Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from September, 2017

She Squats Bro

The research team of Dr. Claire J. Steves, Dr. Ted Spector and others at Kings College in London are doing some amazing research on aging (and other important research as well). Much of that examines aging effects on the brain. One of the research studies involved exercise and cognitive decline. Here is a quote from that research: “A striking protective relationship was found between muscle fitness (leg power) and both 10-year cognitive change… and subsequent total grey matter”. In other words, the women with better leg strength and fitness showed less cognitive decline as they aged.
As we continue to note, the link between physical fitness, exercise and so on to maintaining a healthy brain is well known. And, we’ve seen studies where older adults improved cognition with dancing, which obviously requires use of leg muscles. (See Dance Your *** Off; Grow a Bigger Brain). But this is the first I recall where leg muscles in particular were noted, and the first where a muscle group is sho…

Home Alone Wasn't Just Bad For Macaulay Culkin

What everyone ought to know about loneliness.


If you maintain regular interaction with friends and family, everything in your life will be better. If you don’t, odds of bad things, such as cognitive decline and premature death, increase.
Isolation and Loneliness Can Be Deadly From the UCLA Healthy Years Newsletter: Prolonged loneliness and isolation can have serious effects on your health. It can increase bouts of Depression and sadness, disrupt sleep, elevate blood pressure and raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Research has shown that extreme loneliness can increase your chances of early death by 14 percent. In fact, loneliness is put in the same risk category as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and has twice the impact on premature death as does obesity.
The University College London (UCL) and Manchester University have been conducting an ongoing multi-year study called ELSA -English Longitudinal Study of Aging. They reported this finding:                 Social isolation was …

Hang Out & Do Stuff With Friends: Live Longer & Healthier

If you maintain regular interaction with friends and family, everything in your life will be better.
Angela Troyer, PhD and Professional Practice Chief of Psychology and the program director of neuropsychology and cognitive health at Baycrest Hospital in Toronto, Nicole Anderson PhD and Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Psychology at the University of Toronto and Kelly Murphy PhD, Clinical Neuropsychologist at Baycrest and Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto wrote Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Guide to Maximizing Brain Health and Reducing Risk of Dementia.
In synthesizing some of their work, Professor Troyer wrote this: “Did you know that connecting with friends may also boost your brain health and lower your risk of dementia?” She went on to make these four points about social interaction: you may live longer, you will enjoy better physical health; you will enjoy better mental health; and you may even lower your risk of dementia.

In their w…

Do This One Thing to Focus Like a Navy Seal

Our brains normally control our breathing automatically. At the base of the brain is the brain stem, which includes the medulla oblongata, which monitors things like carbon dioxide levels in the blood and signals the lungs to adjust as appropriate.
According to Doctor Matthew MacKinnon, taking control of your breathing for a while can be relaxing and calming. Let’s give it a test. Beginning right now, sit up straight, relax your shoulders, put your hands in your lap. Exhale and empty your lungs. Take a slow deep breath. Try to count slowly up to four as you inhale. Hold your breath for a count of four, then slowly exhale counting 1 2 3 4.  Repeat ten times.


Done?
By the time you complete ten reps, you’ve probably cut your respiration rate from about fifteen breaths per minute to six. If you’ve followed along, you should be more relaxed and concentrating better. The Navy Seals call this technique four-box breathing and use it to calm down and focus. And they are likely in more high-pr…

Dance Your *** Off; Grow a Bigger Brain

Just a week ago we summarized research lead by Neuroscientist Aga Burzynska, PhD that showed that dancing improved brain white matter, while other exercise and the control group didn’t. Now we have another related research study led by Dr. Kathrin Rehfeld that shows important brain improvement from dancing. The research was conducted at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases and at the Otto von Geuricke University Medical Center.  Further, dancing achieved better results than an exercise program.
Participants were divided into two groups. One group took dancing lessons. The dance steps and routines became more complex as the study continued. The second group did a combination of endurance training, strength training, flexibility and stretching. Both groups showed measurable improvement. However, the dancers showed more improvement in the part of the brain associated with balance.
From the study: “Results reveal that higher cardiorespiratory fitness levels (VO2 Max) are asso…