February 20, 2019

Dear Friend,

When people experience heart failure, a very common—and unwelcome—side effect is cognitive decline. And, the decline can be quite noticeable, with an estimated 25-50% of such people experiencing pre-dementia conditions of mild to moderate cognitive impairment.

I’m excited to report that a new study conducted by independent researchers at Emory University has found that using an exercise regimen combined with BrainHQ can be helpful. The researchers noted their findings are consistent with prior studies using BrainHQ in a heart failure population. Learn more!

Best regards,

Jeff Zimman
Posit Science

Night Owls Have It Rough
The night owls among us can find the typical hours of a work or school day challenging. A new study, in which researchers scanned the brains of night owls and early risers throughout the day, confirms that night owls suffer from poorer attention and reaction times, and greater sleepiness. Lead researcher Dr. Elise Facer-Childs says this result is likely due to the fact that night owls are “constantly having to fight against their preferences and their innate rhythms” by having to get up early.

Diagnosing Mental Disorders
How do psychiatrists and psychologists diagnose mental health disorders? Since 1952, there has been a standardized classification manual, commonly called the DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). Now in its fifth edition, the manual has about 300 different diagnoses. But many people have multiple disorders with overlapping symptoms. Here’s one doctor’s fascinating account of trying to pinpoint a diagnosis when the symptoms don’t fit neatly into a bucket. As you can see in the title, “Should Mental Disorders Have Names?” he is not convinced the current system works.

New Research on Vitamin D and the Brain
Vitamin D deficiency is a very common problem, with over a billion people worldwide affected by it. For the brain, that’s a problem: vitamin D deficiency is associated with impaired cognition. A new study sheds light on why that might be.

New Directions for Neuroscience: Helping Rappers Hone Their Art
Micah Brown has something in common with us here at Posit Science. A neuroscience entrepreneur, Brown wants to make emerging neuroscience technology useful to new audiences in imaginative-but-practical ways. That’s why he’s invented BrainRap—a device designed to help rappers improve their skills (among other things) by measuring brainwaves.

Sleeping Like a Baby
It may help adults to be rocked to sleep just like babies, a new study has reported. In the (admittedly small) study, people slept better and performed better on memory tests when they spent the night in a gently rocking bed. What does rocking do to the brain to improve sleep?

“Lostness:” When the Human Brain Can’t Navigate
The human brain does a wonderful job of navigating through the landscape, with one important caveat: it relies on vision. In the deep dark of a cave or labyrinth, visual cues disintegrate, with the result that our internal navigation system falls apart.

Book of the Month
Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction (2017)
Maia Szalavitz
Many forms of addiction are on the rise—and they can be extremely hard to overcome. Maia Szalavitz—herself an ex-addict—believes the problem lies in how we understand addiction and define treatment for it.  She argues that addiction is a learning disorder, rather than a moral failing or chronic, progressive disease—more like dyslexia than Alzheimer’s. Only by understanding this, she says, can we compassionately and more effectively combat addiction. Learn more or buy on Amazon.