SHA Magazine Health & Beauty
The benefits of cognitive stimulation
SHA has two revolutionary technologies that improve and strengthen neuronal connections.
Spending 15 to 20 minutes a day reading, solving crossword puzzles and Sudoku puzzles, writing by hand or doing memory exercises, such as trying to remember the phone numbers we have in our cell phone’s address book, are very effective activities for training the brain. As Bruno Ribeiro, head of the Cognitive Development and Brain Stimulation Unit at SHA Wellness Clinic, tells us, “The main objective of brain training is to strengthen the connections between neurons. Let’s imagine that we go hiking in the mountains and we start walking through an almost unspoiled land. With each step we take, we create a path that, at first, is small and narrow. But as we walk along it again, this incipient path becomes more and more marked and longer until, after walking the same route several times, the path becomes a road. This is exactly how memory works and how cognitive abilities are trained.
Cognitive reserve is a concept that refers to the capacity of the central nervous system to cope with cognitive decline. It is a kind of piggy bank of cognitive functions, and the fuller it is, the better the brain will respond to the aging process and to neurodegenerative diseases. Bruno confirms that “there are several studies that support the importance of cognitive reserve. One of the most relevant was carried out almost four decades ago with cloistered nuns who had a very high longevity, with an average age of more than 80 years, and a very low incidence of neurodegenerative diseases. Most of the nuns were or had been teachers, had a high level of education and dedicated a good part of their day to reading and writing. In other words, they were mentally active. In addition, the sisters donated their brains to science so that they could be analyzed when they died, and the results were surprising. It was found that in the brains of many of them, there were clear signs of cognitive decline, but due to their significant cognitive reserve, the symptoms were minimal”.
SHA-style cognitive stimulation
In addition to the intelectual challenges and tasks that we can all engage in to train the brain, SHA has two pioneering cognitive stimulation technologies, developed by NASA and Harvard University. On the one hand, transcranial photobiomodulation, which, as Dr. Ribeiro explains, “consists of applying infrared light diodes with different wavelengths in specific areas of the brain, which accelerates and rebalances cell recovery processes, increases oxygenation of brain cells and stimulates and repairs their synthesis. In this way, we manage to increase cognitive capacities, the general performance of the organism, energy levels and mood. On the other hand, transcranial electrical stimulation, an innovative treatment that uses a wireless helmet equipped with 39 electrodes that record and evaluate the electrical activity of the brain in real time and emits slight discharges of a very low intensity current in the brain tissue. Thus, we can modulate its functioning and rebalance the bioelectrical impulses. This technology improves cortical plasticity and cognitive performance and is very effective in the rehabilitation of neurological trauma and stroke.”
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