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Professor of the Practice of Law University of Denver Sturm College of Law

The Professional Brain Newsletter Archives

Join the email list for a weekly nudge designed to help professionals enhance their brain health and mental strength.  

Exercise Improves Synaptic Integrity

Exercise is one of the most beneficial lifestyle activities to support brain health and cognition as we age.  Physical activity is associated with a reduction in Alzheimer’s disease dementia.  Researchers were interested in the relationship between exercise and synaptogenesis, the formation of synapses where information travels between brain cells, in

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Food & Life Expectancy

Understanding the health potential of food can enable people to increase their life expectancy. Researchers reviewed data from the 2019 Global Burden of Disease Study to compare the typical Western Diet to an Optimal Diet. An Optimal Diet had substantially higher intake than a typical diet of whole grains, beans,

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Stress & Heart Health

When Valentine’s Day approaches, we turn to matters of the heart. Conditions that contribute to heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, and lack of physical activity.  Researchers were interested in the impact of mental stress on risk for heart attack or death in people with heart

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7 Characteristics to Thrive

It’s winter and we are still in a pandemic.  Sometimes we feel like we are simply surviving, and far from thriving.  We may be languishing, which has been described as the absence of mental health, or a series of emotions including apathy, stagnation, disinterest, emptiness, numbness, and burnout.  Psychology research

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Cannabis Impairs Cognition, During and After Use

Cannabis is one of the most consumed psychoactive substances in the world, behind only alcohol and nicotine.  Adolescents and young adults use the most cannabis.  THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant.  Cannabis activates receptors in many parts of the thinking brain, including the hippocampus (memory processor),

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Building Cognitive Brain Reserve

The normal aging process causes brain decline, but some lifestyle practices can enhance cognitive brain reserve.  One way that researchers measure brain decline is by examining grey matter and white matter reduction.  The outer layer of the thinking brain is grey matter, made up of densely packed brain cells responsible

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Sugar & Mental Health

High sugar intake increases the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease, and it can negatively impact mental health.  People with mental health disorders consume on average two times as much sugar as healthy individuals.  New research indicates that high sugar intake can cause symptoms associated with the

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Tips for Successful Dry January, or Other New Year Goals

A new year is an opportunity to make progress on wellness goals.  This is the 10th year for the Dry January challenge. The Stages of Change Model, created by American psychologists James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente, includes the following stages for behavior change: Precontemplation, where the desire to change is

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Enriched Environments Improve Cognitive Resilience

An engaging environment improves learning, memory, the immune system, and even recovery from brain injury.  Intellectual stimulation, provided by a challenging profession, is one component of an enriched environment.  Other characteristics of an enriched environment include play, novelty, variety, and challenge.  Scientists believe this is due in part to the

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Set Short Deadlines to Avoid Procrastination

Procrastination causes stress and impedes performance.  Researchers examined the relationship between task completion and deadlines. Participants were invited to complete an online survey where completion resulted in a donation to charity.  There were 3 groups of participants, and they were given either 1 week, 1 month, or no deadline to

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Healthy Aging Tied to Motivation

Healthy aging is defined as the capacity to be and do what you have reason to value.  Motivation science investigates desires, dislikes, and fears, and how they are transformed into goals that are pursued or discarded over time.  Researchers at the Gerontological Society of America have proposed a theoretical model

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Sleep Deprivation Impairs Memory Formation

Sleep loss impairs memory and learning. In the hours following new learning, sufficient sleep is necessary to fully process new memories.  This is called memory consolidation. Sleep loss blocks new learning in mice.  When mice were taught a fear stimulus, to be afraid of something, normal sleep allowed that memory

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