The Professional Brain Newsletter Archives
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Our brains shrink with age and brain atrophy is correlated with risk of cognitive decline and dementia. In 2017, scientists discovered that indigenous Tsimane inhabitants of the Amazon in Bolivia have very low rates of cardiovascular disease in their old age. Researchers decided to examine their brain health in a
A study of 8,689 Australian men and women, average age 47 years, examined the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and perceived stress. Perceived stress indicates the impact of the interaction between a person and the environment, and it reflects the thoughts or feelings about how much stress a person
A recent clinical trial demonstrated that an 8-week diet and lifestyle program can reverse biological aging in otherwise healthy adult males, ages 50-72. The intervention included prescriptions for exercise, sleep, stress management, diet, and supplements. The interaction of our genetic makeup, our DNA, with our environment can change our health.
Researchers examined data from two studies of American adults to explore the relationship between exercise and a sense of purpose in life: 14,159 participants from the Health & Retirement Study, average age 68 years; and 4,041 participants from National Survey of Midlife Development in the US, average age 56 years.
The gut microbiome influences inflammation in our digestive and immune systems. Inflammation plays a role in heart disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease. Excess inflammation kills brain cells, weakens brain circuits, prevents the birth of new brain cells, and causes cognitive decline, anxiety, and depression. Researchers investigated
If you are a long-term dog owner or if you got a pandemic puppy, you might want to add your dog to the list of things you are grateful for. Research shows that interacting with dogs can downregulate the fight-or-flight stress response. Interacting with therapy dogs reduces stress hormones, lowers
Researchers are discovering that prebiotic and probiotic foods and supplements can improve some aspects of physical and mental health. The focus is on the relationship between bacteria in the gut, brain function, and behavior. There are neural, endocrine, and immune pathways that connect the gut and the brain, and these
Poor sleep quality can cause stress, impaired cognitive capacity, and weakened physical health. A meta-analysis of five studies investigating the impact of music therapy on the sleep quality of 288 adults, age 60 years and older, revealed that older adults who listened to music experienced significantly better sleep quality than
Wisdom, also known as sapience or sagacity, is the capacity to think and act using knowledge, experience, insight, understanding, and common sense. Its characteristics include self-knowledge, compassion, and unbiased judgment. Wisdom is associated with self-awareness, reflective thinking, positive emotions, empathy, and prosocial behavior. Wisdom is also associated with good physical
Today is Earth Day. Feeling connected to nature is associated with resilience and happiness, as well as decreased anxiety. Researchers evaluated how human’s relationship with the natural world influences psychological well-being during the natural disaster pandemic. They explored two worldviews: harmony-with-nature (connectedness) and mastery-over-nature (the right to control and exploit
The fight-or-flight stress response is designed to help us survive threats. Our body automatically scans our environment for threat and when detected, it reacts by marshalling the right resources for a response to the challenge. Our attitude about this process can make us more resilient. Understanding the stress response, and
Trauma, like long-lasting chronic stress, can have long-term impacts. The pandemic has traumatized all of us, but we are likely to have different experiences depending on our environmental sensitivity. A study of 906 adults found that 31% were highly-sensitive, 40% were medium-sensitivity, and 29% were resilient to events within our
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