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imprinting new memories, it is essential for retrieving old ones. When it
dries up, Alzheimer's disease often results. The shortage of acetylcholine
first robs Alzheimer's patients of their short-term memory and eventually
their long-term memory as well.
The body and mind as one
Fortunately neuroscientists are regularly making important discoveries that
will have enormous effects on learning, memory, health, and our ability to
stay mentally active throughout life.
Recent research also confirms ancient religious beliefs that the body and
the mind act effectively as one. Here Dr. Candace Pert's findings are
particularly important. Professor Pert first came to prominence in the
early 1970s for her discovery of the brain's opiate receptor. She describes
receptors as "sensing molecules" - as microscopic, molecular scanners. Now
her continuing research has revealed "the molecular basis of the emotions":
the tiny peptides that lock into the mind's receptors. But the resulting
molecules of emotion are not confined to the brain. They "run every system
in our body". And "peptides are the sheet music containing the notes,
phrases and rhythms that allow the orchestra - your body - to play as an
Thus memories - so vital for learning - are stored in all parts of the body.
And wherever new information enters the body - through sight, sound, taste,
touch or smell - memory-traces are stored not only in the brain, but in the
body as well. In this way, she says, the body is "the unconscious mind".
And the mind and body work as one for filtering, storing, learning, and
remembering: key elements of learning.17
Little wonder that Oxford University Professor Colin Blakemore, in The Mind
Machine, describes the human brain as "the most complex piece of machinery
in the universe." Adds Bill O'Brien, former president of America's Hanover
Insurance Company: "The greatest unexplored territory in the world is the
space between our ears."
That challenging exploration starts with learning how the brain works. But
it continues most effectively by using it regularly. And the words of the
old axiom - "If you don't use it you lose it" - apply as much to your brain as
your muscles. Use them together as an integrated whole, and learning will
be easier and simpler.
Contents Page Preface
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