May 20, 2019


This month, I wanted to share the results of a new study. It’s called the BRAVE Study and was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense. BRAVE measured the impact of BrainHQ in a population of military personnel and veterans diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury (typically from a concussion or blast exposure) where cognitive impairment persisted after other recovery from the injury. Check out the press release or read this article on or watch this video from the national broadcast of the CBS Evening News to learn more about the study design and results!

Best regards,

Jeff Zimman
Posit Science

New Colors: Yes or No?
In this fascinating article, six experts weigh in on the question “Will there ever be new colors that we can see?” The scientists don’t agree, with answers ranging from “Yes, of course!” ( Bevil Conway from the National Eye Institute) to “In all likelihood, no,” (Susan Farnand of the Rochester Institute of Technology). Find out why each expert answers as they do—and what colors might be accessible to human sight in the future.
Is it Alzheimer’s? Or Is it LATE?
Scientists have identified a new type of dementia, one with symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s but with a different pathology in the brain. They have named it LATE (short for “limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy), and they believe it may actually be the cause of up to 17% of all dementia diagnoses. Learn more about LATE and why it’s important to differentiate it from other dementias.

The Brain and Gut Team Up to Tell Us When to Drink Water
How do we know when to drink more water—so we don’t suffer from dehydration—and when to drink less—so we don’t overhydrate? Scientists have discovered that “thirst cells” in the brain make the call—but they do it with input from molecules in the gut. Learn more about this gut-brain communication.

New Research on Why Depression Is More Common in Women
Did you know women are much more likely to suffer from depression than men? One group of researchers have uncovered a possible reason: that inflammation affects women’s brains differently than men’s, making them feel less joy and pleasure. That may mean that doctors treating women with chronic inflammatory disorders (such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis) should be on the lookout for signs of depression. Learn more.

What Happens in the Brain When Your Phone Dings
It can be surprising how much something small affects the brain. Take the example of getting a notification on your phone. How does the brain react? Find out what the experts say. 

Why We Don’t Run Into Things
A recent study shows that the brain takes just 100 milliseconds (a tenth of a second) to make sense of a area’s geometry—the basic shapes that allow and restrict our movement. This rapid understanding of layout takes place largely in the “occipital place area” near the back of the brain—and it’s what allows us to navigate through a place without bumping into the walls, trees, or other barriers. Learn more about how this works. 

Book of the Month
The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50 (2018)
By Jonathan Rauch

In The Happiness Curve, journalist Jonathan Rauch reframes the concept of a “midlife crisis” as a normal part of the arc of life. Drawing on personal stories and scientific evidence, he argues that in terms of happiness our lives tend to take a U-shaped path, with the low point occurring in our 40s. The good news: after age 50, we are on the upswing. It’s a recommended read for anybody interested in learning more about the mysteries of midlife and the potential of later life.