Thursday, July 07, 2005


Just read a terrific article in The New Scientist called "11 Steps to a Better Brain". Since I'm always in the market for a brain upgrade, I was totally excited. In fact, I was so excited about the possibilities of brain expansion that I'm not only going to pass the link along, I'm going to sum up what I learned. In that way, I can test myself to see exactly how desperately I need this information. Besides, reviewing what you learned might be one of the 11 steps. Then again it might not be. Crap, I'm already starting to forget.

Okay, so here's my clearly defective brain's version of the 11 steps.

1. Pharmaceutical enhancement. I'm not all that interested in the subject at this point, so I skimmed, but I think they're talking about Ritalin and stuff like that. Wasn't that just linked with increased cancer risk? Nah, definitely not interested.

2. Eat Beans on toast for breakfast. Apparently the combination of fiber and protein really clarifies thinking. While the idea of smearing beans on their morning english muffin would probably gross most people out, it sounds pretty good to me. But then again, I'm a vegetarian, and beans are practically my favorite food.

3.There's also some food called Marmite, which I never heard of, but it has a lot of brain building B vitamins, and hmmm, I think you can spread that on toast, too. Marmite. Kind of sounds like marmalade. Which brings me to...

4. Word association games are good. So are crossword puzzles, memorizing poems, and similar mental gymnastics, but you knew that, didn't you?

5. Knitting. Ever wonder why you see so many old ladies knitting those ugly afghans no one wants. They're keeping their brains in shape for God's sake. So be nice. Buy an afghan at the next church fair.

6. The best lunch is a salad and an omelette. The eggs have hmmm...choline, I think it was, and the salad's got anti-oxidants. Top them off with some yogurt for dessert and you'll be going strong all afternoon.

7. Exercise, especially the rhythmic kind that teaches your body patterns is good for the brain as well as the body.

8. You heard that stuff about listening to Mozart. Well, far as we know, that's still true.

9. Eat the right fats. Nay to the transfatty acid fake stuff found in cake, french fries, and everything your parents gave you as a reward for being good. Yes to fish and flax oil.

10. I think there was something about chewing gum, but how on earth that helps the brain, I have no idea.

11. Going without sleep for days on end doesn't help at all. Very bad news for insomniacs like me who will now have another reason to stay awake and worry.

But wait, wait, I've already got 11 and I still remember more. What about eating lots of berries and getting a job or trying to keep the one you have? And I'm sure there was something about nuns with positive attitudes in there and something called neurofeedback which sounded a lot like meditation to me.
Damn, maybe the article was actually called 17 Steps to a Better Brain.

Or maybe I shouldn't be so quick to rule out pharmaceutical enhancement.

So go to the New Scientist, then come back and tell me how well I did--or at least remind me of what exactly marmite is and where I can get some quick.


rdl said...

I'm definitley signing up for whatever they have out there.

Patty said...

Excellent recall!

And I've really been enjoying your blog.

Now off for some beans and toast!

Perfect Virgo said...

You mean you are not already following most of the suggestions on your list! (Knitting excepted of course - well there are limits.) They have the ring of truth to them I will concede...

No.3 Marmite is a delicious paste-like spread for sandwiches here in the UK. Basically it is yeast extract, brown and tastes very salty but is good value if you have a savoury palate and a limited vegetarian diet like me!! Aussies call it "vegamite" I believe.

Patry Francis said...

perfect virgo: thanks for clearing up my Marmite confusion. Now I DEFINITELY
want some. I wonder if it's available in the U.S...

And actually I do follow most of the 11 suggestions with the exception of knitting and sleeping.

Anonymous said...

Looking for information and found it at this great site... »