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Posted on Sep 09, 2020, 8 p.m.

Article courtesy of: Nicholas DiNubile MD, who is devoted to keeping you healthy in body, mind, and spirit.

“If I had to live my life again I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once a week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied could thus have been kept active through use.” ~ Charles Darwin

Just like the muscles in your body, if you don’t use your brain regularly, it will atrophy and become less effective. Like everything else, “use it or lose it” applies here. As we age, we are all at risk for loss of some brain cells and ultimately brain function but we now know that much of this can be prevented by challenging your brain on a regular basis. Brainpower can grow like a muscle that lifts weights. Also, consider the fact that most of us never use more than 1 – 2 % of our brain’s real capacity.

Wired Magazine recently reported that IBM plans to build two of the first computers that can actually equal or surpass the theoretical processing power of the human brain. To date, no computer can match our own executive suite’s capabilities, although I must admit that memory upgrades are much easier to come by for my laptop. The human brain, with 100 billion neurons or brain cells, is currently the fastest supercomputer with a theoretical 100 trillion calculations per second. These two new IBM computers will have the combined processing power of 500 trillion calculations per second.

There are ways not only to maintain better brain function but also to tap into those huge reserves. Recent medical studies showed greatly improved cognitive function in older adults who participate in cognitive training tasks such as memory, recall, and reasoning training. I personally am not surprised by this study. My dad did crossword puzzles, brain teasers and complex math problems into his 80’s and until the time of his death had one of the most remarkable brains and intellects that I have ever encountered. I am certain it is because he found ways to constantly challenge his brain cells.

Studies have also shown positive brain effects with regular exercise and the negative effects of stress. Chronic stress exposure results in the release of certain hormones that can interfere with memory performance. So try to exercise more and worry less. Good nutrition also helps brainpower. There is so much we can do to keep our brain functioning well to a ripe old age; it just takes a little effort.


Activate your brain. Turn off the TV and learn a language or take up a musical instrument. It’s never too late. Do crosswords or other brain teasers on a regular basis.

About the author: 

Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Nicholas DiNubile, is Vice President of the A4M, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine, best selling author, keynote speaker, and one of our esteemed medical editors who is dedicated to keeping you healthy in body, mind and spirit. Dr. DiNubile was appointed Special Advisor to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (1st Bush Administration with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Chairman). He has advised two United States Presidents on matters of health and health policy, and has cared for numerous celebrities and high-level athletes.

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