Category Archives for "Brain Health"

Stroke Rates Rising in Younger People

Stroke rates have been declining in older people over the past 20 years — but have sharply increased in those under 55.

Researchers at Rutgers University used data from the New Jersey Department of Health on more than 227,000 hospitalizations for stroke from 1995 through 2014, calculating incidence by age over five-year periods. The findings appeared in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Compared with the 1995-99 period, the rate of stroke in 2010-14 increased by 147 percent in people 35 to 39, by 101 percent in people 40 to 44, by 68 percent in those 45 to 49, and by 23 percent in the 50 to 54 group.Stroke is still far more common in older people. But the rate decreased by 11 percent in those 55 to 59, by 22 percent in the 60 to 64 group, and by 18 percent in people 65 to 69.The reasons are unclear, but the lead author, Joel N. Swerdel, now an epidemiologist with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, said that increasing obesity and diabetes in younger people are probably involved.

“For a person 30 to 50, the good news is you ain’t dead yet,” he said. “With behavioral changes, changing diet, increasing exercise, there’s still hope for you. Behavioral change is hard, but this study is an early warning sign.”

 

 

SOURCE…nytimes.com

 

Thou Shall Let Food Be Thy Medicine

 The magical elixir to a healthy life  taste great too according to this written by BRIAN SYUKI.  Hormonal imbalances and inflammation are common conditions in the U.S. They are often the culprit behind symptoms such as joint pain, fatigue, high blood pressure, headaches and bloating. Unfortunately they can also increase the risk of more serious diseases, such as cancer and diabetes.The good news? Eating certain foods will help balance your hormones and reduce inflammation. To help lower your risk for disease,  in addition to weight loss goes beyond “calories in, calories out.” Balancing hormones and reducing inflammation will help you reach your weight goal faster, so eat these superfoods  frequently. READ MORE

 

 

Specific Brain Training Reduces Dementia Risk Across 10 Years

While many companies have long promised that their brain-training products can sharpen aging minds, only one type of computerized brain training so far has been shown to improve people’s mental quickness and significantly reduce the risk of dementia, according to research presented at the American Psychological Association’s Annual Convention.

“The mistake some people make is thinking that all brain training is the same,” said presenter Jerri Edwards, PhD, of the University of South Florida. “Lumping all brain training together is like trying to determine the effectiveness of antibiotics by looking at the universe of all pills, and including sugar pills and dietary supplements in that analysis. You’ll find that some work and some do not. To then conclude that brain training does not work — or is not yet proven — is based on flawed analysis.”

Because of this lack of targeted analysis, Edwards looked at studies focused on the effectiveness of a specific brain training exercise called speed of processing training — also known as useful field of view training. Edwards and her team completed a systematic review and meta-analysis of more than 50 peer-reviewed research papers examining speed of processing training.

In addition to this meta-analysis, Edwards and her team released findings from their ACTIVE study, which stands for Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly. This study, which was presented last week, found that older adults’ risk for dementia was reduced by 48 percent over 10 years when they completed 11 or mores sessions of this brain-training technique. Specifically, the risk of dementia was reduced by 8 percent for each session of speed of processing training completed, Edwards said.

“This highly specific exercise is designed to improve the speed and accuracy of visual attention or someone’s mental quickness,” Edwards said. For example, during one task, a person must identify an object (e.g., a car or truck) at the center of a screen while locating a target, such as another car, in his or her peripheral vision. As people practice the task, the time it takes them to locate the peripheral object gets shorter and shorter even as the objects become harder to distinguish. In more difficult tasks, the peripheral target is surrounded by distracting objects, forcing the person to work harder to stay focused, she said.

Participants who completed the speed of processing training experienced improved performance across standard cognitive (attention), behavioral (depressive symptoms, feelings of control), functional (health-related quality of life, functional performance) and real world measures (driving, predicted health care costs).

Edwards pointed to the speed of processing research around driving as a concrete example of how this training generalizes to everyday activities. Studies have shown that speed of processing training resulted in improvement in reaction time, yielding another 22 feet of stopping distance at 55 mph and a 36 percent decrease in dangerous maneuvers. In addition, 40 percent fewer people stopped driving altogether and there was a 48 percent reduction in at-fault crashes, she said.

“Some brain training does work, but not all of it,” Edwards concluded. “People should seek out training backed by multiple peer-reviewed studies. The meta-analysis of this particular speed of processing training shows it can improve how people function in their everyday lives.”

 

READ Entire Article at Sciencedaily.com

The Mindfulness Prescription

 As highlighted in an article by Samantha Olson,  research is showing promising insight on how mindfulness is beginning to help patients heal  .  Over the course of 12 weeks, participants who were diagnosed with conditions Including  generalized, social, and separation anxiety disorder  underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans while they practiced mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, a wide range of therapeutic techniques that included meditation, yoga, and learning how to pay nonjudgmental attention to one’s life . READ MORE 

How Checkmate Stress

It helps to think of stress as a challenge rather than a threat. “Making that mental switch, just re-framing it reduces stress and improves performance. Also, faking it until you make it really does work. “If you adopt the external manifestation of confidence and positivity, you can trick your brain into creating the mental correlates of that fake external posture, according to this article written by Olivia Goldhill… READMORE  

 

An Implausible Path Towards Mindfulness

Peace, love, and eff off. In a perfect world, meditation is all soft smiles, cooing voices, perfect posture, and no flinching. Heck, in a perfect world, you probably wouldn’t even need meditation. But this is the real world, people—and to deal with it, you may need something a bit more…aggressive.Seems ironic, even counterproductive, to use profanity as a source of purification, right? But check this: “A swearing type of meditation can be an absolutely wonderful release,” says global meditation expert and life coach Tom Cronin. “When you have emotional toxins in your system, you need to expend that negative energy to get them out. They won’t just go away on their own. Curse words are, by nature, vigorous, angry words. Saying or even shouting them can clear the anger.” READ MORE

 

What Poverty Does to the Young Brain

What Poverty Does to the Young Brain

The brain’s foundation, frame, and walls are built in the womb. As an embryo grows into a fetus, some of its dividing cells turn into neurons, arranging themselves into layers and forming the first synapses, the organ’s electrical wiring. Four or five months into gestation, the brain’s outermost layer, the cerebral cortex, begins to develop its characteristic wrinkles, which deepen further after birth. It isn’t until a child’s infant and toddler years that the structures underlying higher-level cognition—will power, emotional self-control, decision-making—begin to flourish; some of them continue to be fine-tuned throughout adolescence and into the first decade of adulthood.

Pat Levitt, a developmental neuroscientist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, has spent much of his career studying the setbacks and accidents that can make this construction process go awry. In the nineteen-nineties, during the media panic over “crack babies,” he was among…READ MORE.

This is YOUR brain on NOT enough SLEEP

Find Out about How Your Brain Operates on LOW SLEEP!

When you’re so tired and you haven’t slept a wink, your mind goes on the blink. That’s more than just a play on a quaint batch of Beatles lyrics. It’s the truth.

The sleep-starved mind is a mind on the blink, a groggy, impaired ball of mush.

Being tired — really, really tired — is a lot like being wasted. You’re more likely to slur when you speak, make risky decisions, forget what you did and generally act, well, a bit like an idiot. Worse, driving tired is as dangerous as driving drunk, several studies — and, yes, even the meticulous Mythbusters — confirm.

It’s simple, yet so few of us listen, this zombie mommy included. Bottom line: Sleepy equals bad for your brain. Well-rested equals good. Not getting enough shut-eye isn’t just harmful to you, it could lead to you accidentally harming others, too. By now none of this should come as a surprise, so why aren’t you logging at least six to eight restorative, absolutely critical hours between the sheets every night?

Your wakeup call is now. Take a look at the sobering infographic about the ill effects of sleep deprivation by General Electric and Mic below, then see if you’re still up for an all-nighter. We’re not…READ MORE

This is how you warp your brain when you don’t get enough sleep:
sleep-infographic

Not Enough Sleep May Help Alzheimer’s Take Hold

In recent years, scientists have made small steps towards understanding the relationship between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease. Now, researchers from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland may soon illuminate the connection—they are launching the first experiment of its kind that will study a key process in the brains of sleeping humans, as NPR reports.

Disrupted sleep patterns have long been a common complaint for patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, sometimes decades before they develop cognitive problems or noticeable memory loss. The reason, researchers have discovered, is likely the buildup of beta amyloid plaque, a sticky amalgamation of proteins that collects in synapses and is characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. A number of studies published in the last five years have found that people (and mice) with disrupted sleep patterns had more beta amyloid plaque in their brains.

Researchers are starting to get a sense for why this is the case—sleep maysweep toxins from the brain, preventing beta amyloid from collecting in synapses. But scientists are still not sure….Read More.

A TEAM OF RESEARCHERS PLANS TO FIGURE OUT WHY THIS HAPPENS

Miniature, Beating Hearts Grown Using Stem Cells

Dr. Bruce Conklin, a stem cell biologist at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease in San Francisco, along with colleagues developed these tiny hearts using stem cells derived from skin tissue. The scientists allowed the cells to grow in a petri dish, adding a chemical layer containing slight physical and chemical differences, thanks to tiny etchings made with oxygen plasma.

VIDEO: First Cloned Human Embryos Yield Stem Cells

Because of these slight differences, the stem cells developed into different types of cardiac tissue cells, similar to the process that takes place in the human body. By the 20th day of the trial, the cells actually formed heart “microchambers” that were beating slowly.

This fascinating milestone can help researchers learn more about the way the heart develops in vitro to help prevent defects and can aid in evaluating heart drugs for safety, particularly for pregnant women. The tiny hearts could also serve as models to treat damaged hearts. In addition, the concepts learned from this trial could be used by scientists attempting to grow other types of organs in a lab.

A study published in scientific journal Nature Communications shared these findings.

Tiny Brain Parts Teased From Stem Cells

This isn’t the first time stem cells have been used…READ MORE