Your brain’s feel-good factor builds mental fitness

Oct 10 2013

It may be non-traditional but there is certainly nothing trivial about the concept of “Enriched Environment” currently being developed by a multidisciplinary team of HMRI researchers.

Our brains respond like sponges to stimuli in the environment and scientists know that when people listen to certain types of music or begin to dance, they get a massive release of neural transmitters like dopamine.

Dopamine is known to control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres, as well as helping to regulate movement and emotional responses. It is strongly connected to happiness, motivation and drive.

Conversely, people with low dopamine activity may be more prone to addiction and possibly susceptible to Parkinson’s Disease. There is evidence that schizophrenia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) both involve altered levels of dopamine activity.

Research that HMRI Director Professor Michael Nilsson has done in collaboration with the Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenburg has shown that men who are in poor physical condition at 18 years of age run a 79% higher risk of developing epilepsy later in life.

The body develops better resistance to injury and illnesses as physical exercise increases connectivity in the neural network in the adult brain and strengthens several mental and physiological functions. In addition, people who exercise in their youth have a tendency to remain in good shape as adults.
It is highly likely that young people with good mental fitness in their teenage years will enjoy similar resilience throughout their adulthood.

The E2EEE (Enrich 2 Engage, Educate & Empower) program being developed around the concept of “Enriched Environment” is focusing on a largely untapped area of medical research. It’s about taking a happy approach to health care, and it’s wonderfully engaging for members of the community, particularly those who are disadvantaged.

You can help simply by voting in the Eftpos Giveback, with up to $2million going to a worthy cause. Please make sure that you highlight “Disadvantaged kids, families and communities”.