How To Increase Your Intelligence and Get Smarter → Washingtons Blog
How To Increase Your Intelligence and Get Smarter - Washingtons Blog

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How To Increase Your Intelligence and Get Smarter

A new study by Utrecht University finds that speeding up the brain's network may increase intelligence.

In the multi-billion dollar herbal supplement market, many claims have been made that the following supplements speed up brain waves:

  • Essential fatty acids in general
  • Omega 3 fatty acids (As one article says: "Recall that your brain is comprised of at least 60% fat and the fatty or lipid part of your brain helps to transmit information rapidly across your neural networks".)
  • Phosphatidylserine, commonly known by the initials "PS"

  • DHA
And certain types of music - such as certain selections of Mozart - allegedly can speed up your brain waves

But the Utrecht study doesn't just say speed of brain waive propagation is important:
A new study has finally solved the decade-old mystery about where exactly intelligence lies in human brains after scientists found that it's everywhere.

A team at Utrecht University has found that the most efficiently wired brains belong to the most intelligent people -- a finding that suggests that improving this efficiency with drugs could offer a tantalising means of boosting IQ.

According to lead scientist Martijn van den Heuvel, "The concept of a networked brain isn't so different from the transportation grids used by cars and planes.
In other words, it is efficiency in the brain's connectivity which may be the key.

Scientists have also discovered that the Dasm1 protein plays an important part in neural connectivity:

Researchers have discovered a critical protein that regulates the growth and activation of neural connections in the brain. The protein functions in the developing brain, where it controls the sprouting of new connections and stimulates otherwise silent connections among immature neurons, and potentially in the mature brain as well, where it may play a role in memory formation.

And as Kenneth Wesson writes:

Greater brain stimulation promotes an increase in the number of dendrites ("little trees") connecting the billions of cells in the brain. Neurons sprout and re-sprout new dendrites connecting more and more brain cells throughout one's life giving all of us the neuro-physiological wherewithal to learn throughout our entire lifetime.

Multisensory experiences further extend these plentiful and precious connections throughout the entire cerebral cortex and they form additional links with other sub-cortical structures inside the brain. Conversely, reducing the quantity and/or quality of experiences and learning opportunities diminishes the brain's neural pathways permanently decreasing one's ability to learn. However, the human brain is capable of creating trillions of interrelated neural networks rendering our capacity to learn virtually limitless, if the proper foundations are laid early in life during the critical periods of the developing brain.

New neural connections are created as a result of incoming information from at least 19 sensory systems (there are not just five senses)...

While the "power" of a brain can increase in direct relationship to the number of cells composing it, the human brain's capability is best calibrated by the number of connections that develop among its billions of brain cells. Neurons are constantly rearranging their 500 trillion-plus connections (via the dendrites) in response to new information and experiences. UCLA's Arnold Scheibel stated that, "Only when the neuron develops these extensions from itself, does it begin to significantly increase its surface area as a total unit and provide more and more of a ‘landing field' for other incoming neural messages" coming in from active healthy neurons...

Music at sixty beats per minute (Baroque music, Mozart, Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, and others) helps to lower blood pressure and aids in relaxing the body's large muscle groups, which allows for a greater amount of blood flow and blood utilization in the human brain. Although the brain is only 2% of the body's weight, it consumes over 20% of the body's energy, nutrients, and oxygen.

Reducing this vital supply of nutrients and energy to the brain limit its ability to function at its optimal levels. The brain requires an excessively large and disproportionate amount of our blood supply. Unlike other organs and muscles, it cannot store energy. Consequently, a pint and a half or blood must flow through the carotid artery (in the neck) and into the brain single every minute.

You can also play games to increase your brain function (see this, for example).

Exercise also helps keep your brain

You can also play games to increase your brain function (see this, for example).

Moreover, relaxing activities like meditation and prayer have been shown to increase brain mass and connectivity in certain areas of the brain.

On the other hand, high levels of cortisol - the chemical released by the body when one is under continuous, unrelenting stress - and poverty can physically impair the brain and people's ability to learn.


  1. Fantasies, fantasies...

    I'm an old man. My mind has slowed considerably, and it was never very fast to begin with. Let me pause though -in my daily routine- just a wee moment to educate some of -all these many geniuses (Aristotle and Alexanders if you will!) at work here -who think they are so smart.

    First of all, what is intelligence?

    If intelligence is knowing enough to keep out of the way of dangerous objects -headed our way, well then... The fleet-footed-young are feeble minded.

    Note I did not say, that intelligence might be the ability to avoid fast moving dangerous objects. Nor did I say -willingness to show-boat -avoiding such objects -just to demonstrate a common, youthful agility might be intelligence, -or more likely, -the lack of it.

    We do not know what intelligence might be.

    This is a broad statement, however, it is easily upheld should we consider the ignorance of the long past of superstitious feudalism, more superstitious hunter-gatherers, even more superstitious -and even barbaric tree-dwelling simians, and compare their ignorance-lite to our own much more profound ignorance, (turbo-ignorance -if you will) -should we manage to end all human life on the planet -as we are now so dumbfoundingly-and-stupidly capable.

    No. We do not know what intelligence is.

    Even were someone to give us a definition we could somehow incongruously and tentatively agree upon, -there is no possible way to measure any value to intelligence.

    My slow plodding mind has recently stumbled across a philosophic notion, -we should all perhaps consider for what truth could possibly be about the intelligence found in it.

    It suddenly dawned on me one day as I was driving down the road one day with my wife, -as we all drive -we are unconscious of the feat.

    If we can do something as complicated as drive (made doubly complicated with a spouse in our midst) then we have to consider closely what consciousness might be.

    If we examine other life forms, it seems clear consciousness evolved. And at one time our anscestors were not conscious beings, or at least they were not the conscious beings we are today.

    When consciousness arose, it seems likely, consciousness was both a shared and learned experience. Witness parents telling their children to "Think!" (Why? -would be a good question for mom and dad, -for it does not seem necessary to think.)

    Yes, consciousness is likely a shared and learned experience, and not much more.

    We are like the birds chirping in the trees.

    It's quite marvelous and perilously stunning to think that from all the fluttering-chatter we decipher something we refer to as "intelligence".

    I walk up and down the streets here in the town I live in in Maine though, and I do not see anything I would consider profound intelligence.

    I read the Internet and books too, (for those of you who wouldn't recognize one if you tripped over a book in the broad daylight in front of your library, books are bound pages with words on them, the chirping of human-birds).

    And I do not consider myself intelligent. I have proved myself -quite the fool- too many times to ever attest to my own intelligence! -Just ask my wife, -PLEASE.

    I just consider myself lucky -one of those fast-moving dangerous objects I see all around me on the highway when I am suddenly stirred to consciousness -hasn't recently run me over when I was unconsciouly getting along just fine.

    "Watch WHERE you're GOING!" she said to me again.

    "Thanks, Hun," I said.

    Like birds, together -we're reasonably intelligent.

  2. GW - first off, your work on this site is amazing, and certainly one of my major sources of "news". I also enjoy your random forays such as this.

    these studies always strike me as somewhat comical. in my humble opinion, the most effective and basic ways one can increase his/her intelligence are to read, meditate, and exercise regularly. Your brain obviously cannot function without a healthy body.

    and hey, according to Mr. Wesson above, a psychedelic experience or two may increase your intelligence as well....

  3. In case you haven't run into this one. My computer is trying to keep me from passing it on.
    FEMA videographer has info about 911


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