In the summer of 2018, researchers from McGill University presented interim results from a small imaging study showing that training with BrainHQ up-regulated the production of acetylcholine “in a resting state” (that means, even when participants were not engaged in the brain exercises). It was big news from a small study, because acetylcholine is a very important brain chemical that gets released when you pay attention. It down-regulates as you age, and also in many cognitive disorders.
While the results from that small study were exciting, it was just a first step. A larger study was needed. This past week, we got some great news: our scientists were awarded a grant by the National Institutes on Aging to conduct a much larger, randomized controlled study to see if the findings of the earlier study hold true. If they do, BrainHQ will be the first intervention ever shown to increase the production of this important brain chemical. We’ll keep you updated! Click here to read about the grant.Best regards,
Dreaming Your Memories Away
For years, scientists have known that sleep helps the brain consolidate memories. Now, new research in mice has found that during REM sleep—the dreaming phase of sleep—special neurons also help us clear out unimportant memories. That may help make room for new memories to form the next day. Learn more.
Brain Plasticity at Work in People Who Paint With Their Feet
Our brains have regions that are specialized for different parts of the body. Typically, there is an area for each finger in the “hand” region, but the “foot” region is solid, with no distinction for individual toes. That, according to new research from the UK, is very different in people who use their feet to create art. The brains of the two study subjects, both of whom learned to use their feet for complex tasks, show differentiated areas for the individual toes, showing just how plastic the brain can be. Learn more.
Left-Handedness in the Brain
About 10% of people are left-handed, but what makes them so? Scientists have recently made some headway in answering this question. They found several genetic regions linked to brain development that are associated with handedness, as well as certain differences in brain structure between righties and lefties. Learn more.
Memory Blips a Cause of Vehicular Crashes
Researchers have discovered that when car drivers pull into the path of an oncoming motorcycle, it’s often not that they failed to see the motorcycle. Instead, they saw it—and almost immediately forgot. This short-term memory failure can have fatal consequences. Learn more.
Walk to a Dementia Diagnosis
Two of the most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body dementia. Although the two are expressed differently in the brain, the early-stage symptoms are very similar, making diagnosis difficult. Now, researchers have found a new tool for determining whether a person has Alzheimer’s or Lewy body dementia: how they walk. Learn more.
Good News for Tea Drinkers
There’s lots of research on how drinking coffee affects the brain. But what about tea? Previous research has shown that drinking black and green tea can have cognitive benefits—and now an imaging study shows that the brains of regular tea drinkers are organized more efficiently. Learn more.
Gender and Our Brains: How New Neuroscience Explodes the Myths of the Male and Female Minds (2019)
By Gina Rippon
For centuries, scientists have argued that there are inherent differences between male and female brains, which accounts for their different roles in society. That’s not true, argues Gina Rippon in Gender and Our Brains. She makes the case that much of that research suffers from bias; researchers confirmed what they already “knew” to be true. Instead, she believes, our brains are gendered because our experiences are. We are treated differently based on our perceived gender, and our brains develop in response. Learn more or buy on Amazon.