Did you know it was possible to improve your hearing in a noisy environment? A new study from researchers at UCSF shows that, by training our brains and hearing, we can actually improve our hearing in the face of distractions. The UCSF team developed a training technique for individuals to suppress distracting sounds. Over the course of the study, as subjects trained with this technique, their ability to hear and distinguish sounds in the face of distractions showed significant improvement.
Ray Dalio, billionaire founder and head of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, has some interesting things to say about meditation:
“Meditation, more than any other factor, has been the reason for what success I’ve had.”
Why do you think meditation has made Ray Dalio one of the most successful money managers of all time? Please comment below!
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Many of us have been told to “smile more”, as this sends off a more friendly and inviting signal to the outer world. However, the act of smiling (even when we don’t feel like it) has powerful internal effects as well. Researchers have shown that the mere act of smiling, even when “forced”, sends a signal to the body’s “fight or flight” response system that the coast is clear.
The numerous requirements of writing in cursive can positively impact brain health in many ways. By stimulating both sides of the brain simultaneously, requiring dexterity and triggering norepenephrine (responsible for attention), cursive writing can help your brain’s health in ways that printed writing and typing cannot.
A recent study by Dr. Linda Mah shows that higher levels of anxiety in study subjects were associated with a greater prevalence of Alzheimer’s and dementia. This raises the question of whether reducing anxiety could prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s.
While more evidence is needed, there are signs that brain exercises and learning new skills can help prevent dementia. Recent data, such as the ACTIVE study (with ~2,800 patients aged 65+) show cognitive benefits lasting up to 5 years for seniors engaged in brain exercises, with reports of these gains translating more broadly into their everyday lives. Other studies have shown that before symptoms appear, seniors can reduce the risk or even prevent dementia by keeping mentally active and learning new skills. These should be new skills and activities that help you to learn new things– crossword puzzles, sudoku and reading books from your favorite author aren’t necessarily enough. New forms of exercise, dance, learning musical instruments or a new foreign language can help slow the erosion of brain cells and create new neural connections, which can reduce or prevent dementia. In addition to the positive health benefits, each of these activities can help you live a more full and rich life.
Were you aware that learning new skills and keeping your mind active could prevent dementia and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
Researchers are revisiting a vaccine that could extend brain cancer survival by boosting patients’ immune systems to fight cancerous tumors. The vaccine had undergone a Phase I clinical trial in 2001 but was largely abandoned for lack of efficacy. Now, a new methodology is breathing life back into the treatment’s potential to extend the life of those who suffer from brain cancer. The team at Thomas Jefferson University is looking to administer the vaccine to patients before chemotherapy, so that their immune systems are less compromised and better able to be directed by the vaccine to attack tumors. Initial results of a more recent Phase I trial are more promising. Phase II trials are slated to begin in early 2015.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below!