勤做脑保健操,提高记忆力 Improve Memory with Brain Exercises

.星期三, 03/07/2012 - 09:19

Wake Up and Smell the Cortex: New Sensory Experiences Improve Memory and Promote Brain Health
眼睛睁一睁,鼻子闻一闻:感官新体验,提高记忆力,促进脑健康


There’s no doubt that evocative scents—a linden tree in bloom, a former lover’s perfume—have the power to evoke memories of the past and provoke feelings we thought long dead. How does this happen? According to Manning Rubin, co-author with the late Lawrence Katz of Keep Your Brain Alive[i], memory is enhanced when more than one sense is involved in an experience; if you touch a rose, smell it and have strong emotions toward the person who handed it to you, your cortex is activated in at least three areas, creating a pattern and strengthening the linkages among them.
相信每个人都有这样的经历,某种气味会将我们带回从前的记忆,唤醒已然沉睡的感情,比如菩提开花的清香,还有旧情人身上独特的香水味。那么这其中有什么奥秘呢?曼宁•鲁宾(Manning Rubin)先生解释道: 当有多种感官参与某种经历时,记忆力便会提高。当你触到一朵玫瑰,闻到它的芬芳,而且又对赠你玫瑰的人有着强烈感情的时候,你的身体至少有三处皮质处于激活状态,这种模式下三者之间联系密切,记忆也就随之变得深刻。

“Most of what we learn and remember relies on the ability of the brain to form and retrieve associations in much the same way Pavlov’s dogs learned that the sound of a bell meant food,” notes Rubin, a former advertising creative director who became interested in the field of brain science when he learned that adult brains are able to grow new cells. Rubin reasoned that there might be brain exercises that could help to stimulate such growth. After meeting Lawrence Katz, a professor of neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center, the two men developed a systematic approach to exercising the brain for improved memory and overall mental flexibility. Their system, known as Neurobics, remains relevant today, 11 years after the first publication of their book, which has since been translated into 24 languages.
鲁宾先生原先是一名广告创意设计主管,当他后来了解到成人大脑能够长出新细胞时,他便对大脑研究领域产生了浓厚的兴趣。他表示:“与巴甫洛夫(Pavlov)实验中的狗记住某种铃声会让它吃到肉一样,我们学习以及记忆的能力取决于大脑形成以及检索神经连结的能力。”同时他还推断,某种脑力锻炼能够刺激细胞生长。在与杜克大学医疗中心的神经生物学教授劳伦斯•卡茨(Lawrence Katz)会面后,他们研究出一个系统的方法来进行大脑训练,以使大脑记忆力增强,增加脑神经的全面适应能力。这套训练方法称为神经操。自11年前发行推广以来,这套方法被翻译成24种语言,至今仍有着重要意义。

“Katz was a brilliant scientist and ahead of his time,” notes Rubin. “He was working on growing dendrites (the branches on nerve cells that receive information from other cells) in rat brains and found that adding extra neurotrophins[ii] to neurons almost doubles the size and complexity of the dendrites. It is actually the thinning out of dendrites that contributes to mental decline, so doubling the growth added a lot more mental horsepower.”
鲁宾说道:“卡茨是一位超越时代的伟大科学家。他在研究白鼠大脑的树突(神经细胞的一种结构,负责接收其他神经细胞的信息)生长时发现,给神经元提供更多的神经营养因子可以使得树突的大小和复杂性生长至原来的两倍。实际上树突的减少会导致神经衰弱,双倍的增长显然会给大脑提供足够马力。”

It is now an accepted fact that while certain areas of the brain are ‘responsible’ for specific sensory functions, the disuse of those functions can lead to cell atrophy and the possible appropriation of the area by another sensory function that is used to excess. This accounts for the heightened sense of touch in someone who uses her fingers to decipher Braille. In cases where a particular sensory area of the brain is not used, the senses become dull and presumably, life is less pleasurable. Those who no longer wake up and smell the coffee have lost the sense of excitement and wonder that a child is born with.
现在人们基本都认同一个事实,就是大脑的某些区域负责相应的感官功能,某种功能如果一直不使用便会导致细胞萎缩,或者使得负责该功能的大脑区域被其他使用过度的功能占用。这就是一些常用手指读取盲文的人触觉更为敏锐的原因。当大脑某区域废弃不用时,该区域对应的感官功能也就随之减退,可以想见,生活便失去了一些乐趣。那些不再起来享受咖啡温香的人就失去了对兴奋和惊奇的感知力,而这两者,则是小孩子生来就有的。

Rubin points out that most of us rely disproportionally on vision and hearing, neglecting the senses of touch, smell and taste. For instance, purchasing canned and frozen food in a grocery store prevents us from using our senses of touch and smell to determine the quality of the food. In contrast, shopping at a farmer’s market engages more senses. And while text messaging uses touch when the fingers tap on a keyboard, we seldom use touch alone as a method of determining what something is, such as when we use our fingers to help us tell the difference between fur and leather.
鲁宾指出,绝大多数人都不平衡地依赖着视觉和听觉,忽视了触觉、嗅觉和味觉。比如说在超市购买罐头食品和速冻食品的时候,我们就不用触觉和嗅觉来判断食物的质量好坏。相比而言,我们在农贸市场买东西就用到更多的感官。当手指敲击着键盘发短信的时候,我们正使用着触觉。少数情况下我们会只用触觉对某些事物作出判断,比如我们用指尖触摸来区别毛皮和皮革。

Neurobics challenges us to combine our sensory experiences in new ways, and to break our routines and experience novel activities. The authors claim this will not only enhance mental fitness but help to seed new cell growth in the brain. You’ll recall that Lawrence Katz was experimenting with neurotrophins, substances that cause neurons to sprout new dendrites. Keep Your Brain Alive cites research demonstrating that neurotrophins help strengthen connections in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is critical for learning and memory; the book also states that there is a direct correlation between nerve cell activity and the production of neurotrophins. So the more active a brain is, the more active it can become through the production of neurotrophins. Rubin likens this to a self-fertilizing garden: “Non-routine experiences that produce novel activity patterns in nerve cell circuits, can produce greater quantities of neurotrophins.”
神经操促使我们打破常规,进行全新的活动,使得各种感官体验以新的方式结合起来。这套操的创始人表示,这套方法不仅能够促进大脑健康,而且能催生大脑细胞的生长。你会想起劳伦斯•卡茨用神经营养因子做的实验,那会促进神经元产生新的树突。《让你的大脑永远活跃》中的实验证实了神经营养因子可以增强大脑学习和记忆中枢海马区的细胞联系。此外,这本书还说明,神经细胞活动与神经营养因子的产生密切相关。因此,大脑越活跃,产生的神经营养因子就越多。鲁宾将之比作一个自产自销的花园:“非常规的体验在神经细胞循环中产生了新的行为模式,由此便产生了更多的神经营养因子。”

These discoveries open up new vistas within range of everyone. What could be simpler than using the senses we all have in novel combinations? Just as climbing the stairs is a physical exercise requiring no special equipment, Neurobics offers a simple way to exercise the brain in virtually any environment. In fact, Rubin and Katz have made it easy by offering 83 brain exercises for use when one is at the workplace, commuting, shopping, on arising or preparing for bed. As Rubin explains, “It’s not about tricks, or about coming up with a few things that will help you remember a list of names—it’s about how to live a life that is brain-healthy.”
这些新发现给所有人展现了一道新的风景。还有什么比使用我们的感官更简单的方法呢?正如爬楼梯是一种不需要特殊装备的体育锻炼一样,神经操也是一种可以在任何环境下进行的大脑训练。事实上鲁宾和卡茨提供了83种大脑训练方式,囊括了工作时、上下班路上、购物时、起床后、睡觉前等各种时间段。正如鲁宾所说,“这并不是一种把戏,这是一种利用少数东西记住更多事物的方法,是一种有利于大脑健康的生活方式”。

Some Neurobic Exercises: 神经操小贴士:

 Introduce new scents and touch sensations to lovemaking. 性爱时营造新的香氛和触感。

 Find your clothes and get dressed with your eyes closed. 闭着眼睛找到衣服并穿上。

 Move familiar objects on your desk to new locations. 将桌上熟悉的东西移放到别处。

 Share a meal in silence. 与他人分享饭食但是不说话。

 Eat with a blindfold on. 蒙上眼睛吃东西。

 Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand. 用不习惯的那只手刷牙(左撇子用右手,右撇子用左手)。

 Keep a variety of scents at your desk and smell them when engaged in routine activities. 在桌上放置不同的香水,例行公事时闻一闻。

 You can learn more about Neurobics and Keep Your Brain Alive at: www.neurobics.com.
想知道更多有关神经操和《让你的大脑永远活跃》的信息,请参见网站:
www.neurobics.com

青岛雅文翻译公司英语翻译组编辑