You Really Aren’t Losing Neurons As You Age

You may be chalking up those small moments of occasional forgetfulness to getting older. That’s because for years we’ve been hearing that the older we get, the more brain cells or neurons, we lose.

But according to Christopher Jarrett, author of Great Myths of the Brain (2014), that is a common myth and just not true. Jarrett points to mid-twentieth century studies, which suggested that adults lose approximately one percent of their brain cells every year throughout adulthood. Alarmingly, this meant that older adults would lose between 35% and 55% of their total brain neurons depending on how long they lived.

More thorough recent studies, however, found that many early theories about the brain came from animal studies and ‘best guess’ theories. Now that we can actually see into the brain with 3-D imaging and other techniques, research is much more accurate.

We now know that while aging brains do get a little smaller, they retain most of their neurons, which just become more densely packed, according to Jarrett.

Here’s what is true about aging and your brain:

  • Ageing naturally leads to the attrition of between 2% and 4% of the 100 billion neurons each of us has.
  • Any memory decline (or other natural – rather than injury-based –aging mental disability) appears to be related to just where those few lost neurons were located.
  • It is the density of neurons in your brain that matters.

“That’s why everything you do to keep your brain challenged, nourished, exercised and rested is so important,” says Leanne O’Neil of INDY Neurofeedback. “Taking excellent care of your brain will increase your brain density, which will help ensure that your brain and memory will keep working well for you right into your 80s, 90s and beyond.”

INDY Neurofeedback can help keep your brain in optimal working order with peak performance training. We can assess your current brain functioning with a non-invasive brain mapping and provide neurofeedback to support your specific needs. We also provide Cognitive Performance Testing that you perform in the privacy of your home at the times that best suit you. We look forward to working with you at our neurofeedback center.

Neurofeedback Can Help Those On The Autism Spectrum

child playing alone, austism speaksAutism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that seems to be on the increase. In 2018, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) occurs in approximately one in every 59 children, with boys four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls.

ASD actually represents a group of disorders, including Autism, PDD-nos, Rett’s Disorder, Child Disintegrative Disorder, and Asperger’s Disorder.

Reliable diagnosis can occur as early as two years, but many children are still being diagnosed after age four. A child is diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum when s/he exhibits:

  • lack of appropriate eye contact
  • lack of appropriate facial expression
  • poor social interaction and/or communication, and
  • restricted, often repetitive behavior.

“Research has shown that related symptoms of ASD are the result of brain dysfunction in several regions of the brain,” says INDY Neurofeedback owner Leanne O’Neil. “Through the use of EEGs and functional neuroimaging, studies have shown ASD to be linked to abnormal neural connectivity problems.”

ASD brains display areas of excessively high connectivity in some regions of the brain, and deficient connectivity in others. In other words, some areas of the brain are chatting excessively with themselves, while simultaneously failing to communicate normally with other relevant regions.

Studies have shown that Neurofeedback is capable of remediating brain connectivity disturbances as a part of ASD treatment planning. Hyper-connectivity seen in clients with ASD can be also be remedied with coherence training and other Neurofeedback approaches. Connectivity-guided Neurofeedback is capable of significantly remedying these anomalies and reducing the severity of autistic symptoms. This evidence raises the hopes for a behavioral, psychophysiological intervention to moderate the severity of ASD.

If you have a child on the Autism Spectrum and would like to come in for a consultation, we at INDY Neurofeedback would be happy to meet with you and talk about what we can do to help.

Omega-3 Can Help After a Brain Injury

Although there is no known cure for a brain injury, there is an established Omega-3 Protocol for the management and recovery of brain health following an injury to the brain.

Omega-3s are essential to the development of the human brain. So it makes sense that following brain trauma, such as a concussion, providing omega-3s can help the brain begin to heal itself.

What are Omega-3s?

Omega-3s are unsaturated fatty acids that occur naturally in fish oils. Omega-3 is classified by the FDA as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). In fact, the FDA has stated that up to three grams of EPA+DHA per diem is safe for the average adult without fear of adverse events. (There are no known significant drug interactions with omega-3 fatty acids.) Omega-3s can be ingested as supplements or through food.

According to the American Medical Association (AMA), Omega-3s appear to prevent irregular heartbeat, reduce fatty plaques inside artery walls, decrease blood clotting, decrease triglycerides (blood fat), increase HDL (good cholesterol) and decrease inflammation.

Since many head injuries result in brain inflammation, and often, brain bleeds, the qualities of Omega-3s make them especially helpful for brain health after injury.

How can you add more Omega-3s into your diet?

It’s simple. Add more fish to your diet or take a high quality, pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplement.

Here are the fish that are highest in Omega-3s:

  • Mackerel (4,107 mg per serving)
  • Salmon (4,023 mg per serving)
  • Cod Liver Oil (2,664 mg per serving)
  • Herring (3,181 mg per serving)
  • Oysters (565 mg per serving)
  • Sardines (2,205 mg per serving)
  • Anchovies (951 mg per serving)
  • Caviar (1,086 mg per serving)

There is an established Omega-3 brain health protocol, established by Dr. Michael A. Lewis, a member of the Brain Health Education & Research Institute.

  • STEP 1: Begin with a high quality fish oil supplement—Not all fish oil is the same

For Capsules: Each 1,000mg soft gel Omega-3 capsule should contain approximately 600mg of EPA & DHA omega‐3s combined.

You will need approximately 175 capsules for first two weeks.

For liquid concentrate Omega-3 oil: 1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml), containing approximately 3000mg (3gm) of EPA & DHA omega-3s combined.

  • STEP 2: Begin taking Omega-3 capsules as soon as possible following a brain injury:


Take 5 capsules (3 g of EPA/DHA) three times a day for 7 days

or 1 ½ teaspoons will provide approximately 3 g (3000 mg) of EPA/DHA. In most cases, five capsules of concentrated fish oil is sufficient.


Take 5 capsules (3 g of EPA/DHA) two times a day for 7 days.

  • STEP 3: Maintenance. Continuing a MAINTENANCE DOSE is important to maintain optimal brain health.

Take 5 capsules (3 g of EPA/DHA) a day.

This Brain Health and Research Institute protocol has been developed as a guideline. Since every patient and every brain injury is different, patients and their healthcare providers may wish to adjust the dosage to their needs. For example, if the injury is more severe or happened months or years prior, the patient may prefer to be on a higher dose for a longer period of time.

How can you tell that the Omega-3 protocol is helping your brain function?

Patients typically notice improvements within the first week, and often in the first several days. Depending on the individual and the injury, patients have described being able to think more clearly, more energy throughout the day, decrease headache frequency and/or intensity, and a sense of calmness.

Although this clinical protocol was tested following concussions and head injuries, some patients using the Omega-3 protocol following a stroke, or with ADHD symptoms, or depression, may also benefit from having more of the nutritional foundation of Omega-3s. Naturally, results will vary from person to person.

As always, every individual is different. Consult with your healthcare provider for the best advice for you.