Volume 13, Number 13
12 December

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This Week

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What is the most important investment in your life?

Is it money, experiences, a house, a car or love? The most important investment in my life is my brain. And even if you choose something else, your choice is the brain, too. Your brain tells you that you need money to live; love for companionship or to fill the emptiness. And your brain may help convince you that a car is needed for convenient travel. Thus, to invest in the brain is to invest in all of the other things you want in life.

Your brain is the entity that you charge with information. Your brain helps you to recognize faces. Your brain stores your experiences and helps you in similar situations. Sometimes your brain becomes tired and you do not remember anything. Sometimes your brain becomes muddled and fuzzy as you try to understand something. Sometimes your brain plays tricks and makes you think you have experienced something that never actually happened. No matter what you choose to invest in, at the heart of the matter is your brain.

You may not remember everything you see and do. There are faces, photos and writing everywhere you look. This "clever machine" does not record everything; it selectively chooses information that is meaningful for you. As the effect of an event on you increases, the quality of the flash back will be better, and that is how you collect memories. Other unnecessary things will be erased one second after you have experienced it.

What to do to improve your brain's abilities:
*Change your routine. Take other routes to go home. Solve a problem in a different way. Then you will use the unused parts of your brain.
*Do not allow technology to take the place of your brain. Dial telephone numbers from memory instead of using the phone book of your cell phone. Do math in your head and try to spell the word correctly before resorting to the spell check on the computer.
*Ask yourself questions; play games with yourself. Choose a friend from your past and ask yourself when did you last see him or her? Or try to remember what you wore yesterday. Then your brain will always be alert.
*Do sports! Synchronization and choreography. Doing crosswise movements improves your brain and coordination.
*Use symbols. In order to improve your visual memory, link certain kinds of schemes with certain kinds of words or numbers. Remember that word and then try to remember the picture you linked with it, or do the opposite.
*You can take notes using colorful pens. Your brain loves this and it may help you to memorize information.
*Smells are important; aromatherapy keeps your brain alert and helps you to use your sense of smell to evoke memories.
*Reading faster helps you remember: use your finger or pencil to lead your eyes.

The brain is full of bad surprises like schizophrenia and Alzheimer. However, still, my biggest investment is my brain, no matter what many games it plays or how it fools me by making me remember something incorrectly. All the books and movies and what I have learned in university can be erased suddenly, after a big shock. I may not even remember who I am and what I do or where I live. It could all be lost in a matter of seconds. But well then, I would say "en oida, oti ouden oida." All I know is that I know nothing.

Gülay Acar (COMD/IV)

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