During our Christmas and holiday season one can get easily overwhelmed by all the sales, regardless of the status of the economy. Humans hurry and sometimes bully their way to purchase the latest and greatest gift all in the name of love.
I am always impressed by the latest technological gadgets, most of which our children understand much better than we parents. The latest computer, cell phone, iPod, iPhone, plasma or LCD television, home entertainment system are a few examples of our prized possessions. Most seem to be in a bit of amazement at “how far we have come” or “how impressive the new toy or tool is.” The same worship can also be seen when the military displays its latest laser weapons system, medicine unveils its newest and most sophisticated imaging device, or our government tells us about their recent security screening kit that has biometrics.
Lost in all the gawking and loss of breath is the simple realization of who or more accurately what actually conceptualized, designed, and built these gadgets? The simple answer is the human brain!
As we push further into the information age and hopefully benefit from advanced technologies. As our children’s DNA changes from their persistent use of cell phones to text as a primary means of communication, and as we develop a whole new understanding of who we are from medical advances it is important that we pause and recognize the miracle that is the human brain.
Within the folds of this single greatest and most complicated system ever designed in the history of the universe lies the cures for cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, answers for world peace, and elevation of the human condition. The brain most likely has the ability to fix the body’s maladies and to communicate with other brains without opening the mouth. I suggest the human race begin to look inward to this most precious gift, to research how we can unleash the power of the brain via electrical, chemical, and magnetic energy, and to significantly forward the technological advancement of our species.
I wonder what the sale price of the human brain would be this holiday season!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Dr. Paul Nussbaum
A new study found mice that consumed junk food for nine months demonstrated signs of the abnormal brain tangles typically associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Indeed, a diet rich in fat, sugar, and cholesterol could increase the risk of the most common type of dementia.
The study published by the Karolinska Institute’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center found a chemical change in the brains that were fed the unhealthy diet, not unlike that found in the AD brain.
The researchers suggest a high intake of fat and cholesterol in combination with genetic predisposition can adversely affect several brain substances that may contribute to onset of AD.
The combination of the gene type APOE-4, found in 15 to 20 percent of people and a known risk factor for AD, and the diet rich in fat, sugar and cholesterol led to the abnormal build up of the protein Tau and tangles. Interestingly, the animals also demonstrated reduced levels of another protein called Arc involved in memory storage.
The results offer another hint that AD may be attacked by lifestyle (diet) prior to its onset and progressive damage.
To read the original article, click here
It is important to point out that I am not a fan of the winter season. In fact, I dread it and would rather be on a beach somewhere! However, regardless of my personal stuff, it is important to keep our brains active and engaged in the brain health lifestyle regardless of the season.
For some, the winter season does not represent a change in the options available to follow the brain health lifestyle. If you live in a part of the world where the sun continues to shine throughout the year keep your brain health lifestyle active over the 12 months. For those of us who actually see snow our options to venture outside may be limited at times.
Winter can be a time of increased stress and simultaneously a time for creativity and increased family time. Consider the following ideas for brain health this winter:
- Save your pennies and get a family membership to a gym or exercise club. Set up the family schedule for exercising together and use the gym as the snow may keep you inside at times.
- Break out the skis and get some exercise from this sport. Cross country skiing is also a great physical exercise.
- Try to walk in the snow if it is not dangerous.
- Break out the board games and have a family game night. This includes some family fun with Fit Brains brain games.
- Try to have winter as a time for getting your brain health diet started. Have a family member pick a night to help cook a brain health dinner.
- Have some friends and family over once a week.
- Start a family book club in which each family member will read one or two books during the three months of winter.
- Try to reduce driving in dangerous conditions during the winter as this will reduce your stress.
- When the sun does surface, get outside as you will benefit from the Vitamin D.
- Take a day or two and get the family together to make a snowman or go sled riding (wear a helmet).
While the winter can limit our opportunities for brain health, it also offers us a time to be creative and to increase family experiences.
Try the Fit Brains brain games.
While it might seem odd to write about breast cancer on a site dedicated to brain health, there are two compelling reasons to do so: First, many of us have a loved one who has been diagnosed with breast cancer and second, activity is one of the major components of the brain health lifestyle.
A recent study conducted at the Yale School of Medicine indicates women who stay active after being diagnosed with breast cancer have a better chance of surviving the disease. This includes those who take up exercise for the first time after diagnosis and even if the women just do a little exercise. This study reinforces many other studies that link exercise to reduction in risk of breast cancer.
Women who got the equivalent of two to three hours of brisk walking each week in the year before they were diagnosed with breast cancer were 31 percent less likely to die of the disease than women who were sedentary before the diagnosis. Further, two years after diagnosis, women who did any recreational activities at all had nearly 65% lower risk of dying then women who were inactive at that point. Women who got at least two hours of brisk walking in weekly reduced their risk of death by 67%. Perhaps most glaring is the study’s finding that women who decreased their physical activity after diagnosis were actually four times more likely to die of breast cancer than those who remained sedentary.
In all, exercise is an important lifestyle behavior for women undergoing breast cancer treatment.
Try the Fit Brains brain games.
This is a typical question raised by the market as the business of computerized brain fitness software grows. It is clear that the human brain is capable of being shaped with greatest growth seen perhaps in the latter rather than younger years. There are a variety of products to choose from and the consumer is correct to have questions about the what and why regarding these software training games.
Research has been published supporting both the short term and long term benefits (five years) of using computerized brain fitness software to improve cognitive skills. A recent study from the University of Michigan showed study participants improved their fluid intelligence after consistent training. Researchers explained the utility of such training due to its complexity and transfer of skill acquisition to multiple cognitive domains, not just to the skill being trained. This is one way computerized training is explained to be better than crossword puzzles that may simply train a procedure.
To the extent that brain fitness software provides novel and complex stimuli (e.g. brain games), is fun, and is practical with application to everyday mental challenges I believe it will survive and thrive. If the software training programs are mundane, non personal and not fun the consumer will likely not remain engaged. The latter is a necessary factor for success of the computerized training.
Consumers would be wise to review the science behind the computerized training, select products that they will use, products that provide training in real world cognitive challenges, and that are fun.