Firing Faster

Neurons are the best-known cells in the brain, but they are far from the only ones. Another type, called glia, actually makes up a whopping 85 percent of brain cells. For a long time, scientists thought that glia simply held neurons together. (Indeed, “glia” take their name from the Greek word for glue.) But recent research reveals that glial cells also become active during learning.

One type of glial cell wraps around nerve axons. (Note: Not all axons have this wrapping.) These wrapping cells create what’s known as a myelin sheath. Myelin is made of protein and fatty substances. It insulates the axons. Myelin is a bit like the plastic coating that jackets the copper wires in your home. That insulation prevents electrical signals from inappropriately leaking out of one wire/axon and into another.

In axons, the myelin sheath has a second role: It actually speeds the electrical signals along. That’s because glial cells force a signal to jump from one spot on the axon to the next. As it hops between glial cells, the signal moves faster. It’s kind of like flying from one spot to the next, instead of taking the train. As the brain learns, the glial cells grow, change and help increase the efficiency with which axons move signals.

Research has found that when new skills are learned, the amount of myelin insulating an axon increases. This happens as the size of individual glial cells increases. New glial cells also may be added to bare axons. These changes improve the ability of a neuron to signal, and that leads to better learning.

A thicker myelin sheath helps improve all types of brainy tasks. These include reading, creating memories, playing a musical instrument and more. A thicker sheath is also linked with better decision-making because the nerves are firing faster.

Nerve cells continue to add myelin well into adulthood, as our brains continue to grow and develop. The prefrontal cortex, for example — that area where decisions are made — gains myelin well into a person’s 20s. This may explain why teens don’t always make the best decisions. They’re not finished sheathing their nerve cells. But there is hope. And getting enough sleep certainly can help. Glial cells, like neurons, seem to change most during certain stages of sleep.

Exactly what causes the glial cells to change remains a mystery. The research keeps coming to the same conclusions though: the more you exercise your brain, the better and more efficient it functions.

Learning rewires the brain

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  • After a few month treatment, my neck and shoulder feel much better and I can work in front of the computer much longer...Dr Neil is very knowledgeable and the staffs are very very friendly!

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    Amanda P.
    4/24/2022
  • Started going too the Ancaster family chiropractic about a month ago with neck and mid to lower back pain. Now I'm having less pain and stiffness through out the week.They also put together a personal plan for the problems I was going through and walk me through how they were going to solve them

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    colin p.
    4/24/2022
  • All my family (my wife, 3yr daughter and myself) have regularly treatments from Dr. Neil and his awesome team. Definitely a big improvement and highly recommend.

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    HK M.
    4/24/2022
  • I don't think I ever actually understood what a chiropractor was supposed to do before coming here. I've only just starting coming here, but I'm already noticing a difference! Their initial assessment was so incredibly informative, and every visit since then has only helped me understand my body better.

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    Felicia C.
    4/17/2022
  • I've been in Dr Neil's care for a little over a year now. I was sent to him by a referral, a family that had been going to him for years, with nothing but good things to say and much success!I had a terrible fall, which caused me unbearable coccyx pain. Needless to say, once I had a few xrays, we found many problems with my spine. Dr Neil has tackled each of my issues with care, and in priority. I can't believe the difference over the year. I am continuing my journey for better spine/back health, with full confidence and trust in Dr. Neil!

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    Krista H.
    4/17/2022
  • Dr. Neil is caring and truly wants to help you get better. I have been completing adjustments for a few months now and have noticed considerable improvement to my posture. My back pain is starting to disappear and I know that the continued treatment will help me get back to normal. Thank you to you and your team :)

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    Vanessa M.
    4/10/2022
  • Dr. Neil has helped our family from his care. From having daily migraines to no headaches at all!

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    Shane D.
    4/10/2022
  • I have been committed to my treatment plans for just over a year now and I am pleased to say that I have made tremendous progress. Dr. Neil, Deb and Sue are passionate about what they do and it is apparent in their patient care. I am eternally grateful to my friend that referred me. If you are looking for a chiropractor look no further.

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    Malisa C.
    4/10/2022
  • I've been attending chiropractic sessions by Dr. Niel and I should say they've been great. My posture hase been improved along with my balance. Dr.Niel has a very professional attitude and spends time with patients to find the root causeof the problemsvand resolving them in order to make a longstanding change. The other team members are also very friendly and helpful and it's been a pleasure dealing with them.

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    Matt E.
    4/10/2022
  • Honestly, this was the first chiropractor I've been to that insisted on xrays before treatment. And wow, I was glad I had them done, the proof was in the pudding, I myself could see my misalignment. Dr Neil is so absolutely friendly and patient, I walked in there in so much pain and I feel so much better. I referred my partner to the clinic as well, as they've gained my trust

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    Haley M.
    4/10/2022
  • I have been going to see Dr. Neil and his wonderful staff for a couple of months now and I'm starting to see an improvement in my back and neck pain. If you are in need of chiropractic services I would highly recommend Ancaster Family Chiropractic.

    Mike M. Avatar
    Mike M.
    4/10/2022
  • I started the chiropractic here with severe pain in my neck and low back area at this center. Now after 4 months of doing weekly adjustments with Dr. Neil, I can observe the great improvement in my body posture and my neck movement. and best part is that I started my routine workout that last time I urged to stop due to my neck pain. I'm so thankful to get to know Dr. Neil and his great and helpful team.i will continue having my regular adjustments so that I will feel as healthy and fit as I can be for the rest of my life!thank you Ancaster Family!

    Nillie A. Avatar
    Nillie A.
    4/10/2022
  • This is my first experience with chiropractic medicine and it has been very, very positive. The now bimonthly adjustments keep me very mobile and comfortable.

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    Gina R.
    4/10/2022
  • I've been seeing Dr Neil for the past 3 months and my physical rehabilitation has been amazing. My range of motion is 10 times better, I walk more upright now, sporadic pains in various areas of my body have substantially decreased. The clinic staff are super friendly, knowledgeable and professional. I'm very grateful to have found this place 🙂. Keep rocking those super cool dress shirts Neil! Butterfly one is my fav 👌

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    Tarus F.
    4/10/2022
  • After spending January 2022 in severe back discomfort I was referred to see Dr. Neil by my niece. Not only did Dr. Neil diagnose me properly to help me relieve all my pain, he has worked with me as healing partner by helping me to safely implement other modalities such as exercise, nutrition and stress relief techniques back into my life so I am stronger and much healthier moving forward. This doctor is an excellent chiropractic practitioner, he is trustworthy, incredibly intelligent, committed to his patient care, an excellent listener, humble and kind. Ancaster Family Chiropractic provided me with everything I needed to re-establish my health including support and encouragement and I am incredibly grateful. The staff are very professional, friendly, understanding and accommodating! As a health care professional myself the above things matter deeply to me as a health care provider and as a patient. Thank-you so much Ancaster Family Chiropractic (Dr. Neil) you have genuinely helped me re-establish my health and move forward into life pain free and after all... our good health is vital to everything.

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    Judith F.
    3/31/2022
  • Hello everyone I have been a patient of Dr Niel for almost 6 months. I had a lot of difficulties with my neck and back. After a car accident about 1.5 years ago , I was unable to overcome the nerve pain in my neck and additional arthritis that exasperated the injury. My physician put me on a nerve medication that only masked the pain and didn't get at the root including a back pain that wouldn't subside.After seeing Dr Niel.in one word " miracle" The first adjustment literally made a significant change in neck movement let alone nerve pain. I have had better movement in my body which helps me relax my mind, improving my mood, sleep and over all digestion.I can't say enough about chiropractic care and the benefits are not isolated. This care improves OVERALL function from your skeletal to your sleep and mind set.I recommend Dr Niel to anyone

    Maria D. Avatar
    Maria D.
    11/30/2021
  • I have been suffering from neck pain and headache for almost 2 years. I constantly feel stiffness in the muscle from the back of my head and neck, which causes my blurry sight and tension headache. After consulting with Dr. Neil, he asked me to have a X-ray image and thoroughly examine my condition and explain to me patiently. It's has been 4 months having treatments with Dr. Neil, and I feel mentally and physically changed. I can think clear and sit down to concentrate on my school work for longer period of time without having tension headache. This is exactly what I want to achieve after seeking Chiropractic adjustment. Thank you Dr. Neil !

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    Sheng Y.
    11/30/2021
  • Have been a patient of Ancaster Family Chiro for two months. From the beginning it was a place of positive and progressive support by Dr.Neil and staff. Never feel rushed, always feel welcome and extremely understanding with scheduling.

    Matthew K. Avatar
    Matthew K.
    11/23/2021
  • Ancaster Family Chiropractic has great service and they do a really good job at working with you and what you need to improve!

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    Grace C.
    11/23/2021
  • From the turn of the door handle , you feel the positive energy as you enter. Dr. Neil with Deb and Sue welcome you into a clean ,organized ,well run clinic . The focus is on your healing and helping you achieve that goal. Wonderful .

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    greg n.
    11/16/2021

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