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Brain Fitness and its Impact on Neuropsychiatric HealthBY: Divya Narayan | Category: Healthcare | Submitted: 2014-01-17 01:05:12
Article Summary: "Brain fitness provides numerous protective effects to the brain and the nervous system against free radical damage, inflammatory effects, and oxidative damage. Cognitive functioning of the brain can be maintained at a constant level or even increased with age, primarily due to a healthy lifestyle and high levels of brain stimula.."
What is brain fitness?
The term "cognition" refers to the overall mental processing of sensory information received by the brain. It comprises of retention of information (memory), language processing, reasoning, problem solving skills, etc. Activities dealing with cognition are known as "cognitive activities". 
"Cognitive fitness" is also known as "brain fitness". This is a hypothesis which states that the cognitive functioning of the brain can be maintained at a constant level or even increased with age, primarily due to a healthy lifestyle and high levels of brain stimulatory exercises. 
Need for Brain Fitness - "Use it or lose it!"
Neurogenesis is defined as the process of formation of new neurons (brain cells). The process of neurogenesis is the most active during the prenatal developmental stage. Neurons are most actively formed during the foetal stage.
Brain fitness provides numerous protective effects to the brain and the nervous system against free radical damage, inflammatory effects, and oxidative damage. It is seen that those individuals who keep themselves "brain fit" have less likelihood of developing neuropsychiatric illnesses as compared to those individuals who are not "brain fit". 
The brain undergoes continuous changes throughout a person's lifetime. Research has shown that the brain possess the property of "plasticity". In other words, so long as the brain is kept active and fit, newer neurons keep getting synthesized. In other words, the functioning of the entire nervous system and its overall fitness is based on the principle of "Use it or lose it!" 
How can brain fitness be achieved?
Brain fitness can be achieved by indulging in - 
Brain fitness (as well as overall health) undergoes deterioration due to the following unhealthy activities -
• Hormonal imbalances
• Improper nutrition
• Lack of sleep
• Sedentary lifestyle
• Drug addiction
Impact of brain fitness on neuropsychiatric health
Neuropsychiatry deals with the study of mental illnesses arising due to disorders related to the nervous system. Some of the most common neuropsychiatric illnesses include Alzheimer's disease, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, etc.
The impact of brain fitness on neuropsychiatric health can be studied under three parameters -
• Brain Stimulatory Activities
• Diet and Nutrition
• Physical Activity
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