Monthly Archives: July 2009

Cereal And Milk Is The New Sports Supplement

A bowl of whole-grain cereal is as good as a sports drink for recovery after exercise. Research has shown that the readily available and relatively inexpensive breakfast food is as effective as popular, carbohydrate-based “sports drinks.”

Exercise physiologist Lynne Kammer, from The University of Texas at Austin, led a group of researchers who investigated the post-exercise physiological effects of the foods. Kammer and her team studied 12 trained cyclists, 8 male and 4 female. In contrast to many sports nutrition studies, however, the exercise protocol was designed to reflect a typical exercise session. After a warm-up period, the subjects cycled for two hours at a comfortable work rate, rather than the more frequently seen test-to-exhaustion

To read more from the study, click here

Freedom and the Brain

Canada and the United States have celebrated their nation’s birthdays and freedom. The cost of such freedom has been and continues to be paid with significant sacrifice and loss of life. Freedom is a great gift and certainly one deserving the rich celebration every year.

I wonder about the brain and freedom and believe the natural existence for our brain is to be free. Our brain is at its best when it is creative and free to imagine, dream, and innovate. Structure and imposed limitation on the brain’s ability to think and to speak is both unnatural and unhealthy.

Surveys have documented the number one value for an older adult is independence. Freedom to move, live, make decisions, and act as one wishes is what independence is about. Dependence on others is the antithesis of freedom and a state of being that most of us fear.

We can enjoy the fact that we in Canada and the United States live in freedom, that we have independence, and that our brains have every opportunity today to create a great innovation that will change the course of mankind!

How about those Glial Cells

For many years neurons have been considered the main act within the cerebral cortex, responsible for our thoughts, emotions, and movements. Of interest is the fact that neurons only account for about 10% of human brain cells. Glial cells that account for the other 90% of brain cells have typically been thought to carry a supportive role to the neurons.

An article in Forbes Magazine (July 13, 2009), however, suggests glial cells may be even  more important than neurons for treating neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke. Recent understanding of the brain now indicates glial cells with neurons play a critical role in brain development and brain function.

Medications on the market today do not work on glial cells. Ben Barnes, Chairman of the Neurobiology Department at Stanford University Medical School posits that one type of glial cells, the astrocytes, trigger the initial steps of destruction in brain diseases. As such, Dr. Barnes believes that by creating treatments that of the astrocytes can in turn save dying neurons.

If glial cells do indeed maintain a more critical role in the formation, function, and elimination of synaptic activity, plasticity, and creation of myelin sheath around the neuron, an entirely new approach to behavioral neuroscience will be born and with it, an entirely new treatment approach.

Simple Ways to Improve Your Healthy Brain Lifestyle

  • To reduce unhealthy stress levels, take up yoga, meditate, laugh, exercise, or care for a pet.
  • The easiest way to challenge your brain is to choose a “word of the day” and then work the word into a conversation.  Improving vocabulary is a great way to challenge your brain daily.
  • Ten minutes of focusing on the positive and visualizing the future each day can change the way you look at life, opening your mind to new possibilities.
  • Take advantage of your natural learning booster by believing something is important. If we try to learn without feeling interested, very little of that information will be saved in our memories. When we tell ourselves that what we’re learning is important, our brains join in, triggering our learning circuits.
  • Try making a list of ten things you are thankful for – just doing this daily can make a big difference in your everyday attitude and help manage stress. There is a definite connection between healthy living and having a positive outlook on life.

Click here for more tips to encourage a Healthy Brain Lifestyle…