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Finding a way to grow a bigger, better brain has been the subject of many science fiction novels and movies. In the old movie “Forbidden Planet,” for instance, interstellar astronauts discover a machine that boosts brain power so powerfully that it can kill its subjects.
Turns out, though, you don’t have to travel to the stars or risk your life to get an improved brain. But you will have to attend a Tai Chi class. Research at the University of South Florida and Fudan University in Shanghai shows that attending Tai Chi instruction three days a week can increase brain volume and accelerate mental processes in seniors.
The researchers also found that you can turn up your brain volume and enjoy cognitive improvements by participating in lively discussions three times per week.
“Epidemiologic studies have shown repeatedly that individuals who engage in more physical exercise or are more socially active have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” says researcher James Mortimer, at the University of South Florida College of Public Health. “The current findings suggest that this may be a result of growth and preservation of critical regions of the brain affected by this illness.”