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Study: Omega-3 fatty acids key to maintaining healthy brain function

Study: Omega-3 fatty acids key to maintaining healthy brain function

( Natural News ) Aging can be a scary part of life because it comes with an increased risk of health problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Although aging is inevitable, you can prevent many diseases and keep your brain healthy by exercising regularly and eating a well-balanced diet to ensure proper nutrition.

According to a recent study published in the journal Neurology , having healthy levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential nutrients found in abundance in fatty fish as well as some nuts and seeds, is key to maintaining healthy brain function as you age.

The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio , investigated the link between omega-3 fatty acid concentrations in red blood cells and brain structure as well as cognitive function in midlife. The researchers also looked at the difference in omega-3 fatty acid levels between carriers of the APOE-e4 gene – the strongest risk factor gene for Alzheimer’s disease – and non-carriers, and how this affected their cognitive abilities. (Related: Keeping an aging brain sharp and avoiding late-life depression required certain nutrients .)

Data gathered from more than 2,000 dementia- and stroke-free participants with a mean age of 46 years suggested that high omega-3 fatty acid concentrations are related to better brain structure and cognitive function.

In non-carriers of the APOE-e4 gene, a high omega-3 index or high levels of the omega-3, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), was linked to larger hippocampal volumes, while in carriers of the gene, high levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), also an omega-3, was linked to better abstract reasoning.

The study is one of the first to identify the relationship between omega-3 fatty acid levels and brain health in a younger population.

“The new contribution here is that, even at younger ages, if you have a diet that includes some omega-3 fatty acids, you are already protecting your brain for most of the indicators of brain aging that we see at middle age,” Claudia Satizabal, the study’s lead author, said in a statement.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be obtained largely from dietary sources like oily fish, omega-3-fortified foods and nutritional supplements. In the brain, DHA is incorporated into neuronal and glial cell membranes. Both DHA and EPA are metabolized into bioactive molecules involved in neurogenesis, neurotransmission and inflammation resolution.

In older adults, observational studies suggest that higher DHA and EPA intake may be protective against Alzheimer’s. Meanwhile, a study published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia linked pro-inflammatory diets , which are low in omega-3s, to smaller brain volumes and other markers of brain aging in the elderly. Omega fatty acids offer brain benefits

Omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids are all important fats you need to get from your diet. These healthy fats offer brain benefits, but it is important to get the right balance between them.

Nutritionists recommend eating at least two portions of fatty fish per week and using extra virgin olive oil for cooking to get a balanced ratio of omega fatty acids. They also advise reducing your consumption of vegetable oils to limit your intake of omega-6 fatty acids which, at high amounts, are said to be pro-inflammatory . Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats, a type of fat your body can’t make, which is why they are referred to as “essential fats,” or fats you need to get from foods. The three types of omega-3s that you need for a healthy brain are: Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which is needed for the production of eicosanoids that help reduce inflammation. EPA has also been found to help reduce symptoms of depression .

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which makes up about eight percent of your brain weight and is required for healthy brain development and function.

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is converted, albeit inefficiently, into EPA or DHA inside the body. ALA benefits the heart, immune system and nervous system.

According to studies, EPA and DHA function exclusively via cell membranes and generate metabolites that provide protection to brain cells . While DHA plays a role in cell membrane fluidity and the release of important brain chemicals, EPA influences behavior and mood.

In older adults, EPA and DHA supplementation is deemed necessary because of their significant effect on brain performance. As reported by a study published in the journal Nutrients , EPA can improve blood flow to the brain “globally and on demand in activated brain regions,” which benefits both mood and cognition.

Meanwhile, DHA is said to protect against memory decline by preventing inflammatory brain cell death – the pathological basis for Alzheimer’s disease. By ensuring adequate blood flow and preventing the inflammatory degeneration of brain cells, both EPA and DHA can help older adults maintain optimal brain performance.

EPA and DHA can be obtained directly from fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines. Vegans and vegetarians can get plenty of ALA from foods like chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, avocados and some leafy greens. To ensure quality and safety, avoid farmed salmon and always opt for organic produce. Alternatively, you can get omega-3s from fish oil and algal oil supplements . Omega-6 fatty acids

Omega-6 fatty acids are also essential polyunsaturated fats that mainly provide energy.

The most common omega-6 is linoleic acid, which the body can convert into longer omega-6 fats like arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid also produces eicosanoids, but unlike the eicosanoids derived from EPA, they are more pro-inflammatory , which is why experts don’t recommend high intakes of linoleic acid.

On the other hand, research has found that increasing your intake of the omega-6, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), can help reduce inflammation . A study published in the journal Pharmaceutical Biology also reported that GLA at low doses exerts an anti-aging effect on the brain. GLA protects against memory and learning impairments by inhibiting the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), a family of compounds believed to be responsible for the changes seen during aging as well as the development of many age-related morbidities.

However, unlike linoleic acid, GLA can only be obtained from a handful […]


Mike Adams interviews Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. – Border security, election integrity, America’s energy supply and healing America’s fractured society

Mike Adams interviews Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. – Border security, election integrity, America’s energy supply and healing America’s fractured society

( Natural News ) Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is very approachable and extremely well informed about a vast spectrum of topics. He’s running for President of the United States on the Democrat ticket, and the Democrat establishment is going all-out to silence him by cancelling all debates and trying to sweep Joe Biden back into the White House.

You can learn more about RFK Jr’s run for the Oval Office (and join his email list) at

Although RFK and myself don’t agree on everything, I consider him to be a true American hero for his courage and perseverance in exposing the covid / vaccine / Fauci fraud.

He’s also a healer who, I believe, can help bring America back together from its current fractured status, where Big Government, Big Tech and the fake news media have worked incessantly to disrupt and destroy America from within.

I have publicly stated that I’m considering temporarily switching my party affiliate to Democrat solely to vote for RFK Jr. during the Democrat primary process, should the DNC even allow such a process to occur (never trust the establishment to follow the rules).

Interestingly, the DNC is trying to railroad RFK in much the same way the RNC is trying to railroad DJT. Both establishment parties despise real heroes like RFK or DJT , and they want them both to be silenced and shut out of the political process.

That’s why we must work hard to listen to these courageous men and share their message with others. My full interview with RFK Jr. is below, and I am publicly inviting Team Trump to join me for an interview about the Trump candidacy.

Here’s what I cover in today’s Brighteon Broadcast News, which includes the RFK interview:

– Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. discuss border security, election integrity, voter ID and more
– Covers the investigation and PROSECUTION of covid officials who committed fraud
– RFK achieves stunning CROSSOVER support from Republicans and conservatives
– Adams invites Trump team for an interview
– Mass homelessness in California getting WORSE as Biden’s economy crumbles
– Spike protein damages the BRAIN, explaining why vax booster proponents are so dumbed down
– California black groups demand $200 million in reparations payments to EACH black person
– Colorado bureaucrat wants to confiscate money from WHITE-owned businesses to subsidize BLACK businesses
– Interview with Paul Wittenberger, filmmaker and producer of “Fluoride – Poison on Tap” documentary

iTunes podcast: Discover more interviews and podcasts each day at:

Follow me on: (my breaking news gets posted here first)



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Twitter: @MikeAdamsHR


Parler: Rumble: BitChute: Clouthub: Join the free email newsletter to stay alerted about breaking news each day.Download my current audio books — including Ghost World, Survival Nutrition, The Global Reset Survival Guide and The Contagious Mind — at: Download my new audio book, “Resilient Prepping” at – it teaches you how to survive the total collapse of civilization and the loss of both the power grid and combustion engines.


Effect of cannabis use on the brain – Study: Adolescent cannabis use in US increased by 245% over 20 years

Study: Adolescent cannabis use in US increased by 245% over 20 years
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Carrot carotenoids found to enhance and protect eye health

Carrot carotenoids found to enhance and protect eye health

( Natural News ) Did you know that the retina of the eye is an extension of the human brain? And did you know that carrots, eggs, and leafy greens are loaded with nutrients that help protect and promote optimal eye health?

Of the 850 known carotenoids in the food supply, just three of them – lutein, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin – are capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. And it is these three that Dr. Joseph Mercola says are critical for producing macular pigment in your eyes.

It appears as though lutein in particular accumulates throughout the body, which draws from these stores to promote vision, cognitive function, and more. The others are important, too, and it is critical for you to understand that you must obtain these carotenoids from healthy foods because they do not occur naturally in the body.

Lutein has a protective, anti-inflammatory effect on the body. It is available both in supplement form as well as in dark leafy greens, avocados, egg yolks, tomatoes, and carrots, among other foods.

“Lutein concentrates in your macula – the part of your retina responsible for central vision,” Mercola writes. “Along with zeaxanthin and mesa-zeaxanthin (a metabolite of lutein), these three carotenoids form the retinal macular pigment, which not only is responsible for optimizing your visual performance but also serves as a biomarker for the risk of macular diseases.”

“Lutein is also found in the lens, where it helps protect against cataracts and other age-related eye diseases. Among carotenoids, lutein is the most efficient at filtering out blue light – the type that comes from cellphones, computers, tablets, and LED lights.”

(Related: Back in 2010, researchers found that fruit and vegetable carotenoids help to protect women against ovarian cancer.) Lutein deficiency linked to dementia, brain degradation

Blue light, in case you are unfamiliar with its detriments, is terrible for your eyes. It creates oxidative stress that can increase the risk of cataracts and other forms of macular degeneration and vision loss.

Lutein acts as a type of shield to protect your eyes against blue light damage, which is becoming even more of a problem as cities replace their orange-tinted street lights with blue light-emitting LEDs, which are white-looking, bright, and heavily straining on the eyes.

“As the peak wavelength of lutein’s absorption is around 460 nm which lies within the range of blue light, lutein can effectively reduce light-induced damage by absorbing 40 percent to 90 percent of incident blue light depending on its concentration,” reported a team of scientists out of Harvard Medical School and The University of Hong Kong , writing in the journal Nutrients .

“The outer plexiform layer of the fovea, where the majority of axons of rod and cone photoreceptor cells are located, is the retinal layer having the highest density of macular carotenoids including lutein. Hence the photoreceptors are protected against photo-oxidative damages from blue light.”

Another thing lutein does is protect the brain against dementia and other forms of degradation. It likewise suppresses the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF, which stimulates the formation of blood vessels that are capable of being upregulated in many types of cancerous tumors.

“As inflammation and abnormal angiogenesis in retinal vasculature are major pathogenic mechanisms of many ocular diseases, lutein’s functions in suppressing inflammatory response and VEGF expression make it effective in reducing the severity of these diseases,” the aforementioned research team further noted in their research.

The moral of the story, here, is to eat more carrots, dark leafy greens, pastured eggs, and other carotenoid-rich foods, which may help to protect your eyesight, not to mention the protective effects it offers in cancer prevention.

To keep up with the latest news about natural health and wellness, be sure to check out .

Sources for this article include:


You Can Improve Your Brain Health As You Age: Promising Research Tells Us How

You Can Improve Your Brain Health As You Age: Promising Research Tells Us How

he saying that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” can be (wrongfully) applied to humans, and with said application comes a lot of damaging—not to mention false—presumptions.

Researchers like Rachel Wu et al. , who recently published findings of two studies from the peer-reviewed journal Aging and Mental Health , challenge this stereotype with data. According to the research conducted in each of these studies, learning new things as you age is great for your health— especially when it comes to your brain.

The studies conducted with adults over the age of 55 found that those who engaged in learning multiple skills simultaneously, such as learning a new language, photography, and how to use an iPad, showed significant improvement in cognitive functioning. (The approach was to select activities that cater to diverse interests and hold practical value in daily life, such as language learning, art, and music composition.) The studies conducted with adults over the age of 55 found that those who engaged in learning multiple skills simultaneously (such as learning a new language, photography, and how to use an iPad) showed significant improvement in cognitive functioning. What’s more, the results of this research specifically showed that learning multiple new things at once led to higher cognitive scores both three, six, and 12 months after the study had taken place. (I.e. participants showed lasting improvement up to an entire year later.) The participants scored cognitively similar to undergraduate college students who similarly been absorbing high amounts of information simultaneously.

As mentioned in the study’s discussion, “[These] findings are atypical compared to prior research, although they were predicted based on our lifespan theoretical framework.” Meaning the results of much of the prior research on cognitive functioning over time tells a different story, generally emphasizing the ways in which a person’s brain health stays the same or diminishes the same or decline over time. How learning impacts brain health as you age

“Neuroplasticity, the capacity of the human brain to adapt and learn new skills, remains an essential factor in promoting cognitive resilience and maintaining overall cognitive well-being throughout one’s life,” says Elisabeth Bahr, OTD, MS, OTR, a doctor of occupational therapy. Learning new skills simultaneously creates new neural pathways in the brain, so it makes sense that it would engage more parts of your brain than going about life as usual.

According to Dr. Bahr, when you think about learning multiple things at once, you also have to use parts of your brain that structure your time, remember items that you need, plan where and when you need to be, organize your memory of each subject, and build upon that knowledge. “The study focused on executive function, which encompasses working memory and cognitive control, and verbal episodic memory, both of which can be impacted by the natural aging process,” she says. The fact that older adults scored cognitively similarly to undergraduate students is promising, especially when considering the cognitive challenges older folks can face with age.

Related Stories ‘I’m a Brain Health Coach, and This Is Why Gaming Is One… Dr. Bahr adds that there are a lot of encouraging details about this (albeit small) study, and that those interested in optimizing their brain functioning as they age by engaging in new activities might considering seeking guidance from an occupational therapist. “They’re professionals in helping people participate, regain, or strategize accommodations they might need to incorporate into their lifestyle after an injury or to cope with an existing disability,” she says. What to know before diving ‘head first’

Some folks may need to proceed with caution when it comes to pursuing rehabilitative activities or cognitively engaging activities. “Namely, it’s important to have clearance from a care provider if you or a loved one is thinking about engaging in something similar and there is any injury, traumatic brain injury, cognitive condition, or other extenuating circumstance that could worsen as a result of increased exertion of mind or body,” says Dr. Bahr. “Namely, it’s important to have clearance from a care provider if you or a loved one is thinking about engaging in something similar and there is any injury, traumatic brain injury, cognitive condition, or other extenuating circumstance that could worsen as a result of increased exertion of mind or body,” says Dr. Bahr. It can also be emotionally challenging to embark on a journey of learning new things—and frustration can get in the way of committing to a practice long-term. Getting a good night’s sleep after an intensive learning experience can help the brain commit the lesson or experience to memory better than without quality sleep. “It’s important to prioritize shuteye following intensive learning sessions, as this enhances memory retention and the consolidation of new information,” says Dr. Bahr.

Sometimes it can feel silly to get super into a new hobby, or a few—but this research suggests there’s merit to retaining curiosity and a desire to learn new things. This is your sign to consider taking that extra trip to the art supply store or finally trying out water aerobics…a healthy brain loves having fun, after all.

The Wellness Intel You Need—Without the BS You Don’t


A Healthy Gut Might Mean a Happy Brain

A Healthy Gut Might Mean a Happy Brain

Cognitive and emotional centers in the brain are linked in two-way communication with our gut via the gut-brain axis (GBA).

Decreased diversity in the microbiome is associated with physical and psychological dysfunction.

Researchers found that the diversity of bacteria in the gut biome negatively correlated with using suppression as an emotion regulation strategy.

Suganya, Kanmani, and Byung-Soo Koo, CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons Have you ever had a “gut feeling,” an intuition based on something other than logic and reason, perhaps based on emotion? The phrase “gut feeling” became an idiomatic expression because most people report that they literally feel it in their gut. In fact, the cognitive and emotional centers in the brain are linked in two-way communication with our gut via what researchers call the “ gut-brain axis ” (GBA) (Carabotti et al., 2015). The figure in this post shows this GBA and how the brain and gut can influence one another.

Each of us has a unique microbiome , defined as the community of microorganisms that live either in us (our intestines) or on our skin. Some of these bacteria have beneficial effects on our bodies and minds. Others are associated with inflammation and disease. Both types of bacteria play an important role in our physical health and psychological well-being. We can influence the composition of the microbiome community through our diet and dietary supplements like “probiotics.”

A probiotic is a food or a supplement that contains bacteria and yeasts that help the body maintain a healthy and diverse gut microorganism community. The Gut Microbiome and Our Immune System

Decreased diversity in the microbiome is associated with physical and psychological dysfunction. Researchers estimate that 70 to 80 percent of our immune system resides in the gut, meaning that microorganisms that live in the gut are in contact with, and can influence, the immune system all the time. Rachelshoemaker, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons There is a link between gut dysbiosis (an imbalance in the composition of the bacteria or a lack of diversity in that community of microorganisms) and physical problems such as diabetes, colorectal cancer, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and Celiac disease (Lozupone et al., 2012), as well as mental health problems like depression and anxiety (Shoubridge et al., 2022).

Research suggests that there might be a link between the well-known variability in response to antidepressant drug treatment with drugs like SSRIs (SSRI medication does not effectively treat as many as a third of depressed individuals) and the effects of these drugs on the community of bacteria in the gut. Researchers are now exploring the possibility that knowledge of the gut microbiome might help predict who will benefit from a specific drug treatment.

article continues after advertisement Gut Feelings and Emotional Coping Strategies

Ke et al. (2022) found a link between positive and negative emotions and the gut biome and an association between the diversity of the biome, and two cognitive coping strategies we might employ to help regulate our emotional responses.

These researchers asked a large sample of women (n = 206) who were already taking part in another, larger study to complete a series of surveys measuring their emotional responses, positive (feeling happy and hopeful about the future) and negative (feeling sad, hopeless, or lonely ). They also asked how the women coped with their emotional responses.

The researchers were particularly interested in how the women used cognitive reappraisal, a coping strategy involving changing one’s assessment of the emotion-provoking situation, or suppression (inhibiting behaviors) associated with emotion like laughing or crying or keeping information about one’s emotional responses from other people. Cognitive reappraisal is a healthy response, while suppression is generally maladaptive and is associated with increased inflammation levels and stress . The participants completed the surveys twice, one year apart. They also collected stool samples four times in the period between surveys.

They found that the diversity of bacteria in the gut biome negatively correlated with using suppression as an emotion regulation strategy. As suppression used as a coping strategy increased, gut biome diversity decreased. Happier, more positive emotions were associated with lower levels of bacteria previously reported to be linked with markers of ill health like increased inflammation and impaired insulin sensitivity. More negative emotions were associated with higher levels of these bacteria.

Our gut feelings may well provide important information about our psychological and physical health that can help doctors design effective treatment plans.

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Carabotti, M., Scirocco, A., Maselli, M.A., and Severi, C. (2015). The gut-brain axis: Interactions between enteric microbiota, central and enteric nervous systems. Annals of Gastroenterology, 28 (2), 203- 209.

Lozupone, C.A., Stombaugh, J.I., Gordon, J.I., Jansson, J.K., and Knight, R. (2012). Diversity, stability and resilience of the human gut microbiota, Nature, 489 (7415), 229-230.

Shoubridge, A.P., Choo, J.M., Martin, A.M., Keating, D.J., Wong, M-L., Licinio, J., and Rogers, G.B. (2022). The gut microbiome and mental health: Advances in research and emerging priorities. Molecular Psychiatry , 27 , 1908-1919.

Ke, S., Guimond, A-J., Tworoger, S.S., Huang, T., Chan, A.T., Liu, Y-Y., and Kubzansky, L.D. (2023). Gut feelings: Associations of emotions and emotion regulation with the gut microbiome in women. Psychological Medicine , 10.1101/2022.05.26.493641


STUDY: Short-term face mask use causes carbon dioxide poisoning – cognitive impairment, testicular damage, stillbirth and impaired memory

STUDY: Short-term face mask use causes carbon dioxide poisoning – cognitive impairment, testicular damage, stillbirth and impaired memory

( Natural News ) Studies continue to show that face masks provided no protection against covid-19. Now, a new peer-reviewed study out of Germany finds that short-term face mask use causes carbon dioxide poisoning, leading to testicular dysfunction in young men, increased risk of stillbirth for pregnant women, cognitive decline in children, as well as impaired memory, anxiety, and other serious health problems. Masks force a person to inhale unsafe levels of CO2, synthetic microfibers, carcinogenic compounds, volatile organic compounds, and microorganisms that have adapted to the moist environment inside the mask. The researchers warn that face masks suffocate people in their own exhaled waste, increasing CO2 levels in their blood while driving up blood pressure and inflammatory markers.

The study, Possible toxicity of chronic carbon dioxide exposure associated with face mask use, particularly in pregnant women, children, and adolescents was published in the peer reviewed journal, Helion . Face masks spike CO2 blood levels, destroying childhood brain development, depleting men’s sperm

Fresh air typically contains just .04% CO2. When a person puts on a mask, they are exposed to low level carbon dioxide poisoning in the range of 1.4–3.2%. In the study, CO2 concentrations as low as .3% were associated with significant brain damage, impaired memory, and increased anxiety in children. The study found that just five minutes of mask wearing can expose an individual to dangerous CO2 levels – laying the groundwork for serious health issues and developmental disorders in children.

In one study , 0.3% CO2 exposure on adolescent brain neurons “can cause destruction in the gyrus dentatus and the prefrontal cortex with decreased IGF-1 levels resulting in less activity, increased anxiety and impaired learning and memory.”

The concentration of CO2 in the blood has an important influence on intra- and extracellular pH. When CO2 passes quickly through the cell membranes, it goes on to form carbonic acid with H2O, causing the release of H + ions, leading to acidosis and the die-off of neurons.

When male mice are exposed to 2.5% CO2 for four hours, their testicular cells and sperm are destroyed. For humans, this exposure is equal to .5% CO2 — a common exposure during mask mandates. In the study, four hours of low-level CO2 exposure causes spermatid and Sertoli cells in testes to self-destruct, causing streaking & vacuolization of the tubular components and consequentially no maturation of the spermatids. CO2 poisoning of pregnant women causes birth defects, higher risk of stillbirth

Carbon dioxide exposure can cause oxidative stress and the formation of lipid hydroperoxides that cause DNA fragmentation and subsequent mitochondrial damage and cell death. Pregnant rats exposed to 3% CO2 were more likely to suffer stillbirths and have offspring with birth defects. This is equal to 0.8 percent CO2 exposure for humans – a common exposure for pregnant women who worked under mask mandates.

Before widespread mask use, the stillbirth rate in humans was 7 per 1000 births. During the masking pandemonium, stillbirths increased to 21 per 1,000 births. A prominent UK hospital reported a fourfold increase in stillbirths during the covid-19 scandal, and carbon dioxide poisoning was a major contributing factor. The damage was also observed in Australia , where people were forced to wear masks for years. These increase in stillbirths was not observed in Sweden , where there were no mask mandates.

“Circumstantial evidence exists that popular mask use may be related to current observations of a significant rise of 28 percent to 33 percent in stillbirths worldwide,” the German researchers concluded.

Forceful and coercive face mask policies continue to violate the sovereign rights and health of the individual, weakening their immune system and setting up their oxygen-deprived cells for oxidative damage, inflammation, and severe disease. Pregnant women and their fetuses were directly harmed by policies of forced CO2 poisoning. Forced masking of children caused negative psychological effects and additional physiological damage to their brains, their immune system, and their development.

Sources include: [PDF]


Music therapy may help children with brain injuries: Research

Music therapy may help children with brain injuries: Research

Representative Image . Image Credit: ANI New pilot research has found that a music therapy strategy may help youngsters with severe acquired brain injuries (ABI) meet their walking recovery goals. The first of its kind research project suggests rhythmic auditory stimulation could augment the physiotherapy ordinarily offered to children and young people who sustain a severe acquired brain injury – of whom there are believed to be around 350 each year in the UK.

The practice aims to improve walking speed and quality of movement by using rhythms to provide cues for patients’ stepping rate. In establishing neurological connections between the auditory prompts and physical movements, the technique has been shown to facilitate smoother and more coordinated walking patterns. While the potential of rhythmic auditory stimulation has never before been explored in the context of treating children with ABIs, the approach has been found to improve walking speed among people who have suffered a stroke, those living with Parkinson’s disease and, more recently, children with cerebral palsy.

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No compatible source was found for this media. All participants in the pilot study, published in the International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation and involving a music therapy expert from Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), showed improvement as a result of rhythmic auditory stimulation being added to their rehabilitation programme, with the most marked advances evident in walking quality. In light of these findings, the study’s authors believe adding the technique to other interventions could help improve the outlook for children with ABIs.

Dr Jonathan Pool, Senior Research Fellow at Anglia Ruskin University’s Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research and an author of the study, said: “This is the first study to look at rhythmic auditory stimulation for children and young people with acquired brain injury. “As a pilot study, it provides initial evidence of the effect of music on gait rehabilitation for this population and has revealed insights into some of the issues for researchers in this area.

“While showing variation across participants in the benefits of rhythmic auditory stimulation, the study findings are encouraging and indicate that the detailed assessment of quality of movement should be considered alongside other tests when measuring functional gains in gait rehabilitation.” (ANI)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


Biological Brains Outpace AI in Learning, Thanks to Structured Exploration

Biological Brains Outpace AI in Learning, Thanks to Structured Exploration

Summary: When it comes to rapid learning, the biological brain seems to have an edge over current AI technology.

Scientists worked with different models of reinforcement learning to understand the algorithms that the brain uses to learn. They found that the directed exploration used by animals makes learning more efficient and requires less experience, unlike artificial agents that explore randomly.

Key Facts:

> The study suggests that animals’ directed exploration makes learning more efficient, which could help build better AI agents that can learn faster and require less experience.

AI agents need a lot of experience to learn something and explore the environment thousands of times, whereas a real animal can learn an environment in less than ten minutes.

The research findings emphasize the need for more efficient learning algorithms that can explain the behavior of animals in exploring and learning their spatial environment.

Source: Sainsbury Wellcome Center

Neuroscientists have uncovered how exploratory actions enable animals to learn their spatial environment more efficiently. Their findings could help build better AI agents that can learn faster and require less experience.

Researchers at the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre and Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at UCL found the instinctual exploratory runs that animals carry out are not random. These purposeful actions allow mice to learn a map of the world efficiently.

The study, published today in Neuron , describes how neuroscientists tested their hypothesis that the specific exploratory actions that animals undertake, such as darting quickly towards objects, are important in helping them learn how to navigate their environment.

“There are a lot of theories in psychology about how performing certain actions facilitates learning. In this study, we tested whether simply observing obstacles in an environment was enough to learn about them, or if purposeful, sensory-guided actions help animals build a cognitive map of the world,” said Professor Tiago Branco, Group Leader at the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre and corresponding author on the paper.

In previous work, scientists at SWC observed a correlation between how well animals learn to go around an obstacle and the number of times they had run to the object. In this study, Philip Shamash, SWC PhD student and first author of the paper, carried out experiments to test the impact of preventing animals from performing exploratory runs.

By expressing a light-activated protein called channelrhodopsin in one part of the motor cortex, Philip was able to use optogenetic tools to prevent animals from initiating exploratory runs towards obstacles.

The team found that even though mice had spent a lot of time observing and sniffing obstacles, if they were prevented in running towards them, they did not learn. This shows that the instinctive exploratory actions themselves are helping the animals learn a map of their environment.

To explore the algorithms that the brain might be using to learn, the team worked with Sebastian Lee, a PhD student in Andrew Saxe’s lab at SWC, to run different models of reinforcement learning that people have developed for artificial agents, and observe which one most closely reproduces the mouse behaviour. There are two main classes of reinforcement learning models: model-free and model-based. Credit: Neuroscience News There are two main classes of reinforcement learning models: model-free and model-based. The team found that under some conditions mice act in a model-free way but under other conditions, they seem to have a model of the world. And so the researchers implemented an agent that can arbitrate between model-free and model-based. This is not necessarily how the mouse brain works, but it helped them to understand what is required in a learning algorithm to explain the behaviour.

“One of the problems with artificial intelligence is that agents need a lot of experience in order to learn something. They have to explore the environment thousands of times, whereas a real animal can learn an environment in less than ten minutes.

“We think this is in part because, unlike artificial agents, animals’ exploration is not random and instead focuses on salient objects. This kind of directed exploration makes the learning more efficient and so they need less experience to learn,” explains Professor Branco.

The next steps for the researchers are to explore the link between the execution of exploratory actions and the representation of subgoals. The team are now carrying out recordings in the brain to discover which areas are involved in representing subgoals and how the exploratory actions lead to the formation of the representations.

Funding: This research was funded by a Wellcome Senior Research Fellowship (214352/Z/18/Z) and by the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre Core Grant from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and Wellcome (090843/F/09/Z), the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre PhD Programme and a Sir Henry Dale Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust and Royal Society (216386/Z/19/Z). About this AI and neuroscience research news

Author: April Cashin-Garbutt
Source: Sainsbury Wellcome Center
Contact: April Cashin-Garbutt – Sainsbury Wellcome Center
Image: The image is credited to Neuroscience News

Original Research: Open access.
“ Mice identify subgoal locations through an action-driven mapping process ” by Sebastian Lee et al. Neuron


Mice identify subgoal locations through an action-driven mapping process Highlights

Interruption of obstacle-directed runs during exploration prevents subgoal learning Subgoal selection during escape depends on the mouse’s position in the environment A dual-system reinforcement learning agent replicates the mouse behavior Summary Mammals form mental maps of the environments by exploring their surroundings. Here, we investigate which elements of exploration are important for this process. We studied mouse escape behavior, in which mice are known to memorize subgoal locations—obstacle edges—to execute efficient escape routes to shelter.To test the role of exploratory actions, we developed closed-loop neural-stimulation protocols for interrupting various actions while mice explored. We found that blocking running movements directed at obstacle edges prevented subgoal learning; however, blocking several control movements had no effect.Reinforcement learning simulations and analysis of spatial data show that artificial agents can match these results if they have a region-level spatial representation and explore with object-directed movements. We conclude that mice employ an action-driven process for integrating subgoals into a hierarchical cognitive map.These […]


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