Science of Brain Change
So we're back. We're talking about brain science in this segment. I know I had a lot of brain science in the first one in my crazy cartoon drawing, but we're gonna do this time as we delve a little bit more deeply into what I consider to be seriously and with with all kidding aside really one of these profound ideas and discoveries in human history and that's what we're gonna get into because I actually, uh, a lot of people calls the health, which is our system, they call it the science of hope and which I have always I love that idea now for some people hope sounds like it's in the distance, but really, whenever I think when you start to understand physiology, when start to understand the brain, you start to understand that we are malleable as human beings it's incredibly hopeful, I think, for most people to start to understand that you have more control over who you're going to be in the coming years, that maybe ever thought and that we're gonna get into now the way that I started to...
frame this because this is, quote unquote vision class on we're talking about how exercise can improve vision I didn't talk a little bit about this idea of the inevitability, a visual decline is your age. Because I basically I personally you don't have to adopt this but one of my personal belief systems is I don't like being told that something is impossible or inevitable ever right now I get death I have we have solved that one yet but every in taxes you know that's kind of the joke but at the end of the day I would prefer to actually attempt to create change in my life then accept the fact that stuff will just decline and so I want to talk a little bit about this idea because I'm often asked you know it's what we talked about in the first segment after the age of forty your eyes are going to decline there's nothing you can do about it just get used to the idea that you need readers blah blah, blah well presbyopia is the name that supply to this idea of age related visual decline and this is a little picture of what happens that because of some probably damage caused by exposure to light um and in my opinion a lot of other issues blood flow oxygenation a lot of other stuff the lens right which is designed to focus you remember the first picture like the lens designed to focus the light back into the right spot on the I well if the lin's loses its ability to change shape because it's gotten stiff it loses its ability to correctly focus the light all right and so gently what we wind up having is that the light gets focused a little bit in front of where it's supposed to and as a result it's harder for us to read stuff up close so that's what press gop is and like I said if you talk to most I care professionals because they look at the surface of the eye they go well it's pretty inevitable because we see the lenses getting stiff so that is ok because remember we talked about we're gonna look at the visual system from two perspectives the biomechanical what was the other one? The neurological right the brain you just say brain there's a mechanical in the brain part all right we're interested in the brain part and how exercise can impact the brain so this is one of those questions I always you know kind of a simple goofy little analogy why is the brain so important? Well, a lot of what we do I think in even in my old profession was a little bit cosmetic and what I mean by that is I'm working on a race car what drives it around the track mostly is the engine right that's the real important part now I can come in I can put different decals on right I can change the tire pressure I could do a lot of stuff to tweak the outside but if the primary driver is faulty the car's really never going to be a high performer it's kind of the same way with the human body right? We can talk about the vascular system we can talk about posture we can talk about anything you want to discuss but ultimately what's causing it toe work is the brain and so I want to make sure that you understand that the way that we approach these vision exercise is the way that we approach everything that we do in our system is I'm really interested in how it's impacting on your brain so have you guys stretch or do something you know periodically you do some mobility work or whatever so you know I came into the fitness medical world from that perspective I'm a movement guy I like making joints move and both bones and do what they're supposed to do and joints and tendons and all that stuff but ultimately the real question is whenever I move my elbow in a certain way when I move my head what I want to know is what is that doing in the brain is the brain accepting that information? Is it routing it in the right way and can I use all this other stuff to actually improve how my brain is functioning that makes sense because that's really what's going to determine the outcome of my life is how well my brain processes the information and how well my brain outputs information so here is something you might want to write down wherever you are this is one of my favorite books on this topic this one came out probably I don't remember what the publication date was but probably six or seven years ago it's buying dr norman doi jj who is a kind of a leading pioneer in the whole idea of what's called neural plasticity. Now the name of the book is the brain that changes itself and this is not written for doctors it is written for people interested in brains kind of on a delves into a lot of emerging science you guys may have heard of websites like posit science or lu ma city things like that these are training programs if you go and you research about this everyone's getting really interested in excited about the idea of neural plasticity all right? And I said going into this segment that we're going to discuss what I consider to be literally one of the most revolutionary aspects or ideas to come along uh in in human history but particularly the last several hundred years and is this all right neural plasticity whenever I was in school um we were still teaching anatomy especially brain science anatomy from what is now considered to be a very archaic perspective because we were taught where I was taught going through school that after you reach the age of about twenty five your brain was fixed you couldn't really do anything to change it you couldn't alter it most the pathways were kind of hard wired and burned in and basically you had what you had and that was it and believe it or not, while that may sound weird because most people go well that that doesn't seem strange it was based on some flawed studies, flawed interpretations of research and unfortunately that was an idea that was in propagated fore lots and lots of time to medical professionals health care professionals anatomy students and this book explains kind of the evolution of the thought process that says you know what? Not only is that not true it's actually completely wrong in the neural plasticity is a very simple terms so neural means brain and plastic means what changeable, changeable, malleable bendy right you have a bendy brain it's plastic you can bend it um and what's really important for me is that people start to understand that who you are, how your eyes functioned, how you move are not fixed and when I say who you are and even mean personality having, you know, people that have gone through some kind of experience and as a result of that experience they changed dramatically absolutely right there lives were different, they made different choices well, if your brain was fixed that doesn't happen because everything that you are his brain derived that's that's what we know like your personality. So the last sentence there is that we can direct our brain development through intelligent, purposeful practice that's what neural plasticity means it means that we can, with a little bit of forethought, choose activities, habits and exercises that will enhance our brain in our body as result. And I find that, like I said, incredibly hopeful right now, most people when they think about this and they read about it on the internet, they're reading about hey, I don't lose my memory as I get older, so I'll play some memory games. I don't lose my ability to hear, so I'll do some auditory well, it applies across the board, whatever it is that you want to be good at, whatever you want to hold on to, you can like I said, attack it intelligently by activating the brain in the right way and that's really what this whole program is about. As I said, I'm not about so much the mechanics of your eyes because again from a research perspective, we don't know how much we can change that. But what we do know is that we can change how your brain perceives, and we can do that through intelligent practice, yeah seven example like I started tow learn to play guitar right at age thirty two so there is still hope beyond twenty five. Well, that's what's, let me go back that's I think one of the things that's always been really interesting to me. Sorry is I think the common experiences will if I tried, I could always learn did really matter how old I was, but again, that was where, where anecdotal experience and supposed research really began about heads. But the fact is, that is much as we like to a cz muchas we know about the human body and as much as we think science knows about the human body to guess understand, like its a last frontier, we're just scratching the surface of understanding the human body. We know a tremendous amount, but it is still it the level of definitive this that we'd like to bring to its not there as an example to weeks ago major big report comes out and think about this two surgeons, and I think they were in switzerland have actually identified a new knee ligament it's present in like ninety eight percent of people never seen it in the textbook before and think about how many knee surgeries have been done over the past two hundred years, where so the whole point is that we have to look at the body in different ways and every time we change what we're doing we may find something new so they're now looking at this knee ligament going hey, we think with athletes that have the injuries that it may play a big role and we need to figure out how to operate on that so that's two weeks ago it's twenty thirteen for goodness sakes so when it comes to the brain like I said, we're just now starting to get into how it really works um what happened just so you know, as we go a little bit further into this is really against one memory is never had one right there putting the big too and it makes all the bone bone bone in terrible sounds you're in there, but it basically allows us to take a three dimensional picture of your body. Those became really more more prevalent kind of in the late eighties moving into the nineties and then around nineteen, ninety five, what started become available of a research perspective and medical perspective is what's called a functional m r I in a functional m r I allows us to look more specifically it brains as they're doing stuff which is really cool that's actually helped us understand how the blood flow patterns change and when gets activated and there's all kind of emerging science technologies so let us look at the brain well, here's what's important what year was that? Nineteen, ninety five I'm old enough to remember nineteen, ninety five really? Well uh, so if you think that wasn't that long ago, there are some there are scientists that say that the growth of technology since nineteen ninety five has actually kind of turned on its head roughly eighty five percent of what we thought we knew it's actually inverted like I don't know that wasn't that's not at all how we thought it worked and so that's what we're discovering so brain science. Like I said, it's emerging and we have two choices we can either wait twenty or thirty years for the research to be done or we could start experimenting, right? And so I'm an experimenter. And so as I said, all these exercises that we're going to do, you're going to be an experiment of one you're going to say, I'm going to do this experiment on myself and if it improves, my vision is going to go in my training program, and if it doesn't improve my vision in my body, I'm gonna leave it out till it's necessary okay, so everyone clear on what neural plasticity is, you have a bendy brain and it's really important that you understand that you want to bend it intentionally all right now this is just a little picture what we think of you know what brain synapses look like but that's what I want to put up there, I want you to read that sentence thought changes structure all right. Thought changes structure. Now let me give you some examples about, uh, how this works. How do you guys have ever tried to lose weight before I thought about it right here. That idea. Now remember, you wake up one morning look in the mirror like, man, really? How would happen to me? I'm fifty pounds overweight. How did that happen? I didn't notice until today, which is what happens with a lot of people and you look at it go okay, I'm going to start a whatever right in our business, we say people usually have what we call a fitness seizure at that point where they go through and throw out everything made of sugar in white, and they promise themselves that they'll never there only salads and chicken for the rest of their lives. And then they put out in their twenty year old jogging shoes and go for a run and that last for how long? A couple days. You know, you pull a hamstring like, uh, whatever, but the idea of changing your diet is not the same thing as in as having a habit and the point that I'm trying to make is that your first thought is just not, which means that you have to have that thought regularly and you have to follow it up with some level of action, but as you have that thought over and over and over and over again, you actually change the structure of your brain, you begin creating new pathways, you get them wired, all right, there's a whole process called myelin ization that goes into this not important understand what is important understands that when you first begin doing these eye exercises, your first rep is an idea that makes sense it's like this is a good idea, but you haven't convinced your brain that it needs it needs a change of structure yet, so the point that I'm trying to bring up with this is that we have to focus on what we're doing. We start off, and as we wrap things out and we're thinking about it, we literally a reformatting our brains, and this is what I'm talking about in terms of the coolest stuff from a science perspective in my lifetime is the fact that if I'm an unhappy person that I can actually practice thinking differently and become a happy person, yes, and we can actually watch that occur over time and how your brain gets activated, all right? So to me that's really cool because it gives me some opportunities and options that maybe I never thought existed intelligent, purposeful practice literally will reshape your brain and your behaviors and make what you think now become permanent or as permanent as possible overtime and when cool that yeah, questions about that? Yeah, is it kind of along the same lines, like growing up there is a fee, a few key people in my life who just trying to get the idea of positive imagery on me, like whether I was playing baseball as a kid or I, you know, wanted to be a musician or whatever the case was, I was often told toe first envisioned myself being or doing that and then just kind of stick into it yet absolutely, I mean, that's the end. Like I said, a lot of this stuff is fairly common sense. I think people have known about it for centuries because we've known that how you direct your thinking hey, director brain eventually impacts how you move in the world. So that's a great example of neural plasticity, one that I just read yesterday, I just I found this really intriguing. I was actually reading, and I'll bring this up because of some questions that have showed up on the internet. I am done a lot of work over the years with soldiers, soldiers in law enforcement especially as the war began I started working with a lot of guys that came back with significant head trauma um and so I'm like said and I've come from military family, so it's always been a part parcel of kind of what I'm interested in how we try and help sell is reading a book by a gentleman who was a p o w in the vietnam war and really interesting because he was talking about how he survived six years as a prisoner of war you know, really small cage really tough environmental conditions and one of his primary things and this was interesting, he said I couldn't spend a lot of time thinking about my family because thinking about my family made me too sad he was but what I could think a lot about was golf because I love to play golf and so he said I played thousands upon thousands upon thousands of perfect holes in my mind while I was in that cage and as the story goes again, I don't know for sure that this is true, but whenever he was finally released the flights out of that at that time were called freedom flights and so they put it on the plane flew to hawaii and he had made a promise to himself that he was going to play golf in the very first golf course that he saw and supposedly his first day out as soon as he got off the plane he shot like a seventy six after not swinging a golf club for six years just thinking about it but he will was interesting is he said you know I never hit a bad put that whole time right so it kind of kind of plays into that idea now positive imagery there is a lot of stuff that we could get into the main thing that I want you to think about is it when we begin doing our exercises what we're really doing I said we're gonna we're gonna work mechanically but the main focus is what brain brain we're going to try and rewire your brain to see differently and see better cool yeah yes sir two questions dr cop from the chat rooms one is from stuff stefania what does dr cobb think about the research of mirror neurons and how it can be applied on vision improvements that's an awesome is that it is okay question so mirror neurons pretty simple idea right? We're sitting here I smile and you smile back at me and now one of the reasons that we understand what a smile is is that whenever you see me smile a mirror neuron in your brain actually causes your brain to think about creating a smile so in other words we actually interpret to some degree facial expressions and what they mean by starting the process in our own brain okay, so a mirror neuron basically is that in terms of improving vision, using this it's kind of an interesting question in I don't want to go off in a wild tangent here, but it is important that you start to think about, um, in other words, your environment, all right? We talk about mirror neurons, we talked about exercise of any kind. One of the things you won't understand is that you will look like the people that you practice with that makes sense to you on dso there is there's, a lot of benefit when you do programs like this. If you're starting to do starting workout program, you're starting to work doing vision stuff, do it with your spouse with a partner and pay attention partly what we're gonna do in this class and I'm to show you how to teach each other or how to teach other people how to do these exercises so that you can actually take a take advantage of this whole idea because we model what we see, you know, that you guys have have you ever had kids? Or if you just you don't have kids go to the mall and it's very interesting to watch kids that are five, six, seven walking and moving and talking like whichever parent there around the most. They start to emulate them and so that's an example so whenever we're doing these exercises like I said we want to make sure that we're doing them well so that whoever we're doing them with will also benefit from him so that would be the mirror neuron answer did you have another one you know I sure dio on dh this is from pallotti's redhead thoughts can change creates synapses in the brain but how our brain chemicals like serotonin serotonin impacted are the synaptic changes mirrored by some of the synopsis with chemical messenger changes yeah that's okay I read it bad perfect it's a great question okay so so whenever we talk about synapses in the brain that's basically where neurons are connecting and talking to one another the way they talk to one another is they said little chemical messengers back and forth called nero trance emitters um and in fact whenever we talk about thoughts eventually creating structure it is a blend of both meaning we may grow new cells we may grow new neurons in the brain but for them to cross talk the neuro transmitter development also has to follow in line so they basically work in a symbiotic fashion and hopefully that answers that question awesome thank you and then we had one more question trying to find it so basically someone was asking about supplements vitamins and such is that something you're going to cover in this too damn or because that is such a full scope topic in and of itself I had not planned to cover that okay a couple of days but let me ponder maybe I could do a little section tomorrow. Okay, I'll give it some consideration but carrots good, the carrots could be beneficial. Yeah, you you all right? So here's a just a little quote I actually loved everything you have ever felt or done in your life was due to brain function at the most basic level the intricate firing rates and patterns of your brain but determined who have been and more importantly who you will become all human change represents changes in that individual's nervous system although we are his brain derived which I think about that a lot because as I said, whenever I started getting into the stuff, I get really passionate about it because I love teaching vision exercises I love teaching movement exercises I love teaching balance I love teaching sports, but at the end of the day what I'm really interested in is helping people be happier in their lives. And if we have better brain function, I think it gives you more opportunities to explore the world, explore your life in a lot of different ways um so if you're I started to think about all this stuff around the rope plasticity, let's start to get some kind of brass tacks all right, there's, a picture of your brain and it's really cool when you do anatomy because when you take a skull off, the brains are actually color coded, just like they're not color coded. We do this way, we can actually look at them. They're like something like really this's just to give us an idea. Now, if you remember that drawing up here this is the front of the brain. This green section back here that's the occipital lobe. That part that I was talking about were most of your visual system basics occur. All right? Now what I really want to focus on is not the picture but what it says over here, two things your brain needs to stay alive. Your brain is an oxygen hog. All right, your brain weighs about three and a half pounds. It uses between twenty and twenty five percent of all the oxygen that you take in is which when what we look at in the human body is stuff like that because whatever's taking the most sugar and the most oxygen is usually the most active it's, the one it's, so critical and so for such a small part of the body, your brain uses a tremendous amount of the available oxygen and also glucose alright, sugar have you know that when you get stressed out, you want sugar most people, when they get stressed out like I want some ice cream or I want some chocolate, I want something. Well, one of the reasons is that when you're stressed out, your brain is kind of freaking out and it's burning through more and more and more glucose. And so it actually says, hey, give me some more, all right? So if you wanna have a super healthy brain, what this number one tells us is that you need to be a great breather. I mentioned early on that visual problems causing forward head posture you can lose thirty percent of respiratory capacity so you can get into this vicious cycle where poor breathing is gonna cost fuel supply problems to the brain. Everyone clear on that, it also means that you need to take care of your diet, can diet have an impact on your vision? You betcha. All right, absolutely. So and this is not a course on diet and whatnot. It's, just not enough time. But what I do want you to understand is that if you start doing these vision exercises and you're not getting as fast or as much of a change is you want, you may have to scale back on the eye exercises that we're gonna do and look at some of the breathing stuff that we're going to tomorrow. Or some of the other exercises because there's there tend to be this continuum in the body that if the brain's not getting fuel it really doesn't matter what you do everyone clear on that okay so really really close critical and the number to the other thing that your brain needs to stay alive activation now I said earlier that the brain functions on a use it or lose it principal on dh this is exactly what we see if there's an area of the brain that isn't stimulated regularly right it's not stimulated regularly overtime whatever that section of the brain was dedicated to dio begins to degenerate all right foreign language foreign language perfect example all right, so in the late nineties I sold my practice in the us I moved to italy had a friend was practicing in italy he said hey you want to move over here I said twist my arm and so I moved to florence italy I was practicing with him uh and I didn't speak any italian I took like a berlitz course or something before I moved over there and I was just thrown in I started practice two or three days after I got there working with patients and athletes particularly and within about three or four months I was speaking fairly decent italian I had some other languages in my background so that was good and then I lived there for quite some time and got to the point that I felt relatively fluent and then I moved back to the u s and then went eight years without speaking italian and that the loss is it still burdensome to me right it's so frustrating but it's just a lack of activation it's simple you can think of activation is practice right but whenever we start thinking about the visual system right the first in the first segment I had you guys do this I had to do something really hard hold the pen out keep your head still move your eyes a left move your ass with right the fact that one of those motions was difficult or hard for you what does it tell me about your practice tells me that you avoid doing it right so one of the things that we're going to figure out as we go through and do these exercises you're going to start to figure out almost all the stuff that you've been avoiding doing with your eyes but they're the ramification of avoiding it is that the part of your brain dedicated to controlling it and all the stuff around that part of the brain may actually have started develop some mild problems there one clear so activate activate activate yes sir going back to your italian example do you think that you know after eight years of not using it when you're back in the u s do you think that that that you still possess that knowledge in your brain and it just went dormant or do you think it just it disappeared? That is one of the wonderful of questions of neuroscience we don't have an answer to based off of experience and I think some research I think it is still there, but it is less accessible because whenever you begin going back and practicing like I've been back to italy a couple times now and interestingly enough, the speed of reacquisition is very high that's one of the things we do talk a lot about with our athletes is let's say that you spent five or six years working out, got in pretty good shape and then you went and you took three years off, right? Just stuff happened the fact is that the person that actually already had a map for being strong and fit, we'll get stronger and fitter more quickly than someone who's brand new. Okay, so experientially and like I said from research, we think that a lot of the stuff that we've built over time is there, we had to draw it out again. All right, one more quick question before we move on. So when your brain is thirsty for fuel oxygen glucose, let's say you don't directly crave something that sugary like chocolate can your brain inadvertently crave things that your body converts to glucose absolutely. It could be. Because basically, all the whole point of eating is to eventually have glucose available. So it could be a wide variety of different things.