1. Move It
Quick —what’s the No. 1 thing you can do for your brain’s health?
Differential calculus, you say? Chess? Chaos theory? Nope, the best brain
sharpener may be …sneakers? Yup. Once they’re on your feet, you can pump up your
heart rate. “The best advice I can give to keep your brain healthy and young is
aerobicexercise,” says Donald Stuss, PhD, a neuropsychologist
and director of the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric
Care in Toronto.
differential calculus [数]微积分；微分学
chaos theory 混沌理论
pump up 给……打气；加速
aerobic exercise 有氧运动
Mark McDaniel, PhD, professor of psychology at Washington University in St.
Louis, agrees, but adds, “I would suggest a combined program of aerobics and
weight training. Studies show the best outcomes for those engaged in both types
As we age, our brain cells, called neurons, lose the tree-branch-like
connections between them. These connections, or synapses, are essential to
thought. Quite literally, over time, our brains lose their heft. Perhaps the
most striking brain research today is the strong evidence we now have that
“exercise may forestallsome kinds of mental decline,” notes McDaniel. It may
even restore memory. Myriad animal studies have shown that, among other brain
benefits, aerobic exercise increases capillarydevelopment in the brain, meaning
more blood supply, more nutrients and —a big requirement for brain health —more
forestall v. 垄断；预先阻止
mental decline 智力下降
The preeminentexercise and brain-health researcher in humans is Arthur
Kramer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In a dozen studies
over the past few years, with titles such as “Aerobic Fitness Reduces Brain
Tissue Loss in Aging Humans,” Kramer and his colleagues have proved two critical
findings: Fit people have sharper brains, and people who are out of shape, but
then get into shape, sharpen up their brains. This second finding is vital.
There’s no question that working out makes you smarter, and it does so, Kramer
notes, at all stages of life. Just as important, exercise staves off heart
disease, obesity, diabetesand other maladiesthat increase the risk of brain
problems as we age.
preeminent adj. 卓越的
a dozen 一打；十二个
out of shape （身体）走形；变样
sharpen up 使……更敏锐；认真思考
stave off 避开；延缓
2. Feed It
Another path to a better brain is through your stomach. We’ve all heard
about antioxidantsas cancer fighters. Eating foods that contain these molecules,
which neutralizeharmful free radicals, may be especially good for your brain
too. Free radicals have nothing to do with Berkeley politics and everything to
do with breaking down the neurons in our brains. Many colorful fruits and
vegetables are packed with antioxidants, as are some beans, whole grains, nuts
neutralize v. 抵消；中和；使……中立
have nothing to do with 与……无关
be packed with 挤满；塞满；充满
More important, though, is overall nutrition. In concert with a good
workout routine, you should eat right to avoid the diseases that modern flesh is
heir to. High blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol all make
life tough on your brain, says Carol Greenwood, PhD, a geriatric research
scientist at the University of Toronto.
in concert with 和…相呼应；与…合作；和…一致
flesh is heir to 人所难免[共有]的
If your diet is heavy, then you’re probably also heavy. The same weight
that burdens your legs on the stairs also burdens your brain for the wittyreply
or quick problem solving. The best things you can eat for your body, Greenwood
notes, are also the best things you can eat for your brain. Your brain is in
your body, after all. Greenwood’s recommendation is to follow the dietary
guidelines from the American Diabetes Association (available at
3. Speed It Up
Sorry to say, our brains naturally start slowing down at the cruelly young
age of 30 (yes, 30). It used to be thought that this couldn’t be helped, but a
barrage of new studies show that people of any age can train their brains to be
faster and, in effect, younger. “Your brain is a learning machine,” says Michael
Merzenich, PhD, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco.
Given the right tools, we can train our brains to act like they did when we were
younger. All that’s required is dedicated practice: exercises for the mind.
a barrage of 大量的
in effect 实际上
Merzenich has developed a computer-based training regimento speed up how
the brain processes information (positscience.com). Since much of the data we
receive comes through speech, the Brain Fitness Program works with language and
hearing to improve both speed and accuracy. Over the course of your training,
the program starts asking you to distinguish sounds (between “dog” and “bog,”
for instance) at an increasingly faster rate. It’s a bit like a tennis
instructor, says Merzenich, shooting balls at you faster and faster over the
course of the summer to keep you challenged. Though you may have started out
slow, by Labor Day you’re pretty nimble.
nimble adj. 敏捷的；聪明的
Similarly, Nintendo was inspired by the research of a Japanese doctor to
develop a handheld game called Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day,
which has sold more than two million copies in Japan. No software out there has
yet been approved by the FDA as a treatment for cognitive impairment, but an
increasing number of reputable scientific studies suggest that programs like
Merzenich’s could help slow down typical brain aging, or even treat dementia.
The biggest finding in brain research in the last ten years is that the brain at
any age is highly adaptable, or “plastic,” as neurologists put it. If you ask
your brain to learn, it will learn. And it may speed up in the process.
FDA （美）食品及药物管理局（Food and Drug Administration）
cognitive impairment 认知障碍；认知损害
brain aging 脑老化
To keep your brain young and supple, you can purchase software like
Merzenich’s, or you can do one of a million new activities that challenge and
excite you: playing Ping-Pong or contract bridge, doing jigsaw puzzles, learning
a new language or the tango, taking accordionlessons, building a kit airplane,
mastering bonsaitechnique, discovering the subtletiesof beer-brewing and, sure,
relearning differential calculus.
supple adj. 灵活的；柔软的
jigsaw puzzles 拼图游戏；拼图玩具
“Anything that closely engages your focus and is strongly rewarding,” says
Merzenich, will kick your brain into learning mode and necessarily notch it up.
For his part, Merzenich, 64, has “4,000 hobbies,” including a wood shop and a