EPA proposing increased use of pesticide that’s BANNED in the EU and is 10x MORE TOXIC than other pesticides

EPA proposing increased use of pesticide that’s BANNED in the EU and is 10x MORE TOXIC than other pesticides

Tags: acephate , agriculture , autism causes , badhealth , badpollution , big government , brain damaged , brain health , Dangerous , Ecology , environment , EPA , EU , European Union , health science , insanity , organic farming , pesticides , poison , toxic chemicals , toxins , traitors The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing increased use of acephate , a pesticide that is believed to be 10 times more toxic than most other pesticides. This proposal is worrisome because the EU banned acephate decades ago, mainly due to its potential to harm human health and the environment.

Acephate has been linked to health issues such as autism and lower cognitive performance.

If the EPA’s proposal is approved, it will ease restrictions on the pesticide. Acephate is commonly used on crops such as brussels sprouts , celery, cranberries and tomatoes .

Several studies have also found that acephate posed significant risks of acute toxicity, developmental neurotoxicity and environmental persistence. As a result, the pesticide was prohibited under strict regulatory standards designed to protect public health and ecosystems.

A thin coating of acephate is usually applied on the exterior of fruits and vegetables. The pesticide poses significant risks to consumers because it belongs to a class of compounds that have been linked to negative side effects such as autism and hyperactivity.

Scientists have also warned that those who consume foods treated with acephate tend to perform worse on intelligence tests compared to their peers.

Some studies have also linked acephate to developmental issues in both children and lab rats. Researchers believe that these negative outcomes are due to acephate’s ability to disrupt the transmission of signals between nerve cells.

With these findings in mind, the EPA’s proposal to reduce restrictions on acephate contradicts its mission to protect public health and the environment. The move also raises valid concerns about the safety of the food that Americans consume. (Related: Consumer Reports reveals certain food items carry high risk of PESTICIDE contamination .)

Human knowledge is under attack! Governments and powerful corporations are using censorship to wipe out humanity’s knowledge base about nutrition, herbs, self-reliance, natural immunity, food production, preparedness and much more. We are preserving human knowledge using AI technology while building the infrastructure of human freedom. Speak freely without censorship at the new decentralized, blockchain-power Brighteon.io . Explore our free, downloadable generative AI tools at Brighteon.AI . Support our efforts to build the infrastructure of human freedom by shopping at HealthRangerStore.com , featuring lab-tested, certified organic, non-GMO foods and nutritional solutions. Is acephate safe for human consumption?

The EPA’s proposal permits 10 times more acephate use on food than is currently allowed by federal limits. This proposal is driven by recent test results conducted on disembodied cells.

EPA representatives claimed that exposing cells to acephate revealed minimal or, in certain cases, no evidence that the pesticide is harmful. An agency spokesperson also said acephate generates a chemical that some believe compromises brain development after breaking down within the body.

The EPA designed new acephate tests with help from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to measure the impact of chemicals on the brain. However, the OECD has publicly acknowledged that the new tests are not reliable for finding out if a chemical alters the development of the human brain.

The EPA also allegedly talked to a panel of science advisors to determine the validity of the new testing methods. The panel concluded that the tests’ “inherent limitations do not accurately represent the mechanisms and processes that could compromise the development of the central nervous system.”

Scientists unanimously agree that toxicants, including the pesticide acephate, can potentially harm the development of children who are naturally sensitive to their environment and consumer products.

If the federal government were to consider these scientific findings, acephate would be banned. Instead, at least 12 million pounds of acephate are used on crops every year.

Visit Pesticides.news for more stories about how pesticides negatively affect human health.

Watch the video below to learn how pesticides and GM foods harm human health .

This video is from the oneninetyfivenationsrising channel on Brighteon.com . More related stories:

Latest EWG consumer’s guide reveals 2024’s DIRTY DOZEN and CLEAN FIFTEEN .

Big Ag pollution tied to pediatric cancers and birth defects .

Study: Global decline in male fertility linked to common pesticides .

New study: Exposure to PESTICIDES linked to METABOLIC DISORDERS like diabetes and obesity .

Sources include:

NaturalHealth365.com

EPA.gov

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Sleep is essential for memory formation

Sleep is essential for memory formation

Article image Imagine you’re a student preparing for a big exam: do you pull an all-nighter or get some rest? As many students know, lack of sleep makes retaining information difficult.

Two new studies led by the University of Michigan (U-M) have recently revealed why this happens, what occurs in the brain during sleep and sleep deprivation, and how these processes impact memory formation. Neurons involved in memory formation

Specific neurons can be tuned to particular stimuli. For example, in a maze, rats have neurons that activate when they reach specific spots. These neurons help with navigation and are also active in humans. But what occurs during sleep?

“If that neuron is responding during sleep, what can you infer from that?” said Kamran Diba, an associate professor of anesthesiology at U-M Medical School, and senior author of both studies.

Diba and his team examined neurons in the hippocampus, a brain structure involved in memory formation, and visualized neuronal patterns associated with a location while an animal sleeps. Forming and updating memories

Sharp-wave ripples, a type of electrical activity, emanate from the hippocampus every few seconds during restful states and sleep . These ripples are thought to help neurons form and update memories, including spatial ones.

For their study, the researchers measured a rat’s brain activity during sleep after it completed a new maze. Using Bayesian learning, they tracked which neurons responded to which maze locations for the first time. Reactivation of neurons during sleep

“Let’s say a neuron prefers a certain corner of the maze. We might see that neuron activate with others that show a similar preference during sleep. But sometimes neurons associated with other areas might co-activate with that cell,” noted Diba.

“We then saw that when we put it back on the maze, the location preferences of neurons changed depending on which cells they fired with during sleep.”

This method allows visualization of neuronal plasticity or representational drift in real time and supports the theory that reactivation of neurons during sleep is crucial for memory . Lack of sleep and memory formation

Given sleep’s importance, Diba’s team investigated what happens in the brain during sleep deprivation.

In the second study, published in the journal Nature and led by Diba and former graduate student Bapun Giri, they compared neuron reactivation – where place neurons that fired during maze exploration fire again at rest – and their sequence (replay) during sleep versus sleep loss.

They found that neuron reactivation and replay of the maze experience were higher during sleep compared to sleep deprivation . A lack of sleep resulted in similar or higher rates of sharp-wave ripples but with lower amplitude waves and power.

“In almost half the cases, however, reactivation of the maze experience during sharp-wave ripples was completely suppressed during sleep deprivation,” noted Diba. Negative effects of sleep deprivation

When sleep-deprived rats caught up on sleep, reactivation rebounded slightly but never matched the levels of rats with normal sleep. Replay was also impaired and did not recover with regained sleep.

Since reactivation and replay are vital for memory, these findings highlight the negative effects of sleep deprivation on memory.

Diba’s team aims to further explore memory processing during sleep, the necessity of reactivation, and the impact of sleep pressure on memory. More about memory formation

Memory formation involves a complex interplay of neural processes that encode, store, and retrieve information. Encoding

This process begins with encoding, where sensory input is transformed into a neural code that the brain can use.

During encoding, attention and perception play critical roles in determining which information is processed further. Storage

Once encoded, the information moves to storage, where it is maintained over time. This can occur in short-term memory , which holds information temporarily, or long-term memory, which can store vast amounts of information for extended periods.

Consolidation is an essential part of this storage process, involving the stabilization of memories, often during sleep. Retrieval

The final stage is retrieval, where stored information is accessed and brought back into conscious awareness.

Retrieval can be influenced by various factors, including the context in which the memory was formed and cues that trigger recall. Brain structures

The brain structures most involved in memory formation include the hippocampus, which is crucial for consolidating new memories, and the cerebral cortex, where long-term memories are stored.

Additionally, the amygdala plays a role in emotional memories, highlighting the interconnectedness of cognitive and emotional processes in memory formation.—–Like what you read? Subscribe to our newsletter for engaging articles, exclusive content, and the latest updates.Check us out on EarthSnap , a free app brought to you by Eric Ralls and Earth.com.—–

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Sound stimulation with precise timings can help understand brain wave functions

Using sound to stimulate certain brain waves has the potential to help those with dementia or cognitive decline sleep better, reveals a new study. Sleep disturbances are a common feature in dementia and may affect up to half of people living with the condition.

During the study, the research team from the University of Surrey and the UK Dementia Research Institute Centre for Care Research & Technology at Imperial College London, used sound stimulation to target alpha rhythms, a type of brainwave, at precise timings of the wave to investigate how the brain responds.

Alpha rhythms have been associated with memory and perception, and changes to the rhythms have been observed in those experiencing cognitive decline and dementia.

Senior author Dr Ines Violante, Senior Lecturer in Psychological Neuroscience at the University of Surrey, said:

“Alpha oscillations are a defining characteristic of our brain’s electrical activity, but we still do not fully understand their role in shaping fundamental brain functions.

“Using sound is a powerful, non-invasive approach to stimulate certain oscillations within the brain. It is important that we find ways of manipulating these oscillations to create tools for treatment applications, as we know that brain oscillations are slower in diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.”

In a series of experiments, researchers used an innovative brain modulation technique known as Alpha Closed-Loop Auditory Stimulation (aCLAS), in which sounds are timed to the precise phase of alpha rhythms. To monitor the effect of stimulation, measurements of electrical activity from the brain were continuously read in real-time, and when a brainwave reached a particular phase, a sound (a burst of pink noise) was played on the participant.

Researchers observed that depending on the phase at which the sound was played, the alpha rhythm became faster or slower. The effect was also dependent on where the alpha oscillations were coming from in the brain.

Dr Henry Hebron, a former doctoral student at the University of Surrey and first author of the publication, said:

“What we have found is that alpha oscillations can be manipulated via sound when we address this rhythm on its own terms, using a closed-loop approach. Surprisingly, when we performed our aCLAS experiment as participants were falling asleep, we observed that sounds at a particular phase prevented them from reaching deeper stages of sleep (without waking them), while the same sounds at a different phase were not disruptive.

“There is a lot more to be explored regarding neural oscillations-dependent behaviours, and we believe closed-loop approaches, such as the one we implemented here, could be key.”

According to researchers, now they have shown they are able to influence Alpha waves with sound, the next steps will be to explore if they can modify the waves in such a way that enhances cognition and sleep, which could ultimately benefit dementia patients.

Professor Derk-Jan Dijk, Director of the Surrey Sleep Research Centre and Group Leader at the UK Dementia Research Institute Centre for Care Research & Technology Centre, said:

“There is much to be uncovered about the role of the alpha rhythm in sleep and cognition. This technique could be influential in pushing our understanding and improving sleep functions in those with dementia. We are now investigating the effects of this closed-loop auditory stimulation approach in REM sleep, where alpha rhythms are present but their role still unknown.”

The research contributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 3 — Good Health and Well-being.

Read more at www.sciencedaily.com

Human neuroscience is entering a new era — it mustn’t forget its human dimension

Human neuroscience is entering a new era — it mustn’t forget its human dimension

The field is taking a leap forward thanks to innovative technologies, such as artificial intelligence. Researchers must improve consent procedures and public involvement. Facebook

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Studies involving people who are awake during brain surgery are helping to explain how the brain produces and perceives speech. In neuroscience, ‘Broca’s area’ is a well-known part of the brain that is crucial for speech production. It is named after the nineteenth-century physician-researcher who discovered it — Paul Broca. Less well known, however, is the person whose brain enabled Broca to do so. His name was Louis Victor Leborgne and he had lost his ability to speak at age 30.

Leborgne’s story reminds us why we must never ignore the people involved, assume they’ve consented or fail to acknowledge them appropriately — especially in an age when a lot of neuroscientific research involves humans.

This week’s issue of Nature includes several studies devoted to human neuroscience. They highlight the opportunities researchers have to study the human brain in never-before-seen detail. For example, single-neuron recordings of people who are awake while undergoing brain surgery are helping to explain how the brain produces and perceives speech . Similarly, atlases of brain-cell types, neural circuits and gene-expression maps have the potential to revolutionize our understanding of the cellular and molecular processes that underline behaviour and cognition . Read the paper: Language is primarily a tool for communication rather than thought These technologies are helping researchers to explore what sets the human brain apart from those of other species, and how its cognitive abilities have evolved. For example, the role of non-invasive imaging in learning about cognitive abilities is discussed in a Perspective article by Feline Lindhout at the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, and her colleagues 1 . In another article, Evelina Fedorenko at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and her colleagues also draw on this literature to argue that, in humans, language probably serves mainly as a communication tool rather than as a means for thinking or reasoning 2 — and that language is not a prerequisite for complex thought.

One desirable outcome for human neuroscience would be to develop personalized treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders, because translating the results of studies in animals has not proved successful or sufficient for generating effective therapies at scale. But in grasping these opportunities, researchers must keep in mind that the brain is different from other organs — it’s the seat of people’s memory, experiences and personality. When using the human brain — whether in small cubes removed during neurosurgery, or through 3D organoids made from stem cells and grown in cultures to resemble parts of the developing human brain — for research, scientists must consider the dignity and respect owed to the individuals concerned. Read the paper: A molecular and cellular perspective on human brain evolution and tempo Read the paper: Large-scale neurophysiology and single-cell profiling in human neuroscience The 1964 Declaration of Helsinki is the basis of research ethics for studies involving humans. Participants are asked to complete a consent form before the start of a study. Researchers have to ensure participants are fully informed about the study’s goals and whether and how they will benefit from the research. Sources of funding should also be declared and a participant must be able to withdraw at any time. According to neuroethicist Judy Illes at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, ideally, consent should not be something that is done only once. It should be revisited during a study, so that participants can make informed decisions at different stages 3 . This is especially important for studies involving vulnerable people, because their circumstances might change during a study.

In another Perspective article, Tomasz Nowakowski at the University of California, San Francisco, and a team of neurosurgeons, neurologists and neuroscientists 4 call on the neuroscience community to revisit these standards of ethical practice. A key challenge they identify is how to handle the ramifications of advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). Read the paper: Large-scale neurophysiology and single-cell profiling in human neuroscience Researchers who use cell atlases, single-cell technologies and spatial-genomic analyses benefit hugely from AI and machine-learning algorithms when analysing large data sets. Yet, AI technologies have the potential to re-identify anonymized information by analysing vast data sets and finding patterns that trace back to individuals. AI models that analyse large data sets can also make predictions related to features of peoples’ behaviour and their cognitive abilities. This has the potential to cause harm, for example, through biased or erroneous profiling of people on the basis of their neurological data, says neuroethicist Karen Rommelfanger, founder of the Institute of Neuroethics, who is based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Nowakowski and his colleagues propose that researchers use controlled archives, access to which requires approval, and that they restrict data use to the conditions specified in consent forms. To implement such changes will require conversations between study participants, academic researchers and the companies that have a considerable role in the current AI advances. Informed-consent information will also need to change, to account for the risks of researchers’ increased reliance on AI tools.

The team is right to stress the need for improved standards in data ethics and sharing that are jointly created by scientists, private partners and the research participants. Without a doubt, human neuroscience is entering a new and important era. However, it can fulfil its goals of improving human experiences only when study participants are involved in discussions about the future of such research. References

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Thalamocortical connectivity crucial for functional brain networks, study finds

Thalamocortical connectivity crucial for functional brain networks, study finds

by Institute for Basic Science Thalamic connectopic maps (CMAP) and neocortical projection maps (NEOMAP) demonstrate the developmental changes in brain connectivity. Panel (a) shows CMAP 1 & 2 and NEOMAP 1 & 2 for infants (29–44 weeks), illustrating early differentiation of sensorimotor networks. Panel (b) displays these maps for children and young adults (8–22 years), highlighting the establishment of connections with the salience network and the differentiation between externally and internally oriented systems. Network profiles, sorted based on the Yeo-Krienan 7 Network Atlas, are depicted in box plots indicating the median and interquartile range (IQR). Panel (c) presents a schematic of the external-to-internal axis division derived from the NEOMAPs of childhood and young adulthood, showing the crucial role of the salience network. Credit: Nature Neuroscience (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41593-024-01679-3 Our brains seamlessly process streams of visual information from the world around us while simultaneously understanding the causal structure of events. These essential cognitive functions, known as external sensory processing and internal world modeling, are critical for navigating complex environments.

Our brain achieves this through large-scale functional systems responsible for these processes. Recently, an international collaboration of scientists led by the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) has explored the role of thalamocortical connectivity during the development of brain networks. The study is published in Nature Neuroscience .

One longstanding question in neuroscience is how the brain’s large-scale functional networks form during development. This study investigated the changes in connectivity between the thalamus and cerebral cortex from infancy to adulthood and how these changes influence the formation of the brain’s functional networks. For the first time, researchers have revealed that thalamocortical connectivity is crucial for the emergence and specialization of the brain’s functional networks, particularly those processing external and internal information.

Traditionally seen as a relay station for sensory information, the thalamus also influences higher cognitive functions. Sensory connections between the thalamus and cortex become established quickly at an early age, while higher-order cognitive connections develop later at maturity. However, the exact mechanisms and timeline of these developments have remained unclear.

This study began to address these challenges by employing advanced neuroimaging techniques, transcriptomic analyses, and computational models on cross-sectional and longitudinal datasets, to map the development of thalamocortical connectivity across different age groups.

This study revealed that during infancy, thalamocortical connectivity reflects early sensorimotor network differentiation and gene expression patterns related to brain development. However, as children grow, this connectivity shifts its role to establish connections with the salience network, that serves as an anchor for differentiating external (sensorimotor, visual, dorsal attention networks) and internal (default mode network ) functional cortical systems.

Computational simulations confirmed thalamic connectivity’s role in developing key features of the mature brain, such as functional segregation and the sensory-association axis. Perturbation of developmentally informed growth models. (a) A schematic illustrates the growth model based on thalamo-salience connectivity rules that change over the developmental age span. Four perturbation models were tested: perturbation applied to the 8–12 years age group, 12–16 years age group, 16–22 years age group, and all age groups, compared to a non-perturbation model. (b) The segregation indices (salience-external and salience-internal) were calculated for each growth model, with percentages indicating the difference compared to the no-perturbation model. (c) Cortical gradients extracted from the simulated affinity matrix of each growth model demonstrate the impact of these perturbations on brain connectivity development. Credit: Nature Neuroscience (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41593-024-01679-3 “Our study for the first time provides a detailed map of how thalamocortical connectivity contributes to the large-scale functional organization in the human brain from infancy through young adulthood,” said lead author Park Shinwon.

“By integrating advanced neuroimaging techniques, gene expression analysis, and computational modeling, we were able to systematically track and analyze the changes in brain connectivity across different developmental stages. This comprehensive approach has allowed us to uncover the pivotal role of the thalamus in the emergence and specialization of functional brain networks.”

Unlike earlier studies that focused on regional properties of individual thalamic nuclei, this research provides a comprehensive view of the global integration of the thalamus into cortical networks. These findings offer potential implications for understanding and studying clinical conditions that show compromised internal and external processing, such as autism, schizophrenia, and other neurodevelopmental conditions.

The corresponding author, Hong Seok Jun, a principal investigator at the IBS Center for Neuroscience Imaging Research said, “Understanding how thalamocortical connectivity evolves and influences brain function provides a crucial foundation for identifying the mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental conditions.

“This research opens up new possibilities for early diagnosis and targeted interventions, which could significantly improve outcomes for individuals with neurodevelopmental conditions.”

In the future, the researchers plan to investigate how thalamocortical connectivity changes in children with autism and how these changes correlate with clinical symptoms and cognitive functions. They also plan to expand their research focus to include other subcortical structures such as the striatum and cerebellum.

This broader approach in systems neuroscience will help us gain a more comprehensive understanding of how various brain regions interact and develop.

More information: Shinwon Park et al, A shifting role of thalamocortical connectivity in the emergence of cortical functional organization, Nature Neuroscience (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41593-024-01679-3

Provided by Institute for Basic Science

Read more at medicalxpress.com

Scientists Reveal How Keto Diet May Boost Your Brain and Lifespan

Scientists Reveal How Keto Diet May Boost Your Brain and Lifespan

If you have ever dabbled in the world of dieting, you are likely to have stumbled across the famous ketogenic diet. But aside from melting fat and dropping pounds, this diet has been associated with improvements in brain health and longevity.

Now, new research has revealed how these beneficial effects might take place at a molecular level, at least in mice.

Read more: What Is a Health Savings Account?

“The ketogenic diet modifies the energy source for cells, replacing carbohydrates with fat,” Christian González-Billault, a professor at the University of Chile and Buck Institute in California and director of the Geroscience Center for Brain Health and Metabolism, told Newsweek . “Such change induces a metabolic shift […] corresponding to the state where cells maintain their functions on a new energy substrate, the fat.” The keto diet prioritizes whole foods high in fat and low in carbohydrates, including avocado, nuts and oily fish. In other words, this extreme restriction of dietary carbohydrates causes our body’s cells to shift from using glucose as their primary source of fuel to using fat. This condition is known as ketosis.

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To enter ketosis, carbohydrates must only make up about 5 percent of your daily calorie consumption.

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“Typical diets in the U.S. are around 50 percent calories from carbohydrate, so this is DRASTIC,” Christopher Gardner, Rehnborg Farquhar professor of medicine and director of nutrition studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center at Stanford University , previously told Newsweek.

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“In order to be in ketosis, the emphasis needs to be on fat. A ‘Well Formulated Ketogenic Diet’ is around 75 percent fat. The typical American diet is around 35 percent fat, so this means more than a doubling of fat intake.”

Despite the restrictive nature of this diet, as many as 7 percent of Americans followed the eating plan in 2022, according to data from the International Food Information Council. But, according to research in mice, the benefits of this metabolic shift may extend far beyond weight loss.

“Our work indicates that the effects of the ketogenic diet benefit brain function broadly, and we provide a mechanism of action that offers a strategy for the maintenance and improvement of this function during aging,” González-Billault said.

In a new study, published in the journal Cell Reports Medicine , González-Billault and colleagues fed a group of aged mice a ketogenic diet and observed how it impacted their behavior and working memory.

On further investigation, the team saw that the mice on the ketogenic diet showed changes in the activity of the junctions between different cells in the brain involved in memory processing. Interestingly, these changes in activity appeared to be partially orchestrated by the molecules produced when the body goes into ketogenesis, known scientifically as ketone bodies.

“The results collected in our work provide a mechanistic explanation of the beneficial roles of the intermittent ketogenic diet in aged animals, which is an essential first step to understanding the molecular aspects responsible for the effect of this intervention,” González-Billault said.

“We believe those effects might be related to maintaining capacities that naturally decrease during aging in aged individuals. In a sense, the resilience of the animals is increased, delaying the deleterious effects of aging on body functions.”

However, it is so far unclear how translatable these findings are to humans.

“At this moment, these auspicious results in mice need further studies to address whether this intervention is suitable to improve human body functions,” González-Billault said. “[The] high diversity and variability in humans related to genetic ancestry, genetic and non-genetic risk factors, lifestyle, the environment, education levels, and social and personal history make it challenging to propose one helpful, valuable strategy to all humans.”The keto diet is also not without its side effects.”A chronic ketogenic diet, as opposed to our study using an intermittent ketogenic diet, might induce side effects due to the high consumption of fat, affecting the performance of critical organs such as the liver or increasing some cardiovascular risks due to imbalance in fatty acids and cholesterol,” González-Billault said.The restrictive nature of the diet also makes it difficult to stick to over a long period.”For most people who try this diet, the success is short term,” Gardner said. “It is so restrictive that most people can’t maintain it long term.”However, González-Billault and his team hopes to isolate the molecules responsible for the memory improvements seen in their animal models to potentially provide the same results without the need for restrictive dieting.”There are some strategies to circumvent some of these problems by providing ketone bodies instead of a high-fat diet, which merits further exploration to evaluate if this can be a strategy for improvement in humans in the long run,” he said. Do you have a tip on a health story that Newsweek should be covering? Do you have a question about dieting? Let us know via science@newsweek.com.

Read more at www.newsweek.com

How Heat Affects the Brain

How Heat Affects the Brain

High temperatures can have an alarming effect on our bodies. But heat also takes a toll on our brains, impairing people’s cognition. In July 2016, a heat wave hit Boston, with daytime temperatures averaging 92 degrees for five days in a row. Some local university students who were staying in town for the summer got lucky and were living in dorms with central air-conditioning. Other students, not so much — they were stuck in older dorms without A.C.

Jose Guillermo Cedeño Laurent, a Harvard researcher at the time, decided to take advantage of this natural experiment to see how heat, and especially heat at night, affected the young adults’ cognitive performance . He had 44 students perform math and self-control tests five days before the temperature rose, every day during the heat wave, and two days after.

“Many of us think that we are immune to heat,” said Dr. Cedeño, now an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health and justice at Rutgers University. “So something that I wanted to test was whether that was really true.”

It turns out even young, healthy college students are affected by high temperatures. During the hottest days, the students in the un-air-conditioned dorms, where nighttime temperatures averaged 79 degrees, performed significantly worse on the tests they took every morning than the students with A.C., whose rooms stayed a pleasant 71 degrees.

A heat wave is once again blanketing the Northeast, South and Midwest . High temperatures can have an alarming effect on our bodies , raising the risk for heart attacks, heat stroke and death, particularly among older adults and people with chronic diseases . But heat also takes a toll on our brains, impairing cognition and making us irritable, impulsive and aggressive. How heat makes us dumb

Numerous studies in lab settings have produced similar results to Dr. Cedeño’s research, with scores on cognitive tests falling as scientists raised the temperature in the room. One investigation found that just a four-degree increase — which participants described as still feeling comfortable — led to a 10 percent average drop in performance across tests of memory, reaction time and executive functioning.

This can have real consequences. R. Jisung Park, an environmental and labor economist at the University of Pennsylvania, looked at high school standardized test scores and found that they fell 0.2 percent for every degree above 72 Fahrenheit. That might not sound like a lot, but it can add up for students taking an exam in an un-air-conditioned room during a 90-degree heat wave.

In another study , Dr. Park found that the more hotter-than-average days there were during the school year, the worse students did on a standardized test — especially when the thermometer climbed above 80 degrees. He thinks that may be because greater exposure to heat was affecting students’ learning throughout the year.

The effect was “more pronounced for lower income and racial minority students,” Dr. Park said, possibly because they were less likely to have air-conditioning, both at school and at home. Editors’ Picks

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Why heat makes us aggressive

Researchers first discovered the link between heat and aggression by looking at crime data , finding that there are more murders, assaults and episodes of domestic violence on hot days. The connection applies to nonviolent acts, too: When temperatures rise, people are more likely to engage in hate speech online and honk their horns in traffic .

Lab studies back this up. In one 2019 experiment , people acted more spitefully toward others while playing a specially designed video game in a hot room than in a cool one.

So-called reactive aggression tends to be especially sensitive to heat, likely because people tend to interpret others’ actions as more hostile on hot days, prompting them to respond in kind.

Kimberly Meidenbauer, an assistant professor of psychology at Washington State University, thinks this increase in reactive aggression may be related to heat’s effect on cognition, particularly the dip in self control . “Your tendency to act without thinking, or not be able to stop yourself from acting a certain way, these things also appear to be affected by heat,” she said. What’s happening in the brain

Researchers don’t know why heat affects our cognition and emotions, but there are a couple of theories.

One is that the brain’s resources are being diverted to keep you cool, leaving less energy for everything else. “If you’re allocating all of the blood and all the glucose to parts of your brain that are focused on thermoregulation, it seems like it’s very plausible that you just wouldn’t have enough left for some of these kind of higher cognitive functions,” Dr. Meidenbauer said.

You could also be distracted and irritable because of how hot and miserable you feel. It turns out that’s actually one of the brain’s coping responses. If you can’t get cool, your brain will “make you feel even more uncomfortable so that finding the thing you need to survive will become all consuming,” explained Shaun Morrison, a professor of neurological surgery at Oregon Health and Science University.

Heat’s effect on sleep could play a role, too. In the Boston study, the hotter it got, the more students’ sleep was disrupted — and the worse they performed on the tests.

The best way to offset these effects is to cool yourself off , A.S.A.P. If you don’t have access to air-conditioning, fans can help, and be sure to stay hydrated. It might sound obvious, but what matters most for your brain, mood and cognition is how hot your body is, not the temperature outside.

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Can You Pass the Spice-Drawer Smell Test?

Can You Pass the Spice-Drawer Smell Test?

It’s well known that the loss of smell can lead to mental health problems. But can training your nose alleviate them? Your grandma’s brownies, the scent of rain on a pine forest, a whiff of cardamom — smells can be powerful time machines, unlocking memories almost like magic and transporting you to specific moments more vividly than vision or hearing.

But just like vision and hearing, our sense of smell diminishes with age (and as a result of infections like Covid, smoking and pollution ). About 11 percent of Americans in their 50s experience trouble smelling; that number rises to 39 percent for those over 80.

When our noses lose their sharpness, our mental health often suffers too. A diminished sense of smell is associated with worsening memory , cognition and overall well-being — as well as dementia and depression.

“Our brains need a lot of olfactory stimulation in order to maintain their health,” said Michael Leon, a professor emeritus of neurobiology at the University of California, Irvine.

Fortunately, a diminished sense of smell may be reversible , perhaps by something as simple as spending some time with your spice rack. Why smell is so important in the brain

Scientists have long recognized that a reduced ability to detect and identify scents may be an early symptom of conditions such as depression , dementia and Parkinson’s disease . You may notice, for example, that your favorite wine has somehow lost its nose, or fail to notice that food is spoiling in your fridge, said Sarah Banks, an adjunct professor of neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego. For many people, troubles with smell are among the first signs of Alzheimer’s, she added.

So, does that mean training the nose can help the mind? Some research suggests that it actually might . In one 2022 study, seniors with depression trained their noses for several months and saw their symptoms diminish, especially those who had previous smelling problems.

A smaller 2021 study of dementia patients found that smell training not only improved depression but also helped them remember words faster. Dr. Leon said the results were better than what he saw with brain-training apps. A few other small studies have suggested smell training could increase the thickness of the hippocampus, which is the brain’s memory center.

When Dr. Banks and her colleagues examined the brain scans of master sommeliers, they found that the insula (a region that processes emotions) and the entorhinal cortex (an area whose dysfunction is involved in Alzheimer’s disease) became larger the longer someone had worked in the profession. Editors’ Picks

“That’s one of the parts of the brain that normally gets a little bit thinner and smaller with age,” Dr. Banks said. “And in these guys, it was going in the opposite direction.”

Experts think one reason this happens is that the areas of the brain involved in smell are uniquely connected to parts involved in cognition, such as the prefrontal cortex.

“The olfactory system is the only sensory system that has a direct superhighway projection into the memory centers and the emotional centers of your brain,” Dr. Leon said. So, how do you test (and train) your nose?

Any serious testing of your sense of smell is best done with an ear, nose and throat doctor. However, if you are curious, there are a few ways to assess your nose’s abilities at home. You can order a self-testing kit , which may contain scratch cards to sniff, or evaluate yourself with simple household items.

While a home test doesn’t replace an evaluation by a physician, it can still alert you to potential declines, said Thomas Hummel, a professor of olfactory sciences at the Dresden University of Technology in Germany. Experts say that by consciously and intentionally testing and training your nose, you can improve your sense of smell. Dr. Hummel’s clinic offers a 10-minute online smell evaluation you can conduct with everyday household items and that, in one study, identified 67 percent of people with smell impairments.

To take the test, pour four strong-smelling products into separate cups. (Dr. Hummel’s test uses things like wine, soap, laundry detergent, honey or coffee). Ask someone to blindfold you and offer you the cups to sniff. Give yourself one point if you can smell something and two if you can identify it.

If you score less than seven out of eight, you may have an olfactory dysfunction . But that is not necessarily an indicator of cognitive issues or mental decline, Dr. Banks said. Your smell dysfunction may be temporary , the way it can be during and after a viral infection, though it may suggest you should consult a doctor.

What’s more, poor olfactory scores can be improved . Dr. Hummel recommends his patients find four strong-smelling household items, like a spice or some toothpaste. Sniff each of them in the morning and evening for at least 30 seconds, he said. (If you can sniff more odors, more times a day and for longer than 30 seconds, all the better, he added.) You don’t need a blindfold; the point is to just become more intentional and aware of smells. Mix up the odors, if you like: One day you can sniff cinnamon, the next coffee.

If you’re looking for something more challenging, you might try a sommelier training kit . But you can even get results simply by paying mindful attention to the scents already present in your life.

When sommeliers train, Dr. Banks said, they often visit grocery stores to smell fruits and vegetables, learning the nuances of aromas. Another thing to try is a nighttime scent diffusing machine that wafts out essential oils while you sleep. One small study Dr. Leon led suggested that they can be helpful enhancing cognitive abilities.

Training your nose Dr. Hummel said, connects us in the world around. It may be that helping your brain can be as simple as taking time to smell the roses.

Marta Zaraska is the author of “Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100.”

Read more at www.nytimes.com

New technology allows researchers to precisely, flexibly modulate brain

New technology allows researchers to precisely, flexibly modulate brain

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain Human brain diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, involve damage in more than one region of the brain, requiring technology that could precisely and flexibly address all affected regions simultaneously.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a noninvasive technology combining a holographic acoustic device with genetic engineering that allows them to precisely target affected neurons in the brain, creating the potential to precisely modulate selected cell types in multiple diseased brain regions.

Hong Chen, associate professor of biomedical engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering and of neurosurgery in the School of Medicine, and her team created AhSonogenetics, or Airy-beam holographic sonogenetics, a technique that uses a noninvasive wearable ultrasound device to alter genetically selected neurons in the brains of mice. Results of the proof-of-concept study were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on June 17.

AhSonogenetics brings together several of Chen’s group’s recent advances into one technology. In 2021, she and her team launched Sonogenetics, a method that uses focused ultrasound to deliver a viral construct containing ultrasound-sensitive ion channels to genetically selected neurons in the brain. They use low-intensity focused ultrasound to deliver a small burst of warmth, which opens the ion channels and activates the neurons. Chen’s team was the first to show that sonogenetics could modulate the behavior of freely moving mice.

In 2022, she and members of her lab designed and 3D-printed a flexible and versatile tool known as an Airy beam-enabled binary acoustic metasurface that allowed them to manipulate ultrasound beams. She is also developing Sonogenetics 2.0, which combines the advantage of ultrasound and genetic engineering to modulate defined neurons noninvasively and precisely in the brains of humans and animals. AhSonogenetics brings them together as a potential method to intervene in neurodegenerative diseases.

“By enabling precise and flexible cell-type-specific neuromodulation without invasive procedures, AhSonogenetics provides a powerful tool for investigating intact neural circuits and offers promising interventions for neurological disorders,” Chen said.

Sonogenetics gives researchers a way to precisely control the brains, while airy-beam technology allows researchers to bend or steer the sound waves to generate arbitrary beam patterns inside the brain with a high spatial resolution. Yaoheng (Mack) Yang, a postdoctoral research associate who earned a doctorate in biomedical engineering from McKelvey Engineering in 2022, said the technology gives the researchers three unique advantages.

“Airy beam is the technology that can give us precise targeting of a smaller region than conventional technology, the flexibility to steer to the targeted brain regions, and to target multiple brain regions simultaneously,” Yang said.

Chen and her team, including first authors Zhongtao Hu, a former postdoctoral research associate, and Yang, designed each Airy-beam metasurface individually as the foundation for wearable ultrasound devices that were tailored for different applications and for precise locations in the brain.

Chen’s team tested the technique on a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. With AhSonogenetics, they were able to stimulate two brain regions simultaneously in a single mouse, eliminating the need for multiple implants or interventions. This stimulation alleviated Parkinson’s-related motor deficits in the mouse model, including slow movements, difficulty walking and freezing behaviors.

The team’s Airy-beam device overcomes some of the limits of sonogenetics, including tailoring the design of the device to target specific brain locations, as well as incorporating the flexibility to adjust target locations in a single brain.

Hu said the device, which costs roughly $50 to make, can be tailored in size to fit various brain sizes, expanding its potential applications.

“This technology can be used as a research platform to speed neuroscience research because of the capability to flexibly target different brain regions,” Hu said. “The affordability and ease of fabrication lower the barriers to the widespread adoption of our proposed devices by the research community for neuromodulation applications.”

More information: Chen, Hong, Airy-beam holographic sonogenetics for advancing neuromodulation precision and flexibility, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2024). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2402200121 . doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2402200121

Provided by Washington University in St. Louis

Read more at medicalxpress.com

Could pomegranates help aid memory and ease Alzheimer’s symptoms?

Could pomegranates help aid memory and ease Alzheimer’s symptoms?

A natural compound found in pomegranates could help alleviate Alzheimer’s symptoms, research suggests. Tanja Ivanova/Getty Images Urolithin A is a natural compound shown to support memory and cognitive function and reduce brain inflammation.

A new study in mice suggests that urolithin A may have therapeutic properties in treating Alzheimer’s disease.

Consuming certain polyphenols, abundant in pomegranates, can increase gut bacteria’s production of urolithin A.

Experts recommend enhancing the body’s production of urolithin A through diet rather than supplementation.

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder that primarily affects individuals over the age of 65 and is the leading cause of dementia in older adults.

Research indicates that Mediterranean and MIND diets may protect against Alzheimer’s, potentially due to lower intake of inflammatory saturated fats and sugars and higher consumption of vitamins, minerals, omega-3s , and antioxidants.

Since Alzheimer’s is associated with elevated oxidative stress , increased antioxidant intake might be especially beneficial. Antioxidants counteract free radical damage, possibly mitigating disease effects.

A recent study published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia explored urolithin A, a natural compound produced by gut bacteria when they process certain polyphenolic compounds found in pomegranates.

Urolithin A has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, along with other potential benefits for brain health.

Researchers treated various Alzheimer’s mouse models with urolithin A for 5 months to assess long-term effects on brain health.

The results showed that urolithin A could enhance learning and memory, reduce neuroinflammation, and improve cellular cleanup processes in Alzheimer’s disease mice.

Although animal studies do not directly translate to humans, experts believe urolithin A may have potential as a future preventive or therapeutic agent for Alzheimer’s disease. Urolithin A shows promise in mouse models of Alzheimer’s

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark conducted a study to understand the benefits of long-term urolithin A treatment in Alzheimer’s disease.

Using three mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease, they combined urolithin A treatment with behavioral, electrophysiological, biochemical, and bioinformatic experiments.

After five months of urolithin A treatment, they observed improvements in memory, protein build-up, cell waste processing, and DNA damage in the brains of Alzheimer’s mice.

Additionally, important markers of brain inflammation were reduced, making the treated mice more similar to healthy ones.

The study revealed that urolithin A treatment lowered the excessive activity of microglia, a type of immune cell in the brain.

The researchers also suggest that urolithin A: reduces cathepsin Z, which is elevated in Alzheimer’s and could be a target for Alzheimer’s treatment

decreases amyloid beta protein levels and inflammation associated with Alzheimer’s disease development

promotes mitophagy, the cleaning out of damaged mitochondria, which is reduced in Alzheimer’s disease

The mitophagy effects from urolithin A may be similar to those seen with nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) supplements in Alzheimer’s disease .

Some of the researchers in this study have connections to several companies, including ChromaDex, which is known for its NAD supplement. It’s unclear how these ties might influence the present study’s results. How does urolithin A support brain health?

Medical News Today spoke with Thomas M. Holland, MD, MS , a physician-scientist and assistant professor at the RUSH Institute for Healthy Aging, RUSH University, College of Health Sciences, who was not involved in the study.

He noted that, in the present mouse model study, urolithin A “treatment positively impacted several aspects of brain health, such as improving memory function, reducing harmful protein build-up, decreasing brain inflammation, enhancing cellular waste removal, and preventing DNA damage in key brain regions.” “Collectively [the results] mean that [urolithin A] can act as a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent to help clear [amyloid beta, which] prevents the onset of cognitive deficits associated with the pathological [amyloid beta] deposition [and can] regulate cellular energy homeostasis and cell death.”
— Thomas M. Holland, MD, MS In other words, urolithin A may have multiple mechanisms of action contributing to its positive effects on the brain.

Specifically, Urolithin A may help protect against cognitive decline by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress and promoting the clearance of harmful proteins and damaged mitochondria from the brain. A new intervention for Alzheimer’s?
MNT also spoke with Alyssa Simpson, RDN, CGN, CLT , a registered dietitian, certified gastrointestinal nutritionist, and owner of Nutrition Resolution in Phoenix, Arizona, who was not involved in the study.She noted the study’s strengths and weaknesses : “While the study provides important insights into urolithin A’s potential benefits for Alzheimer’s, it is limited by its reliance on animal models and its narrow focus on specific pathways, possibly overlooking broader systemic interactions. However, its strengths lie in the thorough assessment of multiple pathological mechanisms and investigation of long-term treatment effects, which significantly advances our understanding of urolithin A’s therapeutic role in Alzheimer’s.” “The research indicates that urolithin A treatment shows potential as a new intervention for Alzheimer’s disease by addressing various pathological mechanisms like neuroinflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, lysosomal dysfunction, and DNA damage, potentially slowing down the progression of the disease,” Simpson added. However, “[w]hile research on urolithin A offers promise for Alzheimer’s intervention, additional studies, particularly clinical trials, are required to validate its efficacy and safety in humans,” she cautioned. Holland agreed but highlighted challenges in determining urolithin A’s outcomes and optimal dosage through randomized controlled trials.He explained that controlling for diet, gut microbiota , and individual health conditions is difficult, and these factors can influence urolithin A absorption and utilization in the body.Additionally, Holland said that if subjects consume other polyphenol-rich foods , it complicates isolating the effects of the administered urolithin A from that produced naturally through diet. Best food sources of urolithin A More research is needed to determine the best urolithin A doses, and the potential risks of long-term supplement use since both of these are unknown. “There could be risks associated with trying urolithin A pills for Alzheimer’s intervention since there is limited research on their safety and effectiveness,” cautioned Simpson. Promoting the body’s urolithin A production through diet may be a more natural and safe approach.Holland explained that urolithin A is a natural compound produced by gut bacteria […]

Read more at www.medicalnewstoday.com

Study links balanced neural activity to enhanced cognitive abilities in youth

Study links balanced neural activity to enhanced cognitive abilities in youth

In a world where external and internal stimuli can throw our entire body system off balance, how does our brain prevent itself from becoming overly stimulated?

The answer lies in our brain’s ability to maintain the balance of neural excitation (E) and inhibition (I), known as the E/I ratio. By regulating the E/I ratio, the brain prevents over-stimulation and under-stimulation.

The E/I ratio of children decreases with healthy development. Children with a lower E/I ratio were observed to have better performance than their peers in cognitive tests such as memory and intelligence, according to studies by researchers from the Centre for Sleep and Cognition at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS Medicine).

With the aim of drawing meaningful connections between E/I ratio and brain maturation, the study team, led by fourth-year PhD student Zhang Shaoshi, Associate Professor Thomas Yeo from the Centre for Sleep and Cognition at NUS Medicine, Assistant Professor Bart Larsen from the University of Minnesota and Associate Professor Theodore Satterthwaite from the University of Pennsylvania, looked at how E/I ratio changes in youths, by studying the MRI brain scans of 885 children, adolescents and young adults from the United States of America and 154 children from Singapore. E/I ratio is an aspect that is continually changing and developing throughout childhood and adolescence. The Singaporean data cohort were obtained from GUSTO, Singapore’s largest and most comprehensive birth cohort study that seeks to help the next generation become healthier.

Described as the Yin and Yang of the brain, researchers have found that too much excitation or excessive inhibition can be harmful, leading to a higher risk of developing brain disorders, such as autism, Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.

In less severe situations, someone with too much excitation might overthink in social situations, resulting in anxiety. Indeed, a common drug for reducing anxiety symptoms is Xanax, which increases neural inhibition, thus reducing neural excitation. In more severe scenarios, over-excitation can cause an epileptic seizure.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, too much inhibition indicates an absence of brain activity, effectively putting the person in a vegetative state. Therefore, inhibition is needed to balance excitation. Overall, a balanced E/I ratio is important for a well-functioning brain.

Despite E/I’s importance for brain health, it is hard to measure its ratio in the human brain without using invasive techniques. Therefore, the team developed a technique, combining artificial intelligence and biophysical modeling to infer E/I ratios from non-invasive, non-radioactive MRI scans. The team demonstrated the validity of their estimated E/I ratios through an experiment, during which participants ingested anti-anxiety medication (Xanax) or a placebo.

The team’s hypothesis is that once Xanax is ingested, inhibition will increase, so the overall E/I ratio decreases. To test this hypothesis, the research team scanned healthy individuals on two separate occasions. A participant is given Xanax before one MRI session and placebo in another MRI session. For some participants, Xanax might be administered in the first session, while for others Xanax might be administered in the second session. All parties involved in this experiment were not privy to whether an MRI session involved the placebo or the anti-anxiety drug. The team found that estimated E/I ratio markers were indeed lower after participants had ingested Xanax, compared with the placebo, and thus validating their technique.

The study team then proceeded to use MRI brain scans to study brain development in a large sample of more than 1000 children, adolescents and young adults from Singapore and the United States of America. They discover that E/I ratios decrease with healthy development. Next, to establish the link between E/I ratios and cognitive function, the team divided participants, ranging from age 7 to 23, into high and low-performance groups based on their scores on certain cognitive tests. They found that the high performing groups had lower E/I ratios than their peers of the same age, suggesting that cognitive abilities improve as the E/I ratio matures during development.

Beyond their study on neurodevelopment, the team is keen on applying their approach to gain mechanistic insights into various brain disorders, by studying how the E/I ratio differs between healthy participants and patients battling mental disorders. The team also aims to study how the E/I ratio changes as people age, to gain insights into neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Assoc Prof Thomas Yeo, who is also from the NUS College of Design and Engineering and Principal Investigator of this study, adds, “Our findings enhance our understanding of brain development and highlight potential avenues for understanding the emergence of psychopathology in youth. Hopefully, these findings will lead us to figure out which brain circuits get over-excited or over-inhibited easily, or pinpoint certain abnormal brain regions specific to an individual patient. This could shed more light on how medication or brain stimulation can be customised according to individuals, that would shape the course of treatment of brain disorders in the long run.”

This study is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, titled ‘In vivo whole-cortex marker of excitation-inhibition ratio indexes cortical maturation and cognitive ability in youth’.

Source:

National University of Singapore, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

Journal reference:

Zhang, S., et al . (2024). In vivo whole-cortex marker of excitation-inhibition ratio indexes cortical maturation and cognitive ability in youth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2318641121 .

Read more at www.news-medical.net

Neuroscientists Make Breakthrough Memory-and-Sleep Discovery

Neuroscientists Make Breakthrough Memory-and-Sleep Discovery

Scientists have made a breakthrough in our understanding of how memories form in the brain and how this process may be disrupted by not getting enough sleep.

The findings offer exciting insights into how our brains work and may lead to new targeted treatments to improve memory formation in the future.

Getting enough sleep is essential for our mental and physical well-being. It helps us consolidate our memories and aids physical recovery, and not getting enough has been shown to contribute to heart disease, obesity, neurodegenerative disorders and depression.

Now, new research suggests that not getting enough sleep might permanently disrupt the formation and retrieval of waking memories. Photo of a woman sleeping. Sleep plays an important role in our mental and physical wellbeing, and not getting enough can significantly alter how we process memories. The neurons that make up the “wires” in our brains rarely act alone. Instead, they are highly interconnected and often fire together in rhythmic and repetitive patterns. One example of this rhythmic firing is known as the sharp-wave ripple, which is sort of like a “stadium wave” in your brain.

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Previous research has shown that sharp-wave ripples in an area of the brain called the hippocampus play an important role in memory retrieval and consolidation. However, the impact of sleep deprivation on these brain patterns is less well understood.

In a new study, published in the journal Nature , researchers from the University of Michigan Medical School recorded brain activity in the hippocampus of seven rats as they explored mazes over the course of several weeks. Some animals were regularly disturbed during sleep while others were allowed to sleep freely.

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Both groups of mice showed similar levels of sharp-wave ripple activity. In fact, they were actually slightly higher among the group of sleep-deprived rodents. But the firing of these ripples in the sleep-deprived group was weaker and less organized than the patterns observed in the brains of the well-rested rats.

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The sleep-deprived rats were then given two days to recover and demonstrated improvements in strength and organization of the sharp-wave ripple activity. However, they were unable to reach the same levels of activity as the rats with normal sleep schedules. In other words, sleep deprivation permanently altered the rats’ ability to process specific memories.

“The memories that are formed prior to sleep deprivation will not undergo the same memory processing as those before sleep,” lead author Kamran Diba, told Newsweek . “Other studies from ours have previously shown that such memories won’t be remembered in the same way.”

This study adds to a growing body of evidence that memories continue to be processed after they are experienced, and that sleep appears to play a really important role in this processing. So pulling an all-nighter to revise before a big exam might not be a very effective strategy.

Not only does this research highlight the importance of sleep in memory formation, but the team hopes that their findings may inform future strategies to stave off memory decline.

“One possibility is that if we can identify interventions that confer resilience to reactivation and replay (i.e. allow them to fully rebound during the eventual recovery sleep after sleep loss) then we may be able to circumvent memory decline, at least in the short term,” Diba said.

This mechanism may also go some way to explain the associations we see between sleep deprivation and cognitive decline. “While we did not investigate the case of chronic sleep deprivation, diminished reactivation and replay indeed represent a potential mechanism for cognitive decline, though I think there will likely be other links in the chain (such as protein signaling and gene expression),” Diba said.

Is there a health issue that’s worrying you? Let us know via health@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

Request Reprint & Licensing Submit Correction View Editorial Guidelines About the writer Pandora Dewan Pandora Dewan is a Senior Science Reporter at Newsweek based in London, UK. Her focus is reporting on science, health … Read more To read how Newsweek uses AI as a newsroom tool, Click here.

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Studies uncover the critical role of sleep in the formation of memories

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Imagine you’re a student, it’s finals week, and you’re preparing for a big exam: do you pull an all-nighter or do you get some rest?

As many a groggy-eyed person who’s stared blankly at a test knows, a lack of sleep can make it extraordinarily difficult to retain information.

Two new studies from University of Michigan uncover why this is and what is happening inside the brain during sleep and sleep deprivation to help or harm the formation of memories.

Specific neurons can be tuned to specific stimuli.

For example, rats in a maze will have neurons that light up once the animal reaches specific spots in the maze. These neurons, called place neurons, are also active in people and help people navigate their environment.

But what happens during sleep?

“If that neuron is responding during sleep, what can you infer from that?” said Kamran Diba, Ph.D., associate professor of Anesthesiology at U-M Medical School.

A study, summarized in the journal Nature and led by Diba and former graduate student Kourosh Maboudi, Ph.D., looks at neurons in the hippocampus, a seahorse shaped structure deep in the brain involved in memory formation, and discovered a way to visualize the tuning of neuronal patterns associated with a location while an animal was asleep.

A type of electrical activity called sharp-wave ripples emanate from the hippocampus every couple of seconds, over a period of many hours, during restful states and sleep.

Researchers have been intrigued by how synchronous the ripples are and how far they travel, seemingly to spread information from one part of the brain to another.

These firings are thought to allow neurons to form and update memories, including of place.

For the study, the team measured a rat’s brain activity during sleep, after the rat completed a new maze.

Using a type of statistical inference called Bayesian learning, they were for the first time able to track which neurons would respond to which places in the maze.

“Let’s say a neuron prefers a certain corner of the maze. We might see that neuron activate with others that show a similar preference during sleep. But sometimes neurons associated with other areas might co-activate with that cell. We then saw that when we put it back on the maze, the location preferences of neurons changed depending on which cells they fired with during sleep,” said Diba.

The method allows them to visualize the plasticity or representational drift of the neurons in real time.

It also gives more support to the long-standing theory that reactivation of neurons during sleep is part of why sleep is important for memories.

Given sleep’s importance, Diba’s team wanted to look at what happens in the brain in the context of sleep deprivation.

In the second study, also published in Nature , the team, led by Diba and former graduate student Bapun Giri, Ph.D., compared the amount of neuron reactivation — wherein the place neurons that fired during maze exploration spontaneously fire again at rest — and the sequence of their reactivation (quantified as replay), during sleep vs. during sleep loss.

They discovered that the firing patterns of neurons involved in reactivating and replaying the maze experience were higher in sleep compared to during sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation corresponded with a similar or higher rate of sharp-wave ripples, but lower amplitude waves and lower power ripples.

“In almost half the cases, however, reactivation of the maze experience during sharp-wave ripples was completely suppressed during sleep deprivation,” said Diba.

When sleep deprived rats were able to catch up on sleep, he added, while the reactivation rebounded slightly, it never matched that of rats who slept normally. Furthermore, replay was similarly impaired but was not recovered when lost sleep was regained.

Since reactivation and replay are important for memory, the findings demonstrate the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation on memory.Diba’s team hopes to continue looking at the nature of memory processing during sleep and why they need to be reactivated and the effects of sleep pressure on memory.Additional authors include Hiroyuki Miyawaki, Caleb Kemere, Nathaniel Kinshy, Utku Kaya and Ted Abel. RELATED TOPICS Mind & Brain Insomnia Sleep Disorders Obstructive Sleep Apnea Disorders and Syndromes Brain Injury Neuroscience Memory Intelligence RELATED TERMS Sleep deprivation Circadian rhythm sleep disorder Night terror Rapid eye movement Sleep Sleep disorder Delayed sleep phase syndrome Narcolepsy (sleep disorder) Story Source: Materials provided by Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan . Original written by Kelly Malcom. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Read more at www.sciencedaily.com

Neural balance in the brain is associated with brain maturity and better cognitive ability

In a world where external and internal stimuli can throw our entire body system off balance, how does our brain prevent itself from becoming overly stimulated?

The answer lies in our brain’s ability to maintain the balance of neural excitation (E) and inhibition (I), known as the E/I ratio. By regulating the E/I ratio, the brain prevents over-stimulation and under-stimulation.

The E/I ratio of children decreases with healthy development. Children with a lower E/I ratio were observed to have better performance than their peers in cognitive tests such as memory and intelligence, according to studies by researchers from the Centre for Sleep and Cognition at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS Medicine).

With the aim of drawing meaningful connections between E/I ratio and brain maturation, the study team, led by fourth-year PhD student Zhang Shaoshi, Associate Professor Thomas Yeo from the Centre for Sleep and Cognition at NUS Medicine, Assistant Professor Bart Larsen from the University of Minnesota and Associate Professor Theodore Satterthwaite from the University of Pennsylvania, looked at how E/I ratio changes in youths, by studying the MRI brain scans of 885 children, adolescents and young adults from the United States of America and 154 children from Singapore. E/I ratio is an aspect that is continually changing and developing throughout childhood and adolescence. The Singaporean data cohort were obtained from GUSTO, Singapore’s largest and most comprehensive birth cohort study that seeks to help the next generation become healthier.

Described as the Yin and Yang of the brain, researchers have found that too much excitation or excessive inhibition can be harmful, leading to a higher risk of developing brain disorders, such as autism, Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia. In less severe situations, someone with too much excitation might overthink in social situations, resulting in anxiety. Indeed, a common drug for reducing anxiety symptoms is Xanax, which increases neural inhibition, thus reducing neural excitation. In more severe scenarios, over-excitation can cause an epileptic seizure.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, too much inhibition indicates an absence of brain activity, effectively putting the person in a vegetative state. Therefore, inhibition is needed to balance excitation. Overall, a balanced E/I ratio is important for a well-functioning brain.

Despite E/I’s importance for brain health, it is hard to measure its ratio in the human brain without using invasive techniques. Therefore, the team developed a technique, combining artificial intelligence and biophysical modeling to infer E/I ratios from non-invasive, non-radioactive MRI scans. The team demonstrated the validity of their estimated E/I ratios through an experiment, during which participants ingested anti-anxiety medication (Xanax) or a placebo.

The team’s hypothesis is that once Xanax is ingested, inhibition will increase, so the overall E/I ratio decreases. To test this hypothesis, the research team scanned healthy individuals on two separate occasions. A participant is given Xanax before one MRI session and placebo in another MRI session. For some participants, Xanax might be administered in the first session, while for others Xanax might be administered in the second session. All parties involved in this experiment were not privy to whether an MRI session involved the placebo or the anti-anxiety drug. The team found that estimated E/I ratio markers were indeed lower after participants had ingested Xanax, compared with the placebo, and thus validating their technique. The study team then proceeded to use MRI brain scans to study brain development in a large sample of more than 1000 children, adolescents and young adults from Singapore and the United States of America. They discover that E/I ratios decrease with healthy development. Next, to establish the link between E/I ratios and cognitive function, the team divided participants, ranging from age 7 to 23, into high and low-performance groups based on their scores on certain cognitive tests. They found that the high performing groups had lower E/I ratios than their peers of the same age, suggesting that cognitive abilities improve as the E/I ratio matures during development.

Beyond their study on neurodevelopment, the team is keen on applying their approach to gain mechanistic insights into various brain disorders, by studying how the E/I ratio differs between healthy participants and patients battling mental disorders. The team also aims to study how the E/I ratio changes as people age, to gain insights into neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

Assoc Prof Thomas Yeo, who is also from the NUS College of Design and Engineering and Principal Investigator of this study, adds, “Our findings enhance our understanding of brain development and highlight potential avenues for understanding the emergence of psychopathology in youth. Hopefully, these findings will lead us to figure out which brain circuits get over-excited or over-inhibited easily, or pinpoint certain abnormal brain regions specific to an individual patient. This could shed more light on how medication or brain stimulation can be customised according to individuals, that would shape the course of treatment of brain disorders in the long run.”

This study is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, titled ‘In vivo whole-cortex marker of excitation-inhibition ratio indexes cortical maturation and cognitive ability in youth’.

Read more at www.sciencedaily.com

Children’s book giant Scholastic releases LGBT guide for K-12 teachers

Children’s book giant Scholastic releases LGBT guide for K-12 teachers

Tags: brainwashed , campus insanity , education system , gay mafia , gender , gender confused , gender issues , groomer , groomers , indoctrination , K-12 students , LGBT , LGBT guide , obey , public education , reading guide , Scholastic Children’s book publisher Scholastic, which is known for its book fairs in schools, has released a radical LGBT guide for K-12 teachers .

Doug Mainwaring of LifeSiteNews reported on the development: “Scholastic is unequivocal in its pro-LGBT stance, devoted to obscuring timeless truths about the complementarity of the sexes while undermining children’s healthy identities as boys and girls. In fact, Scholastic goes so far as warning against the communication of immutable truths about nature and science to children.”

“Books and literature are never neutral,” the publisher declares. “By engaging with queer literature for children and young adults, you are disrupting the status quo that implies being cisgender, heterosexual and allosexual are the default.”

The 12-page guide also asserts that the word “queer” is “an umbrella term to refer to the breadth” of so-called “LGBTQIA+ identities.” It adds: “Everyone benefits from books with authentic representation of queer identities.”

However, Mainwaring noted that the LGBT guide is “aimed at driving woke neo-Marxist ideology deep into kids’ hearts and souls through the trusted adults in their lives.”

“The guide isn’t aimed at converting those adults. It merely seeks to overwhelm them with misinformation normalizing the notion of fabricated sexual and gender identities for children. Scholastic wants the adults in children’s lives to push kids into embracing woke identities so that they can become part of any one of a growing number of new victim classes defined by sexual depravity and confusion.”

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The LifeSiteNews journalist ultimately denounced Scholastic for being “an unapologetic ally in a political movement with deep Marxist roots that wields identity politics as a weapon of mass destruction, undermining and obfuscating timeless truth and upending immutable definitions about marriage, man and woman, boy and girl, son and daughter.” Scholastic’s LGBT guide doesn’t even hide its radical agenda

Mainwaring wasn’t the only journalist who issued an open rebuke of the publisher’s LGBT guide for teachers. Sarah Holliday, reporter for the Washington Stand , voiced out her disdain in a June 4 piece .

“Scholastic’s 2024 [LGBT] guide … [is] full of extreme LGBT ideology, and it makes no attempt to mask the progressive agenda,” she wrote. Holliday also pointed out that Scholastic’s claim of everyone benefiting from LGBT children’s books is a blatant lie as they “target kids at an age where they don’t fully understand what reality is.”

According to the Stand reporter, the guide’s recommended books contain questionable content that promotes concepts like transgenderism; same-sex couples and parents; the concept of “friends with benefits”; traveling to a “spirit realm”; and taking relationships “to the next level” with sexual intercourse.

“These books expose innocent, young and vulnerable children to inappropriate, explicit content. No child needs to be reading a book about LGBT ideology, much less books discussing pornographic content.” (Related: “Queer” American Library Association head wants to destroy traditional family values by filling children’s minds with pornography depicting “gay people doing gay things.” )

David Closson, director of the Family Research Council’s (FRC) Center for Biblical worldview, told the Stand that Scholastic is “seeking to mainstream and normalize ideologies what would have made no sense to any previous generation.” He ultimately warned that the publishing giant “is seeking to sow confusion amongst society’s most vulnerable population, which is our children.”

“The newspaper-like Scholastic magazines we poured over as children is no longer the Scholastic school children and teachers today experience,” lamented Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for education studies at the FRC. ” Books designed to indoctrinate children with divisive or sexualized messaging are … dangerous.”

Closson ultimately exhorted parents, especially Christian ones, to be vigilant against this grooming happening in schools. He concluded: “I would especially argue that Christian parents have a discipleship responsibility to protect their children from these dangerous ideologies. If left unopposed, these ideologies will reap irreparable harm on younger generations and confuse them about some of the most basic concepts of human existence.”

Head over to Groomers.news for similar stories.

Watch this clip of a teacher unabashedly grooming her students through the LGBT books she proudly makes them read .

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How does oxygen depletion disrupt memory formation in the brain?

How does oxygen depletion disrupt memory formation in the brain?

The aLTP process is activated when the brain is deprived of oxygen When we learn something new, our brain cells (neurons) communicate with each other through electrical and chemical signals. If the same group of neurons communicate together often, the connections between them get stronger. This process helps our brains learn and remember things and is known as long-term potentiation or LTP .

Another type of LTP occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen temporarily – anoxia-induced long-term potentiation or aLTP . aLTP blocks the former process, thereby impairing learning and memory. Therefore, some scientists think that aLTP might be involved in memory problems seen in conditions like stroke.

Researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) and their collaborators have studied the aLTP process in detail. They found that maintaining aLTP requires the amino acid glutamate, which triggers nitric oxide (NO) production in both neurons and brain blood vessels. This process forms a positive glutamate-NO-glutamate feedback loop. Their study, published in iScience , indicates that the continuous presence of aLTP could potentially hinder the brain’s memory strengthening processes and explain the memory loss observed in certain patients after experiencing a stroke.

The brain’s response to low oxygen

When there is a lack of oxygen in the brain, glutamate, a neurotransmitter, is released from neurons in large amounts. This increased glutamate causes the production of NO. NO produced in neurons and brain blood vessels boosts glutamate release from neurons during aLTP. This glutamate-NO-glutamate loop continues even after the brain gets enough oxygen.

“We wanted to know how oxygen depletion affects the brain and how these changes occur,” Dr. Han-Ying Wang, a researcher in the former Cellular and Molecular Synaptic Function Unit at OIST and lead author of the study, stated. “It’s been known that nitric oxide is involved in releasing glutamate in the brain when there is a shortage of oxygen, but the mechanism was unclear.”

During a stroke, when the brain is deprived of oxygen, amnesia – the loss of recent memories – can be one of the symptoms. Investigating the effects of oxygen deficiency on the brain is important because of the potential medicinal benefits. “If we can work out what’s going wrong in those neurons when they have no oxygen, it may point in the direction of how to treat stroke patients,” Dr. Patrick Stoney, a scientist in OIST’s Sensory and Behavioral Neuroscience Unit and former member of the Cellular and Molecular Synaptic Function Unit, explained.

Brain tissues from mice were placed in a saline solution, mimicking the natural environment in the living brain. Normally, this solution is oxygenated to meet the high oxygen demands of brain tissue. However, replacing the oxygen with nitrogen allowed the researchers to deprive the cells of oxygen for precise lengths of time.

The tissues were then examined under a microscope and electrodes were placed on them to record electrical activity of the individual cells. The cells were stimulated in a way that mimics how they would be stimulated in living mice.

Stopping memory and learning activity

The scientists found that maintaining aLTP requires NO production in both neurons and in blood vessels in the brain. Collaborating scientists from OIST’s Optical Neuroimaging Unit showed that in addition to neurons and blood vessels, aLTP requires the activity of astrocytes, another type of brain cell. Astrocytes connect and support communication between neurons and blood vessels.

“Long-term maintenance of aLTP requires continuous synthesis of nitric oxide. NO synthesis is self-sustaining, supported by the NO-glutamate loop, but blocking molecular steps for NO-synthesis or those that trigger glutamate release eventually disrupt the loop and stop aLTP,” Prof. Tomoyuki Takahashi, leader of the former Cellular and Molecular Synaptic Function Unit at OIST, explained.

Notably, the cellular processes that support aLTP are shared by those involved in memory strengthening and learning (LTP). When aLTP is present, it hijacks molecular activities required for LTP and removing aLTP can rescue these memory enhancing mechanisms. This suggests that long-lasting aLTP may obstruct memory formation, possibly explaining why some patients have memory loss after a short stroke.

Prof. Takahashi emphasized that the formation of a positive feedback loop formed between glutamate and NO when the brain is temporarily deprived of oxygen is an important finding. It explains long-lasting aLTP and may offer a solution for memory loss caused by a lack of oxygen.

​ Journal

iScience DOI

10.1016/j.isci.2024.109515 Method of Research

Experimental study Subject of Research

Animal tissue samples Article Title

Anoxia-induced hippocampal LTP is regeneratively produced by glutamate and nitric oxide from the neuro-glial-endothelial axis Article Publication Date

19-Apr-2024

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The brain can store nearly 10 times more data than previously thought, study confirms

The brain can store nearly 10 times more data than previously thought, study confirms

The amount of information the brain can store is greater than once thought, new research suggests. The brain may be able to hold nearly 10 times more information than previously thought, a new study confirms.

Similar to computers, the brain’s memory storage is measured in “bits,” and the number of bits it can hold rests on the connections between its neurons, known as synapses. Historically, scientists thought synapses came in a fairly limited number of sizes and strengths, and this in turn limited the brain’s storage capacity. However, this theory has been challenged in recent years — and the new study further backs the idea that the brain can hold about 10-fold more than once thought.

In the new study, researchers developed a highly precise method to assess the strength of connections between neurons in part of a rat’s brain. These synapses form the basis of learning and memory , as brain cells communicate at these points and thus store and share information.

By better understanding how synapses strengthen and weaken, and by how much, the scientists more precisely quantified how much information these connections can store. The analysis, published April 23 in the journal Neural Computation , demonstrates how this new method could not only increase our understanding of learning but also of aging and diseases that erode connections in the brain..

Related: The brain has a ‘tell’ for when it’s recalling a false memory, study suggests

“These approaches get at the heart of the information processing capacity of neural circuits,” Jai Yu , an assistant professor of neurophysiology at the University of Chicago who was not involved in the research, told Live Science in an email. “Being able to estimate how much information can potentially be represented is an important step towards understanding the capacity of the brain to perform complex computations.”

In the human brain , there are more than 100 trillion synapses between neurons. Chemical messengers are launched across these synapses, facilitating the transfer of information across the brain. As we learn, the transfer of information through specific synapses increases. This “strengthening” of synapses enables us to retain the new information. In general, synapses strengthen or weaken in response to how active their constituent neurons are — a phenomenon called synaptic plasticity . Sign up for the Live Science daily newsletter now

Get the world’s most fascinating discoveries delivered straight to your inbox.

Contact me with news and offers from other Future brandsReceive email from us on behalf of our trusted partners or sponsorsBy submitting your information you agree to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and are aged 16 or over. Synapses facilitate the communication of information between neurons. However, as we age or develop neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s , our synapses become less active and thus weaken, reducing cognitive performance and our ability to store and retrieve memories.

Scientists can measure the strength of synapses by looking at their physical characteristics . Additionally, messages sent by one neuron will sometimes activate a pair of synapses, and scientists can use these pairs to study the precision of synaptic plasticity. In other words, given the same message, does each synapse in the pair strengthen or weaken in exactly the same way?

Measuring the precision of synaptic plasticity has proven difficult in the past, as has measuring how much information any given synapse can store. The new study changes that.

To measure synaptic strength and plasticity, the team harnessed information theory , a mathematical way of understanding how information is transmitted through a system. This approach also enables scientists to quantify how much information can be transmitted across synapses, while also taking account of the “background noise” of the brain.

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This transmitted information is measured in bits, such that a synapse with a higher number of bits can store more information than one with fewer bits, Terrence Sejnowski , co-senior study author and head of the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, told Live Science in an email. One bit corresponds to a synapse sending transmissions at two strengths, while two bits allows for four strengths, and so on.

The team analyzed pairs of synapses from a rat hippocampus , a region of the brain that plays a major role in learning and memory formation. These synapse pairs were neighbors and they activated in response to the same type and amount of brain signals. The team determined that, given the same input, these pairs strengthened or weakened by exactly the same amount — suggesting the brain is highly precise when adjusting a given synapse’s strength.

The analysis suggested that synapses in the hippocampus can store between 4.1 and 4.6 bits of information. The researchers had reached a similar conclusion in an earlier study of the rat brain, but at that time, they’d crunched the data with a less-precise method. The new study helps confirm what many neuroscientists now assume — that synapses carry much more than one bit each, Kevin Fox , a professor of neuroscience at Cardiff University in the U.K. who was not involved in the research, told Live Science in an email.

The findings are based on a very small area of the rat hippocampus, so it’s unclear how they’d scale to a whole rat or human brain. It would be interesting to determine how this capacity for information storage varies across the brain and between species, Yu said.

In the future, the team’s method could also be used to compare the storage capacity of different areas of the brain, Fox said. It could also be used to study a single area of the brain when it’s healthy and when it’s in a diseased state.

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An active brain can protect you from dementia, but stress might eat up your ‘cognitive reserve’ – new study

An active brain can protect you from dementia, but stress might eat up your ‘cognitive reserve’ – new study

Some people have the biological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s – proteins called amyloid and tau that gum up the brain – but have no disease symptoms. Researchers suggest that this could be because some people build up a “cognitive reserve” – the brain’s ability to find new ways to handle and overcome problems.

People with greater cognitive reserve seem to be better at staving off dementia symptoms, but when stress levels are high or persistent, they can weaken this reserve by making it less likely that they will socialise and less likely that they will be physically active – both of which are known to protect against dementia.

Stress itself has also been linked to faster cognitive decline and an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease .

In a recent study , we examined the relationship of cognitive reserve with cognition, and Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers – the previously mentioned tau and amyloid. We assessed whether the potential benefits of cognitive reserve vary by stress.

For our study, we looked at 113 participants from a memory clinic in Sweden. They were part of the Cortisol and Stress in Alzheimer’s Disease cohort study.

There are many ways cognitive reserve can be built up, such as staying mentally active throughout life. This could be by spending more years in formal education, playing bridge, learning a new language or having a complex job. Being physically active and maintaining healthy social relationships are important too.

To get an overall measure of cognitive reserve, we created an index by combining different information on the level of lifelong education participants had acquired, the complexity of the longest-held job, and engagement in physical, leisure activity and social interactions in later life. Stress

We also looked at participants’ stress levels. Both subjective and biological measures were taken.

Subjective stress was measured using a questionnaire. People rated how much they perceived their life to be uncontrollable and unpredictable, and whether or not they had too much to deal with during the previous month.

For an objective measure of stress, we used salivary cortisol , a stress hormone. Cortisol follows a rhythm. It typically increases rapidly as soon as we wake up, peaks 30 minutes later (known as “cortisol awakening response”), and then decreases during the remainder of the day. It is lowest at nighttime, as our body gets ready to sleep.

Salivary cortisol was taken at different times of the day to measure these patterns. Previous studies have shown that a disruption of the cortisol pattern may increase Alzheimer’s disease risk. Stress eats up your cognitive reserves. We found greater cognitive reserve improved cognition in memory clinic patients, but when we factored physiological stress (cortisol) into the equation, the beneficial association of cognitive reserve was weakened – in other words, cortisol seems to deplete cognitive reserve.

Interestingly, though, subjective stress did not change the relation in a similar manner. So subjective stress doesn’t seem to use up cognitive reserve in the same way as biological stress seems to. We don’t know why this is. It could be that subjective and biological measures assess different aspects of stress.

Participants who had a good balance of morning and evening cortisol levels improved their working memory, but this wasn’t true for those who had an imbalance. Working memory stores information for short periods but allows us to actively process and manipulate the information. For example, we rely on working memory to solve a maths problem.

If cortisol levels are too high in the evening, it affects sleep. And if they are too low in the morning, it can affect morning alertness. The right balance is essential.

In those with unusually high amounts of cortisol shortly after waking up, having a higher cognitive reserve was linked to increased tau – a protein that forms tangles in brain cells, thereby disrupting their function. It could be that tau protein accumulation might make a person more prone to be stressed or stress itself may bring about changes to tau . This might lower a person’s ability to control and avoid actions that support the development of cognitive reserve.

Higher chronic stress may lessen the cognitive advantages of stimulating activities and enriching experiences in later life. Adding stress management techniques, such as mindfulness and meditation into your daily routine may contribute to overall brain health and slow cognitive decline.

Read more at theconversation.com

Study reveals B VITAMINS may reduce glaucoma risk

Study reveals B VITAMINS may reduce glaucoma risk

Tags: b vitamins , eye diseases , eye health , glaucoma , goodhealth , macular degeneration , natural cures , natural health , natural medicine , nutrients , prevention , remedies , research , Riboflavin , risk , senses , supplements , supplements.report , thiamine , vitamin b1 , vitamin B2 , vitamins Glaucoma is a condition affecting the eyes that poses significant risks if left undetected and untreated. The condition is characterized by damage to the optic nerve that could potentially result in vision loss, often irreversible. Glaucoma becomes more prevalent with an aging population.

But recent studies have indicated that incorporating specific B vitamins into one’s diet may notably lower the likelihood of developing glaucoma. One such study published in Nature on April 12 looked into data from over 5,000 Americans aged 40 and older who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a comprehensive population-based study in the United States.

Its focus was on exploring whether the daily consumption of B vitamins, including B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cobalamin) and the synthetic form of B9 (folic acid), could mitigate the risk of developing glaucoma.

The study authors from China found that the intake of vitamins B1 and B2 was associated with a decreased glaucoma among men. They also found that vitamin B2 showed a particularly notable effect, linked to a 28 percent reduction in glaucoma risk per one-milligram increase of riboflavin. “In our study, the relationship between vitamin B1, B2 intake, and self-reported glaucoma seemed more pronounced in males,” the researchers wrote.

In contrast, women did not observe the same glaucoma risk reduction with increased B vitamin intake. They further observed that in females, the association between vitamin B2 intake and glaucoma risk was non-linear– indicating a decrease in risk with higher intake. (Related: B vitamins are CRUCIAL to heart health, brain health and eye health .)

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Ophthalmologist Dr. Alina Djougarian told the Epoch Times that the findings of the Nature study, which drew from the robust NHANES dataset and its substantial sample size, corroborated previous research linking B vitamins to a diminished risk of glaucoma.

Nevertheless, the eye doctor at Northwell Health in New York state, who was not involved in the study, emphasized the necessity for large-scale, prospective studies with extensive follow-up periods to elucidate the impact of B vitamin supplementation on glaucoma progression and its long-term effects on optic nerve health. Long-term research needed to confirm efficacy of B vitamins for glaucoma treatment

Djougarian pointed out, however, that the dosages of B vitamins used in recent studies about glaucoma surpass the recommended daily limits – potentially posing toxicity hazards. “It is important to consult a physician before taking supplements,” she advised.

Meanwhile, ophthalmologist and glaucoma specialist Dr. Robert A. Honkanen highlighted the ambiguous nature of using vitamins for eye ailments, describing it as a “gray zone.” Despite certain vitamins being recommended to prevent macular degeneration, he stressed the absence of validated, long-term research confirming their efficacy for glaucoma treatment.

“While some vitamins possess antioxidant or neuroprotective properties, the definitive evidence supporting their benefits remains elusive,” explained the eye doctor at Stony Brook Medicine, also in New York state.

Given this uncertainty, Honkanen suggested exercising caution and seeking medical advice to mitigate the risk of overdosing, especially considering the potential effects on blood clotting associated with other vitamins, such as vitamin E. He also underscored the importance of a healthy lifestyle, comprising habits like refraining from smoking, regular physical activity, and maintaining a balanced diet, which has been demonstrated to lower the risk of glaucoma development.

Head over to EyeHealth.news for similar stories.

Watch the following video about boosting your overall health with foods rich in B vitamins .

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B vitamins are CRUCIAL to heart health, brain health and eye health .

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Pill that study says can improve memory by 10% available soon

Pill that study says can improve memory by 10% available soon

Technician, Emily Naray at work in Green Bioactives lab. (Nigel Iskander via SWNS) By Stephen Beech via SWNS

A pill that can improve memory function by 10 percent is due to go on sale in Britain next month.

GBL-Memory, launched by Scotland-based Green Bioactives , includes two plant extracts which when combined and taken for a month can “significantly improve” the memory of older people, according to a new study.

The health supplement may be able to address the process of cognitive decline in an increasingly aging population, say Scottish scientists.

It contains the natural plant-derived molecules Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and L Theanine, which are found in as onion, chicory, garlic, asparagus and bananas.

The combination was found to assist memory in both animals and humans following clinical trials.

Previous research has shown that the risk of cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia doubles every five years after the age of 65. GBL’s memory product. (Nigel Iskander via SWNS) And up to one in 14 people aged 60 or older experience significant cognitive impairment.

The new study, published in the journal Food Science and Nutrition , was led by the late Gary Loake, Professor of Molecular Plant Sciences at the University of Edinburgh and Chief Scientific Officer at Green Bioactives.

It explored the effects of taking GBL-Memory, a supplement containing L-theanine and FOS, over a 30-day period.

A total of 120 healthy participants were divided into two groups, with half taking the supplement and half taking a placebo.

There were “significant” advancements of up to 10 percent in the supplement group, according to the findings.

Researchers used the Clinical Memory Scale (CMS) to assess the benefits of taking the supplement, which contributes to the improvement in total memory.

The CMS was adapted by the Institute of Psychology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and is composed of five tests.

The areas assessed were improvements in directed memory, associate learning, meaningless image recognition, graphic memory and portrait retrieval.

After the test, the original scale was converted into scores in relation to age and educational background, according to the guidelines.

Dr. Richard Stratton, a Welsh GP and Assistant Medical Director of the Powys Health Board says that mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is becoming a big issue among patients within his practice in Powys and nationwide. Morinda plant that has high Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) levels. (Nigel Iskander via SWNS) He said: “The issue of mild cognitive impairment is getting worse and is medically underreported

“Many people who experience mild cognitive impairment are often unaware of the issue – and friends and family accommodate their memory by filling in the gaps.

“This means that MCI is often not brought to the attention of medical professionals until the condition may have developed into something worse like dementia,

“In my experience as a GP, many people reaching the age of 70 will naturally experience MCI, but unfortunately there are no prescribable drugs we can offer unless medically diagnosed with dementia.”

Dr. Stratton added: “This paper showing improvement in animal and human memory is very encouraging and potentially offers people with MCI some hope of improving their memory.

“The interesting thing about this study is that because it’s a botanical formulation, safety issues are very unlikely and it offers people with memory issues something they can do to help the condition.

GBL-Memory is the first product launched by Green Bioactives and will be available in the UK next month.

It has already been launched in Germany, under the name Memocentrix, and will then be available in the UK from June through Known Nutrition. Dr David McElroy, CEO of Green Bioactives. (Nigel Iskander via SWNS) German man Rudi Neidhardt, who took GBL-Memory as part of an early trial, said: “I’ve noticed remarkable improvements in my daily life.

“I can now remember where I leave my wallet and keys, and I even recall names from my past with ease.

“Those changes are only the tip of the iceberg and it feels like my brain is working better than 10 years ago in all areas of unlocking stored memory.

“The clarity and confidence this brings is truly life-changing.”Dr. David McElroy, CEO of Green Bioactives , said: “We are thrilled to announce the successful clinical validation and launch of Green Bioactives’ innovative GBL-Memory comprising our proprietary blend of L-theanine and Fructooligosaccharides.”This milestone underscores our commitment to advancing natural, scientifically backed solutions for better health and well-being.”He added: “The significant improvements reported across diverse cognitive areas affirms the potential of GBL-Memory to make a meaningful positive impact on enhancing memory and to contribute towards improving overall brain function.”

Read more at www.bloomeradvance.com

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