Higher BMI is linked to decreased cerebral blood flow, which is associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and mental illness, according to a new study in JAD
Amsterdam, NL and Costa Mesa, CA, USA – As a person’s weight goes up, all regions of the brain go down in activity and blood flow, according to a new brain imaging study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. One of the largest studies linking obesity with brain dysfunction, scientists analyzed over 35,000 functional neuroimaging scans using single-photon emission computerized tomography from more than 17,000 individuals to measure blood flow and brain activity.
Fear and worry got you down? Here’s how to calm these feelings.
Have you grown more worried and fearful about life over the years? You aren’t alone. Research has shown that feelings of fear, general anxiety, and nervousness tend to rise with age.
These negative feelings can manifest in many ways. You could be more concerned about your financial future, the risk of a new or returning health problem or injury, or as the recent COVID-19 pandemic has shown, changes in world events.
“People become more fearful about daily life because they worry a setback will come at any time, and it’s something they can’t control,” says Dr. Ipsit Vahia, medical director of Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Services at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital.
World-first research led by neuroimaging expert Dr. Jiyang Jiang at UNSW’s Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) has found that those aged 95 and over demonstrated more activation between the left and ride side of their brain than their younger counterparts.
Given the prevalence of dementia increases with age, near-centenarians and centenarians without dementia are generally considered as models of successful aging and resistance against age-related cognitive decline.
“We wanted to see if there was something particularly special about the brain‘s functional connectivity of those aged 95 and older that helps them preserve brain function into the 11th decade of their life,” says Dr. Jiang.
We are in the midst of an epidemic and possibly pandemic of anxiety and distress. The worry that folks have about themselves, families, finances, and work is overwhelming for millions.
I speak with people who report periods of racing thoughts jumping back in time and thinking of roads not taken. They also talk about their thoughts jumping forward with life plans of what they’ll do to change their lives in the future – if they survive COVID-19.
Consider what this uncertainty is doing to people who have an underlying emotional problem that is well-controlled with care (and even without care). Those people are suffering even more. Meanwhile, people with obsessive-compulsive disorder that had been under control appear to have worsened with the added stress.
Clink on the image for video – or here
I’m Dr Gregory Scott Brown, director of the Center for Green Psychiatry and affiliate faculty at the University of Texas Dell Medical School, reporting for Medscape on the importance of mind-body medicine for men.
Mind-body medicine focuses on how interactions within the mind, including thoughts, feelings, and emotions, relate to physical health and well-being. A mind-body practice could include guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, acupuncture, meditation, or yoga.
Let’s face it: Men are lukewarm when it comes to incorporating a mind-body practice into their own life. Many would rather go for 18 holes of golf, a pick-up game of basketball, or go spend time in the gym instead. Evidence, in fact, supports the idea that men are less likely to develop a meditation practice.
Devices also limit interaction time
Researchers voiced other reasons for cautious use of mobile devices by young children. “The portable nature of mobile devices allows them to be used in any location, such as while waiting for appointments, or in line at a grocery store. The screen use, then, could interfere with sensitive and responsive interactions with parents or practicing self-soothing behaviors that support optimal development,” said Lawrence.
The research team recruited participants by handing out flyers at preschools and community events. Data were collected between July 1, 2016, and Jan. 11, 2019. During individual 90-minute visits to an on-campus research laboratory, children were asked to complete 10 tasks to evaluate their ability to self-regulate. Tasks were as varied as walking a line slowly, taking turns with the researcher in building a tower out of blocks, and delaying gratification — for example, being asked to hold off unwrapping a gift while the researcher briefly left the room. Parents were asked about screen use using a novel survey designed by Lawrence, and researchers calculated the children’s reported age at first use of screen media and average time spent per week on each device.
Other findings include:
- There was substantial variation in the amount of time children spent with screen media devices in the average week in this community sample. Screen time for traditional devices (television, computers) ranged from 0 to 68 hours per week, and 0 to 14 hours per week for mobile devices (tablets, smartphones).
- Children’s screen time in the average week was not related to their family’s income in this sample, but children growing up in higher-income households started using mobile devices at a younger age than lower-income households.
- Screen time also did not differ by racial/ethnic minority status in this sample.
Additionally, children’s exposure to what the researchers consider traditional screen devices (televisions, computers) in the average week was not related to their self-regulation, in contrast to most previous research. Lawrence speculates that messaging about providing child-directed, educational content and cautioning parents to monitor children’s viewing has reached parents and has been effective, at least among some groups.
This is a small study, but the beginning of a long-term longitudinal study of children’s development of self-regulation and looking at all screen media devices over multiple years with more children and parents, researchers said.
It’s often said that happiness is a choice: You can either choose to be happy or choose to be sad, stressed, or anxious.
Caution and concern rule the day in the time of Coronavirus, as well it should. But as we work together to prevent the spread of the virus and protect ourselves and our families form infection, there are ways we can both manage our stress and boost our self-care.
“The way I think of it is, if you’re going to be Purell-ing your hands all the time – or as you are washing your hands throughout the day – you can actually practice meditation,” says BHI Medical Director Darshan Mehta, MD. “Hand washing or use of hand sanitizer is a perfect cue to do a mini relaxation. While you are moving your hands together, you are counting and breathing deeply, so this gives you both the benefits of fighting off the virus and the internal benefit of knowing that you are taking care of yourself.”
In recent years, nootropics, also called smart drugs, have gained popularity among people looking to improve their mental performance.
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter, or brain chemical, that plays a role in many key aspects of brain function, such as memory, thinking, and learning.
While acetylcholine supplements don’t exist, supplements that may indirectly raise acetylcholine levels have become popular among people interested in nootropics as a way to enhance mental performance.
This article explores the benefits and side effects of acetylcholine supplements, and outlines the best types.