Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a researcher at the University College of London's Cognitive Neuroscience Institute, says a decade ago, many scientists "believed that in humans the brain ceased to develop from childhood, but recent studies show that many regions of the brain continue to develop long afterwards. The prefrontal cortex is the brain area that is going through the longest development period, Physorg notes. It is an important brain region for superior cognitive functions such as developing plans or making decisions and influencing social behavior, empathy, and how people interact with others.
But as we grow older, certain factors impede brain development. Here's what they are:
You do not sleep enough
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults sleep between seven and nine hours a night. This gives the brain enough time to go through all stages of sleep, which gradually becomes deeper, and ends with REM (rapid eye movement). Each person has one night sleeping between 3-5 REM sleep periods. They occur at intervals of 1-2 hours and vary in duration. An REM sleep episode can take between 5 minutes and one hour. Of the total duration of a sleep, about 20% is the REM sleep stage.
REM's sleep is very important because during this time the brain works hard to keep us asleep and at the same time activates the regions of the brain responsible for learning. This happens when memories are consolidated and stored and energy levels are completed. That's why someone who does not sleep enough focuses and learns harder.
A study conducted last year shows that sleeplessness leads to the death of neurons in the brain region called locus coeruleus (LC). Without these cells that produce energy, organism can no longer function properly the next day. Another study found that sleep deprivation could cause a contraction in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus, especially in adults over 60, suggesting that sleep becomes more important as we age.
In a 2002 study conducted at the National Institute for Health and Medical Research in France, it was found that nicotine-dependent laboratory mice had 50% fewer neurons in the hippocampus. Those taking higher doses of nicotine have also experienced brain cell death. Another study in India found that a compound of cigarettes, called NNK, could cause an exaggerated reaction of white cells in the brain, forcing them to attack healthy cells.
Do not drink enough water
The wrong concept that alcohol kills brain cells comes from triggering a whole body of body processes when we consume alcohol. One of these is that alcohol suppresses vasopressin, a hormone responsible for retaining water in the body. This leads to dehydration – which happens to be the reason why a hangover occurs.
Given that 75% of the brain is made up of water, it would be desirable that every time we drink vodka, we also drink a large glass of water. In fact, the glass of water is indicated at any time of the day, because mild dehydration can occur after just four hours when I did not drink water.
Once it begins to get worse, dehydration can cause brain inflammation (cerebral edema). This may lead to brain shrinking, according to a 2011 study.