January 20, 2020


Earlier this month, our CEO Dr. Henry Mahncke was interviewed by Tim Sandle for Digital Journal. In the interview, Dr. Mahncke talks about how and why thought leaders have begun to recommend evidence-based brain training in recent years (with an emphasis on “evidence-based”)—which has helped to expand access to BrainHQ through Medicare Advantage programs, the U.S. Department of Defense, public libraries, and more. Check it out to learn about the ever-changing field of brain training! Read here.

Best regards,

Jeff Zimman
Posit Science

Move Aside, Neurons!
When people think of brain cells, they tend to think of neurons. But the brain is also chock-full of glial cells. Historically, scientists have thought of glial cells as playing a supportive role in the brain—they protected and cleaned up after superstar neurons, which had the more important job of processing information, forming memories, and enabling thinking. But as research into glia expands, scientists are learning that their role is much broader than previously thought. Learn more.

A Fly Brain in All Its Glory
Have you heard of connectomes? They are beautiful maps that scientists create of the wiring in a real brain. A new connectome—claimed to be the biggest and most detailed brain map yet—highlights the brain of a five-day-old fruit fly. What does it look like? How did the scientists make it? And how does it help advance scientific research? Find out.

Use That Hearing Aid!
About 38 million Americans have untreated hearing loss—and you might be surprised to hear that hearing loss puts you at a higher risk for dementia than social isolation, lack of exercise, high blood pressure, and many other potential factors. Most people with hearing loss can do something about it, which protects cognitive function—but they often don’t. Learn more.

Soybean Oil Changes the Brain?
Here in the U.S., the most widely consumed oil is soybean oil. Prior research has shown that this oil is related to obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and fatty liver—at least in mice. Now, a new study shows that high consumption of soybean oil also affects the mouse brain in ways that may have implications for conditions like autism and Alzheimer’s. Learn more.

Traffic-Related Air Pollution Affects Brain Health
Two new studies published this month show that living in places with higher traffic-related air pollution may be bad for the brain. The first study looked at 678,000 adults living in Vancouver and found that those who lived near major roads or highways faced a higher risk of dementia, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis. The study’s lead author believes air pollution is the culprit. The second study looked at the brains of 12-year-olds and found structural changes in the brains of those who had significant exposure to traffic-related air pollution as infants. Learn more about the study on adults or the study on children.

Using the Zika Virus to Attack Brain Cancer Cells
Here’s some surprising news: the Zika virus—which can cause brain damage during fetal development—may actually hold promise as a treatment for brain tumors. Scientists have discovered that the virus uses a special molecular “key” to break into and destroy brain cells. They are now hoping to modify the virus to take advantage of this key, reprogramming it to target brain cancer cells while leaving normal brain cells unharmed. Learn more.

Book of the Month
In Praise of Walking: The New Science of How We Walk and Why It’s Good for Us (2019)
By Shane O’Mara

Most of us walk around on two feet every day—as part of our commute, on a hike, to the store, or just through the house. According to author and neuroscientist Shane O’Mara, this seemingly simple ability is an important part of what defines humanity. What has to happen, in the brain and body, for us to achieve this skill? How are we able to move, balance, navigate, and stay safe—all at once? How does walking protect our brain health and cognitive function? In Praise of Walking answers these questions and more. Learn more or buy on Amazon.