Lighting Up the Brain

Lighting Up the Brain

Even family pets can inspire his inventive spirit. Whenever Boas’ wife traveled for work, she’d always call to make sure the cats were safely back inside for the night. Rather than policing the kitty door, Boas started puttering. He sketched out a system, built around an open-source microcontroller, to automatically log each cat’s return and report back. “He decided to build us, not a simple camera, but a sensor that detects and recognizes which cat is entering by the spectral signature of their fur,” says his wife, Maria Angela Franceschini . As Boas tinkered with his tabby tracker, he gently encouraged the pets in and out of the door—over and over again. “He terrorized my cats,” jokes Franceschini, also a leading neurophotonics researcher and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School . “And there were wires everywhere. You have no idea how many projects he starts.” “David is the pioneer of techniques and methods to use light to interact with the brain.” The Neurophotonics Center, the first facility of its kind in the United States and only the second in North America, pulls in 30 faculty from fields as diverse as biology, mechanical engineering, brain sciences, and nanomedicine. Its mission, says Boas, who formerly taught at Harvard Medical School and was the founder of the Optics Division of the Martinos Center at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), is to cultivate technologies that give researchers new insights into the brain. Most of Boas’ work is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and feeds into its ambitious BRAIN Initiative , a decade-long, multibillion-dollar project to speed the development and application of innovative neurotechnologies. Since opening in fall 2017, the BU Neurophotonics Center has started studies analyzing the brain as it recovers from a stroke, confronts autism, and slides into dementia. […]

Are you feeding your brain the right nutrients? Folate, vitamins B12, C, E, and D are crucial for mental health

Are you feeding your brain the right nutrients? Folate, vitamins B12, C, E, and D are crucial for mental health

( Natural News ) Feeding your brain the right nutrients, such as folate, and vitamins B12, C, E, and D are crucial for mental health . In a review, it was found that patients with the chronic mental disorder schizophrenia have low levels of these nutrients. A team of researchers from the University of Manchester , Belgium’s KU Leuven University , and the University of Western Sydney analyzed 28 study articles with a total of 2,612 participants. The research team discovered that low levels of the nutrients appeared to be present from the beginning of the illness and were associated with worsening of the disease. They saw a significant reduction in folate, vitamin D, and vitamin C in people with first-episode psychosis in comparison to the controls. In addition, they found that the difference in vitamin D levels between first-episode psychosis and controls was the most striking of all nutrients. One notable study found that differences in folate levels were because of genetic difference in folate metabolism instead of dietary influences. Two studies with small sample sizes revealed large deficiency of vitamin C in first-episode psychosis. This is parallel with data indicating low fruit and vegetable consumption in this population. In addition, a single randomized control trial in patients experiencing first antipsychotic treatment has shown 500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C each day significantly lessens psychiatric symptoms. Low levels of folate and vitamin B12 were also often seen in patients with schizophrenia, where worsening of symptom severity were also observed. Supplementation of B-vitamins may significantly reduce symptoms of schizophrenia and reverse some neurological deficits linked to the illness. Moreover, vitamins C and E – which are antioxidants – are also lacking in chronic schizophrenia. This potentially contributes to the increased oxidative stress seen in this population. Support our mission […]

National events boost city’s economy

National events boost city's economy

If you woke up this morning feeling a little smarter, a little sharper of mind, it could well be the city’s collective consciousness at work. Two national-scale brain-a-poloozas are underway at the same time in the city. Northern FanCon (NFC) is waving the flags of popular culture at CN Centre while the Canadian Association of Science Centres (CASC) conference is pushing the buttons of science, technology, engineering, art and math at The Exploration Place. These thinkfests are also lucrative for the local economy. It has triggered local money to be spent into the city’s economy, in the organizational and operational phases, and both also draw investment and human interaction in from outside communities. In both cases, international attention is now on Prince George. "Hosting a national conference versus a provincial conference means that delegates are coming from all across Canada and at times the U.S. and overseas," said Shirly Prokopchuk, the Meetings & Conventions manager for Tourism Prince George. "For the majority of these delegates, it will be their first time in Prince George. The first impression is what counts. On the tourism side, it is our job as ambassadors of Prince George to provide that friendly, caring and positive experience, so that they will want to come back. With this means more visitors to Prince George which equals a increase in economic impact." The location that hosts the most impactful conferences for the economy is the Prince George Civic & Convention Centre, due to its size and downtown location. It played a major role in the 2015 Canada Winter Games, the annual BC Natural Resources Forum, and the biennial Council of Forest Industries convention and the Canadian Bioeconomy Conference and Exhibition. CN Centre is another place that holds court for national gatherings, both sport and industrial. "Hosting conferences […]

9 Health Benefits Of Shankhpushpi, A Herbal Remedy

9 Health Benefits Of Shankhpushpi, A Herbal Remedy

This popular ayurvedic and unani remedy is derived from the plant of the Convolvulus pluricaulis . It draws its name from its flowers with their characteristic conch shape (shankha in Sanskrit). In some regions of the Indian subcontinent, the source plant for the shankhpushpi could be Evolvulus alsinoides Linn , Clitorea ternatea Linn , or Canscorade cussata Schult . If you took a quick look at the elegant but delicate flowers of the shankhpushpi plant, you wouldn’t guess how much the plant could do for you. But the herbal remedy that utilizes the root, leaves, and other parts of this plant can sort out a range of health problems and is great for your brain, nervous system, and heart. Here’s a detailed look. 1. Boosts Cognition And Memory As a memory-boosting remedy, shankhpushpi powder is combined with milk and honey and taken every morning for a few months or as prescribed by an ayurvedic practitioner. 1 Shankpushpi is also often given as tonics for brain development in children. Shankhpushpi is renowned as a brain tonic. Ayurveda counts shankhpushpi among the group of herbal remedies known as “medhya rasayana.” These remedies help boost cognition or the ability to learn and have drawn interest due to the absence of major adverse side effects associated with mainstream remedies. 2 Shankhpushpi is believed to help improve the intellect and boost your memory. Some animal studies have backed up these claims, with test animals showing improvement in memory and learning after being administered the plant extracts. 3 2. Has Digestive Benefits The herbal remedy has a range of digestive health benefits. On the one side, it can stimulate your appetite while, on the other, it can help with bowel problems like dysentery. 4 Shankhpushpi can also act as a laxative, expelling any gas in […]

5 Easy Remedies to Clear Brain Fog

5 Easy Remedies to Clear Brain Fog

At some point, most people experience the effects of brain fog. Although it isn’t a true medical diagnosis, it’s still very real and can be quite debilitating. Brain fog makes focus and concentration difficult. It can affect memory, mood, and can even cause confusion. While there can be many causes for it, here are the top five reasons and remedies for getting your brain back into shape. Sleep. The brain processes enough information each day to shut down a laptop in a week. With so much information flooding our brain, it’s only natural we might have trouble processing all of it. Sleeping is our body’s way of not only resting but flushing the neurotoxins which accumulate as a result of processing so much information. It’s kind of like how our computers need to clear the cache to run more effectively. When the cache doesn’t get cleaned regularly, the computer’s performance suffers. It’s the same with our brain. When we don’t get enough sleep, it can affect many systems in the body that regulate everything from mood to the ability to learn. There are several natural ways to help you get the sleep you need. Herbal supplements, fragrances, teas, are but a few. Other methods are singing bowls to clear your crown chakra, soothing music, nature sounds, and meditation. Water. Because the brain is 85% water, keeping it adequately hydrated is imperative to cognitive function. Even if the brain is only 2% dehydrated, a person could experience up to a 5% reduction in cognitive ability. This results in trouble focusing, short-term memory loss, and difficulty completing simple math problems like calculating how much time is left until those cookies are ready to come out of the oven. You may already be aware of the recommendation of eight glasses of water […]

Drugs That Cause Memory Loss (& what you can do)

Drugs That Cause Memory Loss (& what you can do)

There are many kinds of prescription drugs and OTC medications that cause memory loss. See if any drugs you take are on our lists. According to Harvard University, prescription drugs cause over 128,000 deaths per year in the United States. ( 1 ) Shockingly, this does not count deaths in nursing homes — an estimated additional 350,000 deaths annually. ( 2 ) Adverse drug reactions are now the fourth leading cause of death in the US and the fifth leading cause of death in Europe. ( 3 , 4 ) More emergency room visits result from prescription medications than from illicit drugs, alcohol, and recreational drug use combined. ( 5 ) It’s very clear that medications carry risks and one of the most common side effects is memory loss. The 3 Worst Categories of Drugs for Memory Loss If you are taking any prescription medication that is affecting your memory, it’s probably one of three kinds of drugs known to cause memory loss and other cognitive problems. Anticholinergics — The “Anti” Drugs If you take a drug that starts with “anti,” such as antihistamines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, antibiotics, antispasmodics, or antihypertensives, it’s likely that it will affect your acetylcholine level. Acetylcholine is the primary neurotransmitter of memory and learning. When you’re low in acetylcholine, you become forgetful, can’t concentrate, or can’t think of the right word. Acetylcholine deficiencies are associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s, and medications for these disorders work by preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain. ( 6 ) Drugs that block the action of acetylcholine are known as anticholinergics . Common side effects of anticholinergic drugs include: confusion blurred vision constipation dry mouth lightheadedness difficulty starting and continuing to urinate loss of bladder control Low acetylcholine can lead to a group of symptoms that resembles dementia […]

Breathe in, breathe out for a sharper mind

Breathe in, breathe out for a sharper mind

Breath-focused meditation and yogic breathing practices have numerous known cognitive benefits, including increased ability to focus. (Photo: Pixabay) Sharpen your mind with meditation and breathing exercises, say researchers. A new study by researchers at Trinity College Dublin explains for the first time the neurophysiological link between breathing and attention. Breath-focused meditation and yogic breathing practices have numerous known cognitive benefits, including increased ability to focus, decreased mind wandering, improved arousal levels, more positive emotions, decreased emotional reactivity, along with many others. To date, however, no direct neurophysiological link between respiration and cognition has been suggested. The research shows for the first time that breathing – a key element of meditation and mindfulness practices – directly affects the levels of a natural chemical messenger in the brain called noradrenaline. This chemical messenger is released when we are challenged, curious, exercised, focused or emotionally aroused, and, if produced at the right levels, helps the brain grow new connections, like a brain fertiliser. The way we breathe, in other words, directly affects the chemistry of our brains in a way that can enhance our attention and improve our brain health. The study, carried out by researchers at Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience and the Global Brain Health Institute at Trinity, found that participants who focused well while undertaking a task that demanded a lot of attention had greater synchronisation between their breathing patterns and their attention than those who had poor focus. The authors believe that it may be possible to use breath-control practices to stabilise attention and boost brain health. Lead author Michael Melnychuk explained: "Practitioners of yoga have claimed for some 2,500 years, that respiration influences the mind. In our study, we looked for a neurophysiological link that could help explain these claims by measuring breathing, reaction time, and brain […]

Researchers explain neurophysiological link between breathing and attention

Researchers explain neurophysiological link between breathing and attention

It has long been claimed by Yogis and Buddhists that meditation and ancient breath-focused practices, such as pranayama, strengthen our ability to focus on tasks. A new study by researchers at Trinity College Dublin explains for the first time the neurophysiological link between breathing and attention. Breath-focused meditation and yogic breathing practices have numerous known cognitive benefits, including increased ability to focus, decreased mind wandering, improved arousal levels, more positive emotions, decreased emotional reactivity, along with many others. To date, however, no direct neurophysiological link between respiration and cognition has been suggested. The research shows for the first time that breathing – a key element of meditation and mindfulness practices – directly affects the levels of a natural chemical messenger in the brain called noradrenaline. This chemical messenger is released when we are challenged, curious, exercised, focused or emotionally aroused, and, if produced at the right levels, helps the brain grow new connections, like a brain fertilizer. The way we breathe, in other words, directly affects the chemistry of our brains in a way that can enhance our attention and improve our brain health. The study, carried out by researchers at Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience and the Global Brain Health Institute at Trinity, found that participants who focused well while undertaking a task that demanded a lot of attention had greater synchronization between their breathing patterns and their attention, than those who had poor focus. The authors believe that it may be possible to use breath-control practices to stabilize attention and boost brain health. Michael Melnychuk, PhD candidate at the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity, and lead author of the study, explained: "Practitioners of yoga have claimed for some 2,500 years, that respiration influences the mind. In our study we looked for a neurophysiological link that could […]

Koios Subsidiary, Cannavated, To Develop Line Of Cannabis Functional Beverages

Koios Beverage Corp. (CSE: KBEV; OTC: SNOVF) (the “Company” or “Koios”), is pleased to announce the creation of Cannavated Beverage Co. (“Cannavated”), a wholly-owned subsidiary that will be among the first companies to produce cannabis-infused beverages. Koios brings its proven experience in the functional beverage industry to the growing cannabis sector. Cannavated drinks will have all of the nootropic health benefits of the winning Koios drink formula, and will target medical cannabis users, who have long called for more choice in the market. “The industry has proven it is going in the direction of cannabis-infused drinks,” said Chris Miller, CEO of Koios. “It’s healthier. Nobody wants to smoke anymore. The market for beverages is vast, especially when you consider the aging population and the demand for medical cannabis among seniors.” Cannavated’s longer-term plans include partnering with licensed producers, cultivators and other regulated cannabis companies who want to sell their own line of cannabis drinks. By entering into a “white labelling” turn-key agreement, companies will be able to sell Cannavated drinks under their own brand names and labels. “We have used hemp oil in our previous product line due it’s cognitive benefits and perfect balance of omega’s,” added Miller. “Using our existing knowledge and experience in the beverage space not only allows us to help licensed producers, but to also reach a wider audience of health-conscious consumers. We are especially excited about the possibility of combining CBDs with our proprietary nootropic blend to create a cannabis-based cognitive beverage.” The introduction of Cannavated enables Koios to target a whole new demographic, increasing its market reach with a broader and expanding base of consumers. Market demand is expected to grow beyond medical users once the Canadian government legalizes cannabis for recreational use, likely to happen later this year. The functional beverage market […]

Do you know why our eyesight is sharpest at dawn and dusk?

Do you know why our eyesight is sharpest at dawn and dusk?

( Natural News ) If you’ve ever been up at the crack of dawn or still outside when dusk falls, you may have noticed your sight is sharper than usual. A German study says this is because your brain changes the way it interprets visual signals during sunrise and sunset, according to a New Scientist article . Study author Christian Kell explained that our brain is always hard at work in the background. But come dawn or dusk, this continual background activity drops in the visual cortex, the parts of the brain that interpret visual information. Thanks to this reduction in signal-to-background noise ratio, the human visual cortex is able to focus on perceiving poorly-lit surroundings and objects. That’s why we can see better despite the low levels of light during those times. “You are sensitizing your brain. A weak signal coming in will have a higher signal-to-noise ratio,” explained Kell, a neuroscientist at the Goethe University . He and his colleagues determined this through an experiment with 14 men. They asked the participants to spot a faint, flashing orange cross against a pitch black background at different times of the day. They reported that the participants succeeded the most in their task at around 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. (Related: Prevent vision loss by protecting your heart with a healthy diet .) Ancient humans needed improved vision during dawn and dusk to avoid predators The Goethe University research team scanned the brains of the participants six times from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.. They found out that the brain shuts down background activity in the visual cortex during 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Get more news like this without being censored : Get the Natural News app for your mobile devices. Enjoy uncensored news, lab test results, videos, […]