WTF is Neuroplasticity? with Dr. Tara Swart (Episode 5)

Heights

What is neuroplasticity?

Neuroscientist Dr. Tara Swart wants you to mould your own brain! As a doctor of psychiatry with a PhD in neuropharmacology, she's spent years up close and personal with our grey matter. So, can we actively change our brain function?

On today's Working In, we lift the lid on neuroplasticity, discover how you can build new neural pathways, and potentially answer the brain function nature-nurture argument once and for all!

"If you indulge in negative lifestyle habits then you start to get degradation of your DNA. So, you don't inherit the genes that your parents were born with, you inherit what they've done with their lifestyle factors."

Why is neuroplasticity important

Is brain function a case of 'use it or lose it'? Tara explains how lifelong learning can boost your cognitive ability and why challenge and exertion light up your neural network. Plus, a ray of sunshine for those of us with slightly sporadic exercise regimes.

"If you regularly do aerobic exercise, you've got a 12-3% turnover rate of neurogenesis, which turns embryonic cells into neurons. If you've been a couch potato and then you start exercising, that goes up to 30%."

Podcast episode takeaways

We talk about:

  • What does neuroplasticity actually mean?!
  • Is cognitive function genetic?
  • Neuroplasticity in action: oxytocin production in new fathers
  • Why your late-30s and early-40s is crunch time for brain health
  • The double returns of enjoyable brain-boosting activities
  • The 3 mechanisms for inducing neuroplasticity

Listen here.

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In case you missed it and are eager to hear more from Dr. Tara Swart, check out our 1st episode with Tara on nutrition and neuroscience.