- In a recent paper, researchers reviewed research linking exercise, relationships, and passions to brain health.
- They found reasonable evidence that all three factors provide protection against cognitive decline.
- Their review notes that randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm their findings.
Changes in cognitive function during the aging process
Gray matter is composed of biological structures such as neuronal somata, synapses and capillaries, whereas white matter is composed of myelinated axons through which signals are transmitted between neurons.
In a recent paper, researchers thoroughly reviewed the vast body of available literature on the links between physiological brain development and physical activity, social relationships, and passion. Evidence reports that increased passion for an area or skill leads to more physical activity, more social relationships, and better well-being.
“[From our research]we have a passion or strong interest in [key motivational factor for achievement and well-being] It sets the direction of the arrow, so Hermundur SigmundssonLead author Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, said: medical news today.
“So we say: Find your passion and develop it! Grit, or perseverance, is the size and strength of an arrow. Concentrate on the process. [Be ready to] Challenge yourself! Challenge is the key to development! ‘ he added.
This paper was recently published in a special issue of brain science.
observant the study Active lifestyles have been shown to help maintain cognitive and neurological health at all ages, especially at higher levels process Task switching, working memory, cognitive inhibition, etc.
The researchers noted in their paper that intervention studies confirmed these findings.
For example, older adults who did 1 hour of aerobic training 3 times a week for 6 months gain Gray and white matter volumes compared to controls.
other research Physical activity has been shown to enhance attention and attentional control, brain regions associated with activities of daily living. cognitive reservea reserve of thinking capacity that acts as a buffer against age-related cognitive decline.
The new paper points to the following studies: suggestion Maintaining social connections increases cognitive reserve through cognitive strategies, greater neural growth, and synaptic density, and protects against pathological processes.
Imaging studies show that larger social networks are associated with larger orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala volumes involved in decision making.
These studies also show that people who are less socially active big Number of white matter lesions.
In addition, randomized controlled trials found that social relationships Strengthen Cognitive reserve, and interventions may increase social interaction in communities linked To better cognitive function and larger brain volume.
However, other studies no link between social relationships and later cognitive function. The researchers therefore suggest that more robust evidence from randomized controlled trials is needed to prove causality.
In their paper, the researchers clear passion “A strong feeling about a personally important value/preference that motivates intentions or actions that express that value/preference.”
other research They found that passion was associated with more purposeful practice in soccer players and better well-being and performance in workers.
Researchers also noted that passion can be important to sustain. neuroplasticity. They wrote:
An example of this is someone who is passionate about learning a new language. Researchers write that passion can motivate individuals to practice their second language more, thereby strengthening gray matter, neurons, and connections.
They also have psychological traits such as grit and a growth mindset.
Researchers further Quote Numerous articles suggesting impaired motor function, antisocial behavior, depression, and anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure) are common in neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders, as well as the natural aging process.
Therefore, they suggested that a ‘vicious cycle’ may be at work: less physical activity may lead to less social engagement and lower well-being.
“Passion gives direction to an area of interest. Related To the dopamine system, which is central to attention, learning, goal-directed behavior, and reward.passion is offer It’s an essential focus for achieving long-term goals,” the researchers wrote.
When asked how physical activity, socializing and passion improve brain health, Art KramerPh.D., Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who was not involved in the study, said: MNT:
“We know more about the underlying mechanisms of physical activity than about social interaction and learning new skills. This is because there are decades of literature on the effects of physical activity on brain health, learning and memory, as good animal models of physical activity exist. rodents)”
“The animal literature suggests many brain changes associated with physical activity, including new neurons in areas of the brain that support memory, increased connections between neurons (called synapses), and increased vasculature. Increased neurotransmitters and nerve growth factors (among other changes) are also associated with increased physical activity in animal models.”
– Dr. Art Kramer, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Researchers concluded that exercise, social interaction, and passion are key to maintaining brain health.
When asked about the limitations of the paper, Dr. Sigmundsson said their paper was merely a review and that they wanted to conduct intervention studies focused on increasing passion, physical activity, and social engagement to confirm their hypotheses. Said it had to be done.
Dr Kramer added: And so are both non-patients and patients. “