Neurophysiology 101 - Deepstash

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How to (Literally) Clean Your Brain

Neurophysiology 101

  1. Neurons are the nervous system cells transmitting electromagnetic signals using action potentials and neurotransmitters.
  2. Glia is the non-neuronal system cell keeping the neurons healthy and working.
  3. Cerebrospinal Fluid or CSF is the fluid that our brain lives in.
  4. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood to an organ.
  5. Veins are the blood vessels carrying blood from the organ.

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How to (Literally) Clean Your Brain

How to (Literally) Clean Your Brain

https://medium.com/swlh/how-to-literally-clean-your-brain-834e905f1b0b

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Key Ideas

Sleep And The Process Of Keeping Our Brains Healthy

  • Quality sleep is the one universal factor that can keep our brain healthy.
  • Sleep is so important that mammals die in about a week if they are completely deprived of sleep.
  • While we think our lights are out when we sleep, our brain is very much active and uses a lot of energy.

Neurophysiology 101

  1. Neurons are the nervous system cells transmitting electromagnetic signals using action potentials and neurotransmitters.
  2. Glia is the non-neuronal system cell keeping the neurons healthy and working.
  3. Cerebrospinal Fluid or CSF is the fluid that our brain lives in.
  4. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood to an organ.
  5. Veins are the blood vessels carrying blood from the organ.

The Brain Is Like A City

Complex cycles and systems operate in the brain. The Glymphatic (or Glial Lymphatic) system, discovered recently, takes care of the brain waste much like a complex sewer system.

The system is only active when one is asleep, and it clears our brain of all neurotoxic substances that have collected during the day.

Sleep Is Not a Luxury Or An Option

It affects our learning, metabolism, hypertension, insulin sensitivity, and of course, mood.

Not getting enough sleep used to be something to boast of, but is now a sign of self-neglect and upcoming health issues.

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Our sleep-wake pattern

Our molecular clock inside our cells aims to keep us in sync with the sun

When we disregard this circadian rhythm, we are at a greater risk for illnesses such as diabetes, heart...

The lifestyle imbalance

Thomas Edison said that sleep is "a bad habit." Like Edison, we seem to think of sleep as an adversary and try to fight it at every turn. The average American sleeps less than the recommended seven hours per night, mostly due to electric lights, television, computers, and smartphones. 

However, we are ignoring the intricate journey we're designed to take when we sleep.

Stage One Sleep

When we fall asleep, the nearly 86 billion neurons in our brain starts to fire evenly and rhythmically. Our sensory receptors become muffled at the same time.

The first stage of shallow sleep lasts for about 5 minutes.

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Climbing Everest
Climbing Everest

It’s almost impossible to imagine the immense physical and psychological challenge of climbing to the top of 29,029-foot Mount Everest.

Even at Base Camp, at 17,600 feet, there's about 50 pe...

Your brain while climbing Everest

As you climb, less oxygen in your blood means less oxygen in your brain.

At 15,000 feet, your cognitive performance, mood, and central nervous system functioning start to lessen. In severe cases, being at high altitude for long periods or without first acclimatizing, you are at a higher risk for swelling of the brain, (high-altitude cerebral edema - HACE.)

Your lungs while climbing Everest

If you ascend without proper acclimatization, at around 9,000 feet, your lungs may begin to swell because the blood vessels constrict. Symptoms include a persistent cough and labored breathing.

If the swelling in your lungs worsens, high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) can occur. Symptoms are a bluish discoloration of the skin, rapid breathing, and fever. The most effective treatment is to descend immediately.

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Lifestyle choices influence how you age

Adopting specific lifestyle behaviors can have a tangible effect on how well you age: activities like learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, taking part in aerobic exercise, and dev...

Aging process and cognitive decline

As time passes, there is a build-up of toxins in the brain that correlate to the aging process of cognitive decline. Although this is a natural part of growing older, many factors can exacerbate it. Stress, neurotoxins such as alcohol and lack of (quality and quantity) sleep can speed up the process.

Neuroplasticity

The key to resilient aging is improving neurogenesis, the birth of new neurons. 

This activity occurs in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that lays down memories. And we respond to and store new experiences every day, and cement them during sleep. The more we can experience new activities, people, places, and emotions, the more likely we are to encourage neurogenesis.

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The Science of Memory
  1. Encoding - the stage when the brain consciously acknowledges information based on our senses. When we attach meaning or factual knowledge to any of this sensory input, that'...
Lifestyle Changes That Can Improve Memory
  • Get a good night's sleep or take a power nap after learning something new, to help retain and retrieve memories better. Sleep deprivation and acquisition of too much information will not help you save those memories.
  • Get moving, to improve the flow of oxygen-rich blood in your brain and to trigger neuron growth and new connections in the brain - critical for memory.
  • Improve your diet. Fats from food can build up the brain, resulting to poor blood flow.
Mnemonics

Any system or device designed to aid memory:

  • patterns of letters or words (common mnemonics)
  • ideas (memory palace)
  • associations (chunking)

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