Healthy Brain, Happy Life – Discussing Memory & Brain Enrichment with Professor Wendy Suzuki – Part 1

Wendy Suzuki

How can we achieve a happy life by enriching our brain? Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology Wendy Suzuki discusses some very valuable insights from her book, Healthy Brain, Happy Life, enhancing our memory, and the positive impact of exercise on our brain.

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Topics Discussed in this Episode:

  • The Healthy Brain, Happy Life as a science memoir and Wendy’s autobiography
  • Discovering more about how the brain stores, converts, and holds on to memories
  • What happens in the brain with Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • The importance of exercise and sleep for optimal brain function
  • The story of Thomas Keller and what makes memories so precious
  • Using emotion to strengthen memories
  • Enriching the brain through physical exercise
  • Brain hacks that you should know about

Key Takeaways:

  • It has been discovered that one of the things that exercise does for the brain is hippocampal neurogenesis. As such, the longevity of memory can be made possible through exercise and physical activity.
  • Hippocampal plaques and tangles are what causes Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • Sleep is essential for healthy brain functioning. It can’t be emphasized enough how critical good, normal sleep and regular normal sleep is for your brain.
  • One of the most noticeable effects of exercise is on a person’s mood. You feel good and happy after a workout, and that is because physical activity stimulates the release of dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline, endorphins, and enkephalins.
  • A regular physical aerobic activity has been shown to be as effective as the most commonly-used antidepressant to treat major depressive disorder.
  • Physical exercise also stimulates growth factors that help the brain grow and create connections or synapses. A key growth factor is known as Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which stimulates the birth of hippocampal neurons.
  • Regular aerobic exercise also improves the circulatory system. It stimulates brand new blood vessels in the brain, called angiogenesis.
  • The brain is the number user of oxygen in the entire body, and the more blood vessels you have, the better that that oxygenated blood can profuse the entire brain.
  • As we age, we become more and more susceptible to strokes. The best thing to have in your brain if a blood vessel bursts are more blood vessels to help in your recovery.
  • Regular walks three to five times a week have been shown to be effective in decreasing your chances of getting dementia by 30%. And if you are a high-fit woman in middle age, you are 90% less likely to get dementia when you’re older

Action Steps:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Make sure to get enough sleep.

Wendy said:

“I consider sleep similar to exercise in the sense that it is two of the most healthy things that you can do for your brain. I think of what’s happening with exercise during the day as kind of providing this wonderful bubble bath of good neurochemicals and growth factors for your brain… And the sleep is kind of flushing all that good stuff down the drain and filling it up with nice, clean water.”

Thanks for listening!

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Links to things mentioned in the show:

Books by Wendy Suzuki

Past episode mentioned that you shouldn’t miss:

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More from Wendy Suzuki:

Wendy’s Website

Wendy’s Twitter (@wasuzuki)

Wendy’s Facebook

Wendy’s LinkedIn

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