Throughout the lifetime of the human brain it continues to undergo changes. I cannot stress the importance of each stage and how we need to nourish and protect our brain growth from 0 to 100 and hopefully beyond! Let’s review each of the stages of human brain growth:
Stage 1: 0 to 10 months
- Neurons and connections growing.
- Pregnant woman should stay as stress-free as possible, take folic acid, B6 & B12, stimulate this young developing brain with sounds and sensations. Mother should avoid toxins, cigarettes, heavy metals, alcohol, drugs.
Stage 2: birth to 6 years
- Development of voluntary movement, reasoning, perception, frontal lobes active in development of emotions, attachments, planning, working memory, and perception. A sense of self is developing and life experiences shape the emotional well being.
- By age six, the brain is 95% its adult weight and peak of energy consumption.
- Caregivers need to provide nurturing environment and daily individualized communication. Negative or harsh treatment may come with emotional consequences in the future.
Stage 3: 7 to 22 years
- The neural connections or ‘grey’ matter is still pruning, wiring of brain still in progress, the fatty tissues surrounding neurons or ‘white’ matter increase and assist with speeding up electrical impulses and stabilize connections. The prefrontal cortex is the last to mature and it involves the control of impulses and decision-making.
- Therefore, teenagers need to learn to control reckless, irrational and irritable behavior. Avoiding drugs, alcohol, smoking, unprotected sex and substance abuse.
Stage 4: 23 to 65 years
- Finally, the brain reaches its peak power around age 22 and lasts for 5 more years. Afterwards, it’s a downhill pattern. Last to mature and the first to go are the brain functionality of executive control occurring in the prefrontal and temporal cortices. Memory for recalling episodes start to decline, processing speed slows and working memory is storing less information.
- Best approach is to stay mentally active, learn new things, stay physically active and eat a very healthy diet. Avoid toxins, cigarettes, alcohol and mind-altering drugs.
Stage 5: older than 65 years
- Brain cells are lost in the critical areas such as the hippocampus responsible for processing memories.
- Learn new skills, practice mediation to promote neutral emotions, exercise to improve abstract reasoning and concentration.
- Avoid stress or incorporate stress reducing mediation and exercises.
- Eat a healthy diet with foods to nourish one’s level of dopamine.