演讲者：Wendy Suzuki 温迪铃木
今天你能为大脑做出什么样的变革？行使！神经科学家Wendy Suzuki说。 获得灵感去健身房，因为铃木讨论如何锻炼提高你的心情和记忆的科学 - 并保护你的大脑免受神经退行性疾病，如阿尔茨海默氏症。
What if I told you there was something thatyou can do right now that would have an immediate, positive benefit for yourbrain including your mood and your focus? And what if I told you that samething could actually last a long time and protect your brain from differentconditions like depression, Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Would you do it?Yes!
I am talking about the powerful effects ofphysical activity. Simply moving your body, has immediate, long-lasting andprotective benefits for your brain. And that can last for the rest of yourlife. So what I want to do today is tell you a story about how I used my deepunderstanding of neuroscience, as a professor of neuroscience, to essentiallydo an experiment on myself in which I discovered the science underlying whyexercise is the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today.
Now, as a neuroscientist, I know that our brains, that is the thing in our headright now, that is the most complex structure known to humankind. But it's onething to talk about the brain, and it's another to see it.
So here is a real preserved human brain.And it's going to illustrate two key areas that we are going to talk abouttoday. The first is the prefrontal cortex, right behind your forehead, criticalfor things like decision-making, focus, attention and your personality. Thesecond key area is located in the temporal lobe, shown right here. You have two temporal lobes in your brain, the right and the left, and deep in the temporallobe is a key structure critical for your ability to form and retain newlong-term memories for facts and events.
And that structure is called thehippocampus. So I've always been fascinated with the hippocampus. How could itbe that an event that lasts just a moment, say, your first kiss, or the momentyour first child was born, can form a memory that has changed your brain, thatlasts an entire lifetime? That's what I want to understand. I wanted to startand record the activity of individual brain cells in the hippocampus assubjects were forming new memories. And essentially try and decode how thosebrief bursts of electrical activity, which is how neurons communicate with eachother, how those brief bursts either allowed us to form a new memory, or didnot.
But a few years ago, I did something veryunusual in science. As a full professor of neural science, I decided tocompletely switch my research program. Because I encountered something that wasso amazing, with the potential to change so many lives that I had to study it.I discovered and I experienced the brain-changing effects of exercise.
And I did it in a completely inadvertent way. I was actually at the height of all thememory work that I was doing -- data was pouring in, I was becoming known in myfield for all of this memory work. And it should have been going great. It was,scientifically. But when I stuck my head out of my lab door, I noticedsomething. I had no social life. I spent too much time listening to those braincells in a dark room, by myself.
I didn't move my body at all. I hadgained 25 pounds. And actually, it took me many years to realize it, I wasactually miserable. And I shouldn't be miserable. And I went on a river-raftingtrip -- by myself, because I had no social life. And I came back --thinking, "Oh, my God, I was theweakest person on that trip." And I came back with a mission. I said,"I'm never going to feel like the weakest person on a river-rafting tripagain." And that's what made me go to the gym.
And I focused my type-Apersonality on going to all the exercise classes at the gym. I triedeverything. I went to kickbox, dance, yoga, step class, and at first it wasreally hard. But what I noticed is that after every sweat-inducing workout thatI tried, I had this great mood boost and this great energy boost. And that'swhat kept me going back to the gym. Well, I started feeling stronger. I startedfeeling better, I even lost that 25 pounds.
And now, fast-forward a year and a halfinto this regular exercise program and I noticed something that really made mesit up and take notice. I was sitting at my desk, writing a research grant, anda thought went through my mind that had never gone through my mind before. Andthat thought was, "Gee, grant-writing is going well today."
And all the scientists --yeah, all the scientists always laugh whenI say that, because grant-writing never goes well. It is so hard; you're alwayspulling your hair out, trying to come up with that million-dollar-winning idea.But I realized that the grant-writing was going well, because I was able tofocus and maintain my attention for longer than I had before. And my long-termmemory -- what I was studying in my own lab -- seemed to be better in me. Andthat's when I put it together.
Maybe all that exercise that I had includedand added to my life was changing my brain. Maybe I did an experiment on myselfwithout even knowing it. So as a curious neuroscientist, I went to theliterature to see what I could find about what we knew about the effects ofexercise on the brain. And what I found was an exciting and a growingliterature that was essentially showing everything that I noticed in myself.
Better mood, better energy, better memory, better attention. And the more Ilearned, the more I realized how powerful exercise was. Which eventually led meto the big decision to completely shift my research focus. And so now, afterseveral years of really focusing on this question, I've come to the followingconclusion: that exercise is the most transformative thing that you can do foryour brain today for the following three reasons.
Number one: it has immediate effects onyour brain. A single workout that you do will immediately increase levels ofneurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline. That is going toincrease your mood right after that workout, exactly what I was feeling. My labshowed, that a single workout can improve your ability to shift and focusattention, and that focus improvement will last for at least two hours. Andfinally, studies have shown that a single workout will improve your reactiontimes which basically means that you are going to be faster at catching thatcup of Starbucks that falls off the counter, which is very, very important.
But these immediate effects are transient,they help you right after. What you have to do is do what I did, that is changeyour exercise regime, increase your cardiorespiratory function, to get thelong-lasting effects. And these effects are long-lasting because exerciseactually changes the brain's anatomy, physiology and function. Let's start withmy favorite brain area, the hippocampus. The hippocampus -- or exerciseactually produces brand new brain cells, new brain cells in the hippocampus,that actually increase its volume, as well as improve your long-term memory,OK? And that including in you and me.
Number two: the most common finding inneuroscience studies, looking at effects of long-term exercise, is improvedattention function dependent or your prefrontal cortex. You not only get betterfocus and attention, but the volume of the hippocampus increases as well. Andfinally, you not only get immediate effects of mood with exercise but thoselast for a long time. So you get long-lasting increases in those good mood neurotransmitters.
But really, the most transformative thingthat exercise will do is its protective effects on your brain. Here you canthink about the brain like a muscle. The more you're working out, the biggerand stronger your hippocampus and prefrontal cortex gets. Why is thatimportant? Because the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus are the two areasthat are most susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases and normal cognitivedecline in aging.
So with increased exercise over your lifetime, you're notgoing to cure dementia or Alzheimer's disease, but what you're going to do isyou're going to create the strongest, biggest hippocampus and prefrontal cortexso it takes longer for these diseases to actually have an effect. You can thinkof exercise, therefore, as a supercharged 401K for your brain, OK? And it'seven better, because it's free.
So this is the point in the talk whereeverybody says, "That sounds so interesting, Wendy, but I really will onlywant to know one thing. And that is, just tell me the minimum amount ofexercise I need to get all these changes."
And so I'm going to tell you the answer tothat question. First, good news: you don't have to become a triathlete to getthese effects. The rule of thumb is you want to get three to four times a weekexercise minimum 30 minutes an exercise session, and you want to get aerobicexercise in. That is, get your heart rate up. And the good news is, you don'thave to go to the gym to get a very expensive gym membership. Add an extra walkaround the block in your power walk. You see stairs -- take stairs. And power-vacuumingcan be as good as the aerobics class that you were going to take at the gym.
So I've gone from memory pioneer toexercise explorer. From going into the innermost workings of the brain, totrying to understand how exercise can improve our brain function, and my goalin my lab right now is to go beyond that rule of thumb that I just gave you --three to four times a week, 30 minutes. I want to understand the optimumexercise prescription for you, at your age, at your fitness level, for yourgenetic background, to maximize the effects of exercise today and also toimprove your brain and protect your brain the best for the rest of your life.
But it's one thing to talk about exercise,and it's another to do it. So I'm going to invoke my power as a certifiedexercise instructor, to ask you all to stand up.
We're going to do just one minute ofexercise. It's call-and-response, just do what I do, say what I say, and makesure you don't punch your neighbor, OK? Music!
(Upbeat music)Five, six, seven, eight, it's right, left,right, left. And I say, I am strong now. Let's hear you.
Audience: I am strong now.
Wendy Suzuki: Ladies, I am WonderWoman-strong. Let's hear you!
Audience: I am Wonder Woman-strong.
WS: New move -- uppercut, right and left. Iam inspired now. You say it!
Audience: I am inspired now.
WS: Last move -- pull it down, right andleft, right and left. I say, I am on fire now! You say it.
Audience: I am on fire now.
WS: And done! OK, good job!
Thank you. I want to leave you with onelast thought. And that is, bringing exercise in your life will not only giveyou a happier, more protective life today, but it will protect your brain fromincurable diseases. And in this way it will change the trajectory of your lifefor the better.
Thank you very much.(Applause)