Myths About Brain Development In Adults

You have heard them all of your life: You can’t grow new brain cells; you use a tiny percentage of your brain; your brain peaks in your 20s. These are “facts” you may still believe. None of them are true, so how did they become common knowledge?

People think they understand certain basics about the brain, but they often do not. The human brain is so complex, that neurologists and other researchers are still unlocking its mysteries. They know more about how it works now than ever before, but the general public is not as well informed. Certain myths about brain function persist and negatively affect how adults see their cognitive function. Below are some of these myths and information that debunks them.

Myth 1: Adults Can’t Form New Brain Cells

You may have learned that adults are stuck with the brain cells they already have, so any loss of these cells lessens their cognitive function. This belief is frightening because it means any cell loss contributes to the loss of your mind. Fortunately, research contradicts this belief.

Researchers have found that neurogenesis, the formation of new neurons, continues throughout life in certain brain areas. In particular, the hippocampus, an area integral to learning and memory, can create more neurons.

Neurons are responsible for sending messages throughout your body that allow you to breathe, think, walk, eat, etc. Neuroscientists used to think that humans were born with nearly all the neurons they would get. They believed that children might grow some new ones to build paths between different brain areas, but that was it. In fact, developing more neurons than that would be harmful. Further research has convinced many that neurogenesis does exist in adult human brains.

Human growth hormone, or HGH, can promote muscle growth and promote metabolism, but it also affects the brain. It offers neuroprotection and improves cognitive function, which in turn, promotes learning and memory capability. Research human growth hormone and learn how expensive is HGH and its many health benefits. For many adults, HGH has a positive effect on their overall well-being.

Myth 2: Brain Function Peaks in Early Adulthood and Then Declines

You may think that your cognitive abilities peaked in your 20s, but that is not true. Research shows that certain abilities peak early, while others do so in middle age or during the senior years. Your short-term memory is best around age 25, remains stable for about a decade, and then declines slowly throughout your life.


In contrast, your emotional understanding peaks in middle to late adulthood, while your vocabulary abilities continue to improve during your 60s. Your 60s and 70s are the high point for “crystallized intelligence,” the lifetime of knowledge you’ve accumulated through the decades. Your brain loses some powers as you age but gains others. Seniors do have superior brain function than young adults in some areas.

Myth 3: You Only Use 10% of Your Brain

Movies and other media made this myth popular, but it is completely untrue. Neuroscientists say that we use the entirety of our brain every day. The brain is in full use all of the time, even as you sleep. And it is only 2% of your body weight but burns 20% of your calories. Your brain activity stays much the same no matter what you are doing: using a computer or riding your bicycle You could not function with 90% of your brain on holiday.

Myth 4: Brain Training Games Significantly Boost Intelligence

Sadly, this belief is another myth. Brain training apps do not significantly boost intelligence. The good news is that with consistent use, they may boost memory and cognitive abilities in adults with mild cognitive impairment or age-related decline. More research needs to be done to assess exactly how effective these games are.


To receive any benefit, you have to use them regularly and “intensely.” The positive effects will disappear almost immediately if you stop the games, and you need to spend a lot of time playing, about one hour a day, five days a week, for several months. By all means, continue to play them for enjoyment and to give your brain a quick workout.

Lifelong learning, an active lifestyle, and active social connections are most important for a healthy brain. So live well and do what you can to boost its activity.

Brain Truths

Your brain is a marvel of complexity, and neuroscientists continue to learn more about how it works. Society has promoted many myths about it, but the truth is more complicated and hopeful. The brain can produce neurons in adults, and your cognitive abilities do not all peak before age 30. With age comes wisdom.

You can stop feeling guilty about not using all of your brain because you are. It’s a constantly active organ. You couldn’t reduce it to 10% if you tried. And your brain games may help, just not as much as you hoped. Staying mentally and physically active are the real keys to brain function, but supplements like HGH can help, too. Take care of your health, and your brain will benefit.


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