Why you can't win a war of wits with a 20-year-old

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized


Published on October 21, 2010 with No Comments

Neuroscience researcher Mark Underwood explains how the brain works and how to increase its firepower

A question for the over-30 crowd:

Have you ever noticed how it is nearly impossible to win an argument with a 20-year-old? Or have the last word?

Most 20-year-old’s comebacks are instant. Their recall of facts and events is near photographic. Their ability to spot flawed logic being used by their elders can be impressive … and most annoying.

“You might not recall it, but in your late teens and early 20s, your mind and thought processes were razor sharp too,” neuroscience researcher Mark Underwood said. “You may have been short on experience, but at 21 your brain possessed its maximum fire power.”

During our late teens and early 20s, Underwood says that our brain is normally at its maximum weight – 1,450 grams for men and 1,310 grams for women – and neuron count.

From that point on, our brains slowly diminish in size and function as neurons begin to die off or become inactive.

“As adults, we lose about 30,000 neurons every 24 hours. By the age of 50, we have lost about 50 percent of the brain’s capacity,” Underwood said.

Can these many millions of lost neurons be restored? Can an individual in middle age reclaim the razor sharp memory and intellect they had as a 20-year-old?

Based on Underwood’s research, the answer seems to be yes.

“Brain cells become inactive, decay, and die because excess amounts of calcium enter them,” Underwood explained. “Calcium build-up occurs because the human body stops production of a protein which controls calcium concentration within each neuron.”

Underwood and his fellow researchers created a process for producing this missing protein in the laboratory and making it available in the form of an oral supplement.

He said the protein, called apoaequorin, helps restore proper calcium concentrations within the brain and aid damaged neurons back to health.

“We have not determined how many thousands or millions of neurons that can be restored by apoaequorin supplementation, but the majority of individuals taking apoaequorin supplements in clinical studies reported a return of focus, improved mental clarity and better memory,” Underwood said.

Underwood says the protein supplement, now commercially available under the name “Prevagen,” will eventually be used in studies testing its effectiveness on restoring memory and cognitive ability in Alzheimer’s patients.

In the meantime, he says parents can take the protein to improve their chances of winning an argument with their teenage children.

For more information on Prevagen, contact your family physician, or visit www.prevagen.com.

This article was provided by the PR Group. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chronicle staff.


Mark Underwood is a neuroscience researcher and co-founder and president of Quincy Bioscience in Madison, Wisc. He is responsible for researching the “calcium binding protein” found in jellyfish and developing it for use as a calcium regulator in the human nervous system, and he is the author of “Gift From the Sea – How a Protein From Jellyfish Fights the Aging Process.”

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