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Brain Health Smart Drugs

Description

The brain generally is the chief organ of the body that serves as the core of nervous system in all vertebrates. Brain is in the head or skull, which provides a perfect location as it is close to prime sensory organs that regulates crucial senses such as vision, taste, audibility, smell, etc. Brain is evidently the most complex organ in human body. Brain is primarily composed of ‘neurons’ and ‘Glial cells’. There are approximately 15 to 33 billion neurons in cerebral cortex which is the largest part of the brain. There are matters that compose the brain and may include carbs, protein, salt, fats as well as soluble organic. This vital organ is said to have 78% of water content.

Neurons in the brain are interconnected through ‘axons’, which are ‘protoplasmic fibers’ that enable communication among them. These axons carry signals called ‘action potentials’. These pulses are carried to distant, targeted parts of body and brain. The prime function of the organ is to act as a centralized control system to various other organs of the body. This prime organ also acts on remaining body by exerting a pattern of muscle activity as well as by regulating secretion of hormones. 

  • PARTS OF HUMAN BRAIN AND FUNCTIONING:

  • BRAIN HEALTH

  • COMMON IRREGULAR CONDITIONS OF BRAIN

  • BRAIN DIAGNOSIS:

  • BRAIN TREATMENT:

  • BRAIN ACTIVITIES FOR BETTER BRAIN

  • BRAIN DIET:

The cortex of brain is divided in four lobes: Occipital lobe, Parietal lobed, Temporal Lobe and Frontal Lobe. Every lobe has numerous cortical regions. Each of these regions is linked with respective functioning such as vision, control, speech, motor- activities. Etc.  The brain is located within the skull in protection of thick bone and is suspended in cerebrospinal fluid. Here is a segregated list of parts of brain and their respective functioning.

  • Frontal Lobe:
    • Behavioral control
    • Abstract reasoning
    • Solving abilities
    • Attentiveness
    • Creativity
    • Certain emotions
    • Intelligence
    • Reflective aspects
    • Judgment
    • Initiation  
    • Prohibition
    • Movement Coordination
    • Generalized movement
    • Mass movement
    • Certain eye movements
    • Smelling sense
    • Movement of muscles
    • Skilled movements
    • Certain motor skills
    • Sexual desire or libido
    • Physical reaction
  • Occipital Lobe
    • Ocular aspects or Vision
    • Reading
  • Parietal Lobe
    • Tactile Sensation (Touch Sense)
    • Stereognosis (Appreciation of form via touch)
    • Proprioception (Response to inner stimulation)
    • Comprehension and combination of senses
    • Certain language functions
    • Some reading function
    • Certain visual functions
  • Temporal Lobe:
    • Hearing Memories
    • Certain Hearing functions
    • Ocular memories
    • Some ocular pathways
    • Other general memories
    • Music
    • Language aspects
    • Fear
    • Certain aspects of Speech
    • Behavioral and emotional aspects
    • Identity sense
  • Right Hemisphere:
    • Right hemisphere controls left side of human body
    • Regulates spatial as well as temporal relationship
    • Evaluating nonverbal data
    • Emotions communication
  • Left Hemisphere
    • Left Hemisphere regulates the right side of human body
    • Language production and understanding abilities
  • Corpus Callosum
    • Communication between right side and left side of the brain
  • The Cerebellum
    • Posture
    • Body equilibrium
    • Respiratory, vasomotor and cardiac centers
  • Brain Stem
    • Motor as well as sensory route to face and body
    • Respiratory, vasomotor and cardiac centers
  • Hypothalamus
    • Motivation and mood
    • Maturation of sexual aspects
    • Regulation of temperature
    • Hormonal body process
  • Optic Chiasm
    • Optic nerve and vision regulation
  • Pituitary Gland
    • Hormonal processes of body
    • Maturation of physical traits
    • Growth in terms of height and form
    • Maturation of sexual aspects
    • Sexual functioning
  • Spinal Cord
    • Source and channel for sensation and motor ability
  • Ventricles and Cerebral Aqueduct
    • Contains cerebrospinal fluid that provides nutrients as well as cleanses the spinal cord and brain
  • Pineal Body
    • Pineal body produces a derivative of serotonin called ‘melatonin’. This hormone influences the sleeping pattern modulation in seasonal functions and circadian rhythms. It also protects the brain

People usually focus neck to downwards when it is spoken of staying fit. However, brain health is crucial in almost everything humans do. Healthy brain can help you have better cognitive abilities, senses, feel, etc. Scientific evidences suggest that brain health can be maintained by adopting certain proven measures that promotes aptness of brain. Brain is a sophisticated part of the body and one cannot avoid certain medical conditions; however, maintaining brain health can significantly reduce the risk and/or intensity of issues.

Physical Activities/ Exercises:
Appropriate blood flow is crucial for good brain and this can be enhanced through regular physical activities. This also helps in production of new cells in the brain. Exercises are also otherwise beneficial as it helps in reducing heart risk, diabetes, strokes etc. It prevents risk of getting affected with dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies indicate that physical exercises need not be strenuous nor should it require more time commitment. Exercises can anyways be effective if done regularly and in adjunct with brain-health diet, mental exercises and socialization. Aerobic exercises are not only praised for the physical benefit but they also help with brain functioning, as it improves oxygen consumption and reduces loss of brain cells even in elderly subjects. Other physical activities such as bicycling, walking, tai-chi, jogging, yoga, etc., when done for 30 minutes daily can help in heart pumping and get body moving.

There are additional brain benefits through physical activities that include mental stimulation such as observing traffic signals, platting route, taking decisions, etc.

Adopt brain healthy diet:
According to latest researches, brain health diets are mostly focused on reducing risk of cardiovascular issues and diabetes. These diets should encourage healthy blood circulation to the brain and should be low in fats and cholesterol. The brain also requires the right equilibrium of nutrient including sugar and protein as well to functioning normally. Healthy diet can have better results when done in adjunct with mental exercises, physical activities and socialization.

Manage your body weight:
Healthy weight is beneficial for overall good health – healthy brain and body. A long-running study conducted on 1500, mid-age men depicted that mid-age men who were obsess were at doubled risk of developing dementia later in life. Obesity also leads to increased cholesterol level and high blood pressure. Men affected with hypertension and high cholesterol where at six times higher risk of suffering from dementia. Incorporate a lifetime brain healthy diet and not for short term; one should ensure to eat in moderation.

Reduce fat and cholesterol rich foods:
According to studies, high intake of cholesterol and saturated fats can narrow and clog the arteries and is linked with risk of Alzheimer’s disease. One should use mono and poly unsaturated fats such as those found in olive oil. These are good cholesterol called HDL or High Density Lipoprotein.

  • Foods that can be included in your diet
    • Dark skin vegetables and fruits such as spinach, kale, alfalfa sprouts, red bell pepper, brussels, broccoli, corn, eggplant, etc. These are high in antioxidant properties.
    • Raisins, berries, plums, oranges, red grapes, cherries, prunes, etc., are also provides anti-oxidant effects.
    • Halibut, trout, tuna fish, mackerel and other cold water fishes contains omega -3 fatty acid which are beneficial
    • Nuts such as pecans, almonds and walnuts etc are also helpful for good body and brain health; these should be consumed in moderation.

Stay socially active:
It is also determined that people who engage their selves in social activities usually maintain good brain. However, socialization alone would not have considerable effects, but combining then with mental stimulation, pro-brain diet and physical activity, can help in maintaining good brain health. Studies indicate that a combination of activities that calls for mental, social and physical intervention is helpful in prevention dementias. Sports, emotional support, strong personal relationship and cultural activities may have protective influence against dementia.  

Mental activeness:
Mental abilities decline along ageing due to changes in brain cells and their connections. Studies suggested that maintaining active brain seems to enhance its vitality and build brain cell reserves and maintain their interconnectivity. People may even generate new cells in the brain. There is a link determined between low level of education and Alzheimer’s disease. Educated people tend to focus on certain activities that call for mental intervention, which in turn enhances the connectivity among brain cells and their production thus decreasing risk of developing the condition later in life.

  • Dementia: Characterized with decline of cognitive abilities occurring due to dysfunction or death of brain’s nerve cells.
  • Alzheimer’s disease: In this medical anomaly the nerves in some area degenerates and lead to mental malfunctioning and progressive memory loss. Plaques and tangles in brain area is said to cause the condition.
  • Meningitis: A condition caused due to inflammation of lining that surrounds the spinal cord or brain usually occurring due to infection.
  • Seizures:  This is category in fact that includes conditions such as epilepsy, which may result due to brain injuries or strokes. However, the cause is often unidentified.
  • Encephalitis: Inflammation of tissues of brain occurring due to infection.
  • Brain abscess: Bacterial infection causes infectious pocket in the brain.
  • Brain tumor: Abnormal tissues development – either malignant or benign – within brain.
  • Hydrocephalus: Abnormal increase in cerebrospinal fluid in the skull – the fluid that suspends the brain in the skull.
  • Strokes: The condition occurs when blood circulation and oxygen to a certain part of the brain becomes interrupted suddenly – this part suddenly dies. The respective body parts and regulated by the affected portion of the brain may become malfunction.
  • Ischemic stroke: The condition occurs when there is a sudden blood clotting in the artery that obstructs the blood flow causing Ischemic stroke.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke: Internal bleeding in brain creates pressure and congestion on tissues of the brain which affects blood circulation causing strokes
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA): Occurs due to temporary obstruction of oxygen and blood circulation to a certain part of brain. It has similar symptoms as strokes but resolves in approximately a day without causing damages to tissues of the brain.  
  • Cerebral Edema: Characterized by brain swelling that occurs due to different causes including imbalance of electrolytes and response to injuries.
  • Parkinson’s disease: In this condition the nerves located in central brain region gradually degenerate causing coordination and movement problems.

Other brain related conditions that can be added to the list includes:

  • Brain injury
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage
  • Glioblastoma
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus
  • Pseudotumor cerebri
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Subdural hematoma
  • Epidural hematoma
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage
  • Vasculitis
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Pick’s disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

  • Laboratory screening test: In this case blood, urine or other bodily substances are sent for evaluation in laboratory.
  • Genetic evaluation: This type of testing can help in identifying neurological disorders which are associated with gene.
  • Neurological examination: This test is done to evaluate sensory and motor skills.
  • X-rays: This test is a part of neurological work-up and is used to view part of body ad brain for tissues or/and masses such as ligaments that are injured, joints, etc.
  • Fluoroscopy: This is a kind of x-ray that uses pulsed or continuous beam to produce continuous image of body regions in motion.
  • Angiography: Suggested to detect blockage in veins and arteries.
  • Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging or fMRI: is a test for detecting alterations in blood flow and oxygenation in response to neural activity. This helps in measures activity of the brain.
  • CT or Computed Tomography scan: This scan helps in detecting gross areas of the brain; however, it is not helpful in resolving the structure well.
  • PET or Positron Emission Tomography: This test employs short lived radioactive material to trace functional processes within brain.
  • EEG or Electroencephalography: Is an evaluation done to test brain’s electrical activity by recording readings captured from electrodes stuck on the scalp.
  • MEG:  Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a test done to read the magnetic fields produce due to electrical activities of the brain.
  • Near Infrared Spectroscopy: Abbreviated as NIRS is an optical method to measure blood oxygenation in brain.

Note: There are additional brain-diagnosing methods that can be added to the list. Sometimes of certain psychological issues doctors may perform test within the clinic itself.

Treatment for brain disorder depends on the respective condition one suffers from. There are numerous brain related anomalies, each with different treatment options. Here are few common brain associated irregularities with possible treatment options.

  • Dementia
    • Cholinesterase inhibitors: These are medicines that functions by boosting chemical messenger levels in brain which are associated with judgment and memory functions.
    • Memantine: Are drugs that regulate the activities of glutamate which is a brain function associated chemical messenger.
    • Occupational therapies: These therapies helps you cope with the condition and help you have better behavior and movement abilities making daily living activities easier.
    • Environmental modifications: This is done to decrease distracting noise and clutter which enhances dementia patients to focus and function well. It may help in decreasing frustration as well as confusion.
    • Caregiver response modification. It is better to avoid probing or correction the patients as it may make behavior of the affected individual even worse.
  • Meningitis
    • Intravenous antibiotics: Acute bacterial meningitis is often treated with intravenous antibiotics and recently cortisone medicines are employed for ensured recovery and decrease in complications. There is combination of antibiotics sometimes decided by the health advisory to deal with the condition. 
    • General treatment: In case of viral meningitis antibiotics are said to be ineffective. Most of such viral cases cure without medical intervention. However, patients are suggested bed rest, increased intake of fluid and OTC pain relief medications.
    • Anti fungal drugs: There are certain cases of meningitis which results due to fungal infection. In these case doctor usually prescribes antifungal drugs along with other medicines as found suitable, to deal with associated complications.
    • Cortisone medicines: These drugs are suggested in case of non-infectious meningitis, which occur due to autoimmune conditions or allergic reactions.
  • Alzheimer’s disease
    • Medications: Common drugs suggested for this condition are Cholinesterase inhibitor and Memantine. Cholinesterase inhibitor works by boosting communication among cells and Memantine has additional effects over the later drug, as it also decreases symptom’s progression rate.
    •  Creating safe environment: The environment is made pro-patient ensuring support and safety. This is done by removing excess furniture’s, eradicating clutters ; installing handrails where possible; providing comfortable shoes and slippers; and removing mirrors as Alzheimer’s patients find such mirror reflections frightening or confusing. 
    • Exercises: This is a part of general plan as it promotes overall health. Patients with this condition can benefit by getting sound sleep and reduce constipation.
    • Diet: People with this brain condition may forget to eat. Thus, it is duty of family members and friends to ensure that the person eats on time.
    • Additional: This may not be a treatment but a step of precautions that Alzheimer’s patients should carry their identity card with contact information.
  • Epilepsy (Seizures)
    • Medications: There are anti-epileptic medicines which are highly helpful and can set most patients free of seizures while others patients may be benefited with decreased frequency. Treatment based on this medicine should be executed strictly according to instructions from a doctor.
    •  Surgical procedures: Surgery is often suggested in cases when the conditions originates from a well-define and small region of the brain, which is associated with vital functioning of the body. In this case the surgeon will excise the affected area of the brain. 
    • Therapies: There are additional therapies such as Vagus nerve stimulation and Ketogenic diets which are sometimes included in treatment for Epilepsy.  
  • There are many other general conditions which are not serious but affect cognitive abilities, memory, intelligence, day time sleepiness or SWSD (Shift work sleep disorders). These are often handled using Nootropics, which are also commonly called ‘Smart Drugs’. These are available in form of supplements, functional foods, medications and supplements. Smart Drugs are purported to have properties that can enhance cognition, memory, attentiveness, intellect, concentration and motivation.  There are medicines that are suggested for such conditions and other brain related issues; these include: Modafinil. Piracetam, Risperidone, etc, these are sold under different names. Nootropic drugs are said to work on the supply of neurochemicals in the brain. It also helps in enhancing supply of oxygen to brain and by stimulating growth of nerves.

  • Regular Puzzles:

Solving puzzles such as crossword, etc on daily basis will help your brain to function better. These are tasks that one can easily fit into their daily schedule – during surplus time such as while traveling, during breaks, etc. One can also indulge in solving larger puzzles which calls for intense attention and concentration; these puzzles may include Rubik’s cube, Japanese puzzles, etc. Some puzzles even take days to be solved; the more your brain works the better it will be.

  • Consider playing chess:
    Chess is one of the best strategy games which need intense mental involvement. This game is highly beneficial if you desire to enhance your intellect and overall brain health.
  • Talk to people:

Talking is something that you do on regular basis but pro-brain talking is something that revolves around subjects that both speakers are informed about, considerably. It need not be a debate or argument, but general sharing of details of the subject can do the trick. 

  • Take up writing:

Writing needs loads of brain functioning. You can develop a fictional plot or stories, write an autobiography or on anything that you are interested about. The deeper the details the higher will be the brain involvement, which will help in enhancing health of your brain.

  • Television preferences:

Rather than investing time in watching television soaps it is better to get engaged in solving puzzles. Nevertheless, if you want to see television ensures that you see informative and educational programs, which help you to enhance your intellect.

  • Learn a Language:

Leaning a language is very difficult but one of the best exercises for your brain. This exercise may open all dormant areas of your intellect. This practice is mainly focused on regions of your brain that are associated with language abilities. This may even enhance your hands on your native language skills.

  • Playing games:

It is not known by many but video games actually make players smarter. There various puzzle solving games and other games that serve as an effective cardio workout for your brain. Playing such games may also help by improving your problem solving abilities and makes you a faster thinker.

  • Adopt a fresh hobby:

New skills need you to focus on new aspects associated with it and this asks your brain to get adapted to it. While selecting any new hobby ensure that it is of your interest so that you do not give it up mid-way. You should also ensure that the hobby you picked demands for creativity such as music, dancing, art, writing, etc.  

  • Try developing/building things:

Building things will need your brain to work extra and mull over how to get it done, irrespective of what you are developing may it be a bench, a software or robot; when you do this, try building things from the scratch. Always try to add a dash of creativity to it.

  • Sleep:

If you don’t get sound sleep your brain may never be healthy. It is scientifically discovered and widely experienced that sleep plays a crucial role in brain health. While you are asleep a biological mechanism ensures to clean the brain of all toxins in it and some sort of repairing is also executed. If you want to have a healthy brain ensure you sleep well and when you get up you should feel fresh.

Brain-pro diet can be helpful in having better brain health. However, diet alone will not help, in fact one has to adopt in adjunct with mental and physical activities. A brain healthy diet is focused on maintaining healthy belly. It is discovered that as a person becomes obese, the hippocampus tends to shrink. Hippocampus is a brain part which is responsible for memory aspects.  You should select your food wisely as certain foods such as refined sugar, can augment inflammation of cells and decrease blood circulation to brain. Here are some foods that are beneficial for brain health.

Elderberries
These berries are rich in quercetin, which is a kind of flavonoids that is essential for good brain health. Flavonoids from these berries are beneficial as they reduce harmful inflammation of the cells. This particular type of flavonoids – quercetin – can enhance activities of mitochondria in cells, which is the powerhouse within every cell. Enhancement in activities of mitochondria can cause augmentation of your overall energy level.

Pecans:
These are nuts that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This acid is helpful form brain health. It is also said that pecans are accredited as the richest antioxidant tree nut. Studies indicated that using omega-3 fats can significantly decrease risk of neural degeneration.

Clams or Chicken Giblets
Chicken giblets which are often tossed into the trash are actually beneficial for the body and brain as they contain good amount of vitamin B12. This vitamin is one of the crucial nutrients required by the brain. If you cannot indulge in eating chicken giblets try getting clams which are rich source of Vitamin B12. Moreover, clams contain additional nutrients such as iron and zinc; these two minerals are associated with recalling and focusing ability of brain.

Beets:
If you want to snack on something snack on vegetables to enhance your brain’s abilities. Beet is one of the best options as according to researches beets are rich in natural nitrate that can actually help in enhancing blood supply to the brain. Ageing cause decline in blood circulation towards brain and thus consuming beets may be beneficial. 

Vegetable Juices:
Vegetables are considered as healthy foods generally and are rich source of necessary antioxidants and minerals to our brain and heart. The best way to get nutrients for your brain through these vegetables is by extracting fresh juice of the vegetable you select. If you are buying juice from store, then ensure that they are naturally prepared and does not contain added sugar. Ensure to consume not more than 8 ounce of juice daily, unless recommended by your dietician.

Myths and Facts:

  • Myth: People don’t use entire brain:
  • Fact: Everyone, at some point of time, is given the wrong insight that human don’t use their entire brain but some percent of it. However, it should be understood that human’s use all of their brain and not just a percent of it. For example a simple reading activity involves almost all parts of your brain. Occipital and frontal lobes are employed to see and understand; hippocampus part of the brain is used to remember, cerebellum and brainstem helps reader remain seated, breathing, blood circulation and continuous digestion of food. Hypothalamus gland and pituitary gland continues to regulate hormone, body temperature and many other tasks.
  • Myth: Drinking alcohol kills brain cell:
  • Fact: It should be understood that anything in excess is not beneficial for body but certain things in moderation may be beneficial. Alcohol consumption does not actually terminate cells in the brain. However, alcohol abuse does have some adverse influence and can damage brain but it no ways kills cells in the brain.

Brain undergoes atrophy and with ageing declination of functions tends to occur. One can ensure to have healthy brain functioning with sound sub-biomechanics through a combination of pro-brain diet, mental exercises and physical activities that generally enhances blood circulation, controls body weight and provide overall good general health.

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