Bossy-Wetzel said the brain has 100 billion neurons. A person loses neurons throughout the process of aging. Diseases and injuries, such as Huntington’s chorea, strokes, Dominant Optic Atrophy and Charcot-Marie-Tooth Syndrome, can cause the loss or fragmentation of neurons. The brain cannot make new neurons during one’s life span, but fragmentation may be reversible, she said.

Weight was a reoccurring topic as Bossy-Wetzel also discussed how one’s diet could affect the longevity of their life. Eat less and live longer, Bossy-Wetzel said.

“I’m not talking about starvation,” she said, emphasizing that caloric restriction and high nutrition are the keys to good health.

At the close of her speech, Bossy-Wetzel encouraged young listeners to become scientists.

“We need your talent,” she said. “There is a desperate need of treatment for degenerative diseases.”

These comments were most likely directed to the busload of students from St. Edwards High School that drove two hours from Vero Beach to hear Bossy-Wetzel speak.

Source: Central Florida Future, by Valeri Walsh, October 7, 2009; photo credit Emre Kelly. For the full story visit the Web site.