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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  • Knowledgeable, listens to me and very approachable

    Denise H. Avatar
    Denise H.
    12/14/2022
  • Dr. Neil has provided outstanding and efficient care for my whole family. From our very first visit we noticed better quality of sleep, increased comfort, resolved headaches, and improved mobility. I am especially grateful for the way Dr. Neil has welcomed us on short notice when urgent needs have arisen and for his follow up care. Our quality of life is much better because of Dr. Neil.

    T K. Avatar
    T K.
    11/29/2022
  • EXCELLENT CHIROPRACTIC CARE FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY(not sure about family pets lol) When I came to Dr. Neil I was having problems with a very tight left hip flexor, pain in my left knee, sciatica and some back issues. I’ve been a patient for about two years and recommend this practice to all my family and friends. Since then all areas of concern are much better; some of the symptoms are completely gone. I feel part of the family! Dr.Neil is a true professional who makes himself accessible to his patients even outside of office hours. He and his team take wholistic approach and have created an atmosphere health and healing that is tangible when you walk in the door and Deb greets you. They are very accommodating with scheduling and always manage to find the time to squeeze me in, in an emergency. I never have to wait long. They’ve adjusted me through some really challenging seasons in my life. He and his team love what they do and they love helping their patients, giving back to the community and also abroad. My sister who was visiting from California and she loves Dr Neil because he was able to provide some care until she returned home. Turns out Dr Neil knows her chiropractor...go figure. Go you won’t be disappointed!

    Julia H. Avatar
    Julia H.
    11/22/2022
  • Neil is a kind, super efficient and caring Chiropractor as is his staff

    Angie L. Avatar
    Angie L.
    11/22/2022
  • Dr. Neil is highly recommanded to anyone who has back pain, neck pain, or etc. I visited him for my lower back pain. I bear with the pain for a while then eventually I was having hard time walking, sitting, standing, even sleeping. Dr. Neil went through assessments and x-ray for the pain then he explains me the result very nice and easy to understand. He also prepared his video on youtube to support his patients. With all of these, I felt the first time that this doctor really cares about his patients and has passion of his job. Even though I am only been with him a month and half, my lower back pain definitely got much better and as well as neck pain. And of course I cannot forget about Deb and Sue. Thank you Deb that you replied me very quick on the first day for booking an assessment. Thank you Sue that you were very friendly for the assessment.

    Jessica L. Avatar
    Jessica L.
    11/15/2022
  • Dr. Neil is very accommodating. The office space is peaceful, and the staff is kind. Thank you Ancaster Family for everything you have done for myself and my family.

    Mary L. Avatar
    Mary L.
    11/15/2022
  • Any resistance I had to chiropractic treatment, due to past experiences, has disappeared thanks to Dr. Neil Brown and his very capable, kind staff. From the detailed initial assessment, the thorough explanation of the treatment plan including online tutorials and weekly newsletters, the extremely efficient self check-in and dual treatment beds resulting in little to no wait time at each appointment, makes for a very positive experience. I would highly recommend Ancaster Family Chiropractic to family and friends!

    Karen P. Avatar
    Karen P.
    11/15/2022
  • Dr. Neil is an amazing chiropractor. He is very personable, professional and knowledgeable. The team is all so warm and welcoming. Also, Dr. Neil goes out of his way to make sure I'm on the right track for my healing. For example, one time when a particular area of my body was causing me some pain. He adjusted me, gave me some exercises to do and asked me to let him know how I was feeling in a couple of days.

    Rich&Alex D. Avatar
    Rich&Alex D.
    11/15/2022
  • Excellent with young children!

    Vanessa R. Avatar
    Vanessa R.
    11/14/2022
  • I have had strong pain in my arm for months and thanks to Dr. Neil Brown and his friendly team they have helped me get back to the things I enjoy in life without as much pain.

    Kay W. Avatar
    Kay W.
    11/14/2022
  • Impressively efficient adjustment system. No wait or short wait. Very friendly staff. Never had an issue rescheduling appointments. You will feel and see the difference with your posture over time. Highly recommend :)

    Sean D. Avatar
    Sean D.
    11/11/2022
  • A huge thanks to Dr. Neil and all the staff at Ancaster Family Chiropractic for the all of the care they have provided for our son. We have noticed a decrease in his complaints of pain as well as an increase in his range of motion. We can already see the benefits and are grateful for their expertise!

    Jpod D. Avatar
    Jpod D.
    11/10/2022
  • It’s very interesting going in for an appointment after having some pain and the doctor notices where the pain is without saying it. Dr. Neil knows his patients and they are very flexible with appointments.

    ARNOLD R. Avatar
    ARNOLD R.
    8/22/2022
  • Sharing from my personal experience- I started a few months ago and I was having an annoying pain in my left shoulder and neck area prior starting, Dr. Neil helped me out a lot with that and I am really feeling relaxed and relieved from that annoying pain. My sleep schedule got improved. I highly recommend this place & Dr. Neil.

    Bhrigu M. Avatar
    Bhrigu M.
    8/09/2022
  • Really impressed with the quality of care my children are receiving. They are comfortable coming here & their sleep issues have improved. I also have issues with my wrist and hands & they kindly looked at my issue and gave me a quick adjustment free of charge.

    n/a w. Avatar
    n/a w.
    5/15/2022
  • The team at Ancaster Family Chiropractic are amazing. I've been seeing Dr. Neil for quite a few years now and am so glad I have. Dr. Neil's treatment plan has not only given me greater mobility I very rarely even get sick. I would highly recommend Dr. Neil if you're looking for a way to improve your health. Give Deb a call and make an appointment, you won't regret it. If you want to feel healthier this is the place to go.

    Kris C. Avatar
    Kris C.
    4/29/2022
  • 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

    colin p. Avatar
    colin p.
    4/24/2022
  • 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!

    Amanda P. Avatar
    Amanda 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.

    HK M. Avatar
    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.

    Felicia C. Avatar
    Felicia C.
    4/17/2022

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