.

From Scientific American, “The human brain consists of about one billion neurons. Each neuron forms about 1,000 connections to other neurons, amounting to more than a trillion connections. If each neuron could only help store a single memory, running out of space would be a problem. You might have only a few gigabytes of storage space, similar to the space in an iPod or a USB flash drive.” A neuron is a brain cell in case you were wondering.

So, one billion is a lot of brain cells, what limits thinking? Scientists believe that the neuron connections that are created with the neuron to neuron network communications are what limit and can expand your brain capacity.

What can you do to boost your smarts? 5 Simple Ways to Increase Your Intelligence gives fabulous advice on this and the follow up: 5 More Ways to Increase Your Intelligence gives you ten ideas total.

When my children were very small, I was in college and studied Child Psychology. I did a research paper on the Mozart Effect which talks about how classical music helps calms children and adults as well as improves creativity and clarity. After that we listened to fifteen minutes of Mozart per day to help boost our brain power. A favorite CD that I still listen to is Music for the Mozart Effect. “Music at sixty beats per minute (Baroque music, Mozart, Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, and others) helps to lower blood pressure and aids in relaxing the body's large muscle groups, which allows for a greater amount of blood flow and blood utilization in the human brain. Although the brain is only 2% of the body's weight, it consumes over 20% of the body's energy, nutrients, and oxygen.”

“While the “power” of a brain can increase in direct relationship to the number of cells composing it, the human brain's capability is best calibrated by the number of connections that develop among its billions of brain cells.” The connection of these brain cells is called synapses. You need to encourage synapses in your child because scientists believe “the rule for brain wiring is “use it or lose it.” Synapses that are not “wired together” through stimulation are pruned and lost during a child's school years.” Continue to find activities that might boost neural connections and do them as a family: go to art galleries, visit new places, and read as much as possible!

Science is still inconclusive about how the brain works and may we will never know its full capacity. However, there are many things that you can do to help boost your brain power and that of your children: such as these great suggestions 20 Ways to Boost Your Baby's Brain Power. Most neural connections are made before the age of five BUT you can still continue to expand your brain.

What do you do to grow and expand your brain power? Love to hear it!

If you are interested in discussing boosting creativity in your child (and making more neural connections), I will be in #DadChat on February 16th with Bruce Sallan and Paul Biedermann on Thursday night at 9 pm EST/6 pm CST.

Smarty Smart Resources:

20 Ways to Boost Your Baby's Brain Power

How to Increase Your Intelligence and Get Smarter

Greatest Mysteries: How Does the Brain Work?

Brain's Capacity Limited by Connectivity Issues

What is the Memory Capacity of the Human Brain?

Adorable feature photo courtesy of killbox via Creative Commons.
Article by Peg Fitzpatrick

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  1. Peg,

    If it is possible to become smarter, I have not figured out how. I started reading “How to Become Smarter” while on a business trip.  Never finished the book. Left it in the seat back pocket on the plane.

    Pretty “un-smart”!

    And yes, I have often felt as if I was suffering Brain Overload!


    1. Marc,

      You knew the answer to your own question! Finish the books that you start. 🙂

      I think we all feel the overload sometimes. And we end up being just fine.


  2. Peg, I discovered the hard way how to increase and decrease your brain activity. And, then I learned the best thing ever – the brain is the ONLY organ in our body that can actually re-generate itself, grow new cells, and improve AT ANY AGE!

    My lesson was that during my early retirement, when I was taking care of my boys and ailing parents, I allowed my intellectual activities to diminish. I was truly feeling myself getting dumber. No joke. When I re-invented myself four or so years ago, and began writing, reading (more), and learning challenging (for me) technologies, I felt my brain literally re-emerge!

    How cool is that? Now, I feel smarter than ever, though my memory still sucks.

    Who is the host on #DadChat this Thursday? Darn, I though I wrote it down somewhere!?

    1. I totally get that Bruce!! I started feeling that when my kids were little watching kid shows, singing The Wheels on the Bus, you start thinking…hmmm what if I can’t engage in adult conversation anymore. That is when I went back to college and that was scary. 

      Hooray for growth, being willing to make changes, and the power to positively improve ourselves!

      You might be the host this week, hope you find your paper. 🙂

  3. Peg,
    Nice post. Neuroscience is one of my favorite areas of exploration. As you mention – – it’s pretty easy to explain the impact of music on the brain and in fact on the body. That relaxed state takes one from the beta activity of the craziness of our sensory overloaded environment  – to the more relaxed state of the alpha wave which can create an atmosphere allowing one to better to contemplate and innovate. Great blog – great posts. Love your material! @JudyMartin8

    1. I appreciate your thoughtful comment Judy. I find this topic fascinating and as I was writing I was thinking boy, I hope someone else will be interested as well!

      I love this “create an atmosphere allowing one to better to contemplate and innovate.” Perfect!
      Thank you for reading and sharing.

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