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Recharge your brain at work with this short exercise

A good way to recharge your brain at work might be with a short bout of exercise that doesn’t require much concentration, according to a small study from Japan. “The present study suggests that simple exercise is better than cognitively demanding exercise during working hours,” lead author Keita Kamijo, an assistant professor on the faculty of sports sciences, Waseda University, Tokyo, told Reuters Health by email. Kamijo and coauthor Ryuji Abe enrolled 28 men and had them perform tasks that challenge what’s known as…

Walking ability before heart surgery tied to brain function afterward

TOKYO: Older adults who are faster on their feet may be less likely to suffer cognitive problems after heart surgery than patients who have difficulty walking, a Japanese study suggests. All 181 patients in the study were undergoing non-emergency heart surgery at Nagoya University Hospital. Before surgery, researchers measured how far each participant could walk in six minutes and did assessments of memory, concentration and attention. About two weeks after the surgery, they repeated the same battery of cognitive…

Diabetes, smoking linked to deposits in brain region tied to memory

NEW YORK: People who smoke or have diabetes may be more likely to have calcium deposits in brain regions crucial for memory, a Dutch study suggests. The deposits were not associated with lower cognitive function, however. Researchers examined cognitive test results and brain scans for 1,991 patients visiting a memory clinic at a Dutch hospital from 2009 to 2015. Overall, 380 patients, or about 19 percent, had calcification, or abnormal buildup of calcium, in the hippocampus, the region of the brain important for…

No new ‘learning’ brain cells after age 13: study

Around the age of 13, the human brain region that hosts memory and learning appears to stop producing nerve cells, said a study Wednesday described as "sobering". The finding challenges a widely-held view that the brain's hippocampus region continues to generate neurons, which transmit information through chemical and electrical signals, well into adulthood in humans, as in other mammals. Neurons are the cells that allow animals to react to their environment by transferring data about external stimuli such as a smell…

Eye and balance exercises may ease multiple sclerosis symptoms

NEW YORK: People with multiple sclerosis who do balance and eye movement exercises may feel steadier on their feet and experience less fatigue and dizziness, a small trial suggests. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a rare, disabling autoimmune disease that damages the central nervous system. It can lead to fatigue, pain, vision loss and impaired coordination and motor skills. For the current study, researchers focused on 88 adults with MS who were able to walk 100 meters assisted with a cane if necessary. Half of them were…

Best friends’ brains light up the same way, says study

PARIS: Dating sites would be well-advised to add "brain activity" as a compatability criterion, according to a study released Tuesday showing that close friends have eerily comparable neural responses to life experiences. "Our results suggest that friends process the world around them in exceptionally similar ways," said lead author Carolyn Parkinson, director of the Computational Social Neuroscience Lab at the University of California in Los Angeles. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to compare which regions of…

Inflammation in midlife linked to brain shrinkage later: study

MIAMI: People who show signs of inflammation in middle age are more likely to suffer from brain shrinkage later in life, a possible precursor to dementia or Alzheimer's disease, researchers said Wednesday. The findings in the journal Neurology are the latest to uncover an association between dementia and inflammation, in which the body's immune cells rev up in response to harms like smoking, stress, illness or poor diet. However, the findings stopped short of proving any cause-and-effect relationship. "These results…

The warm glow of giving starts in your brain: study

What inspires humans to acts of generosity? Economists, psychologists and philosophers have pondered this question for millennia. If one assumes that human behaviour is primarily motivated by self-interest, it seems illogical to willingly sacrifice resources for others. In an attempt to solve this paradox, some experts have theorised that giving satisfies a desire to boost one's standing in a group. Others have suggested it fosters tribal cooperation and cohesion -- a key element in mammal survival. Yet another…

Marmite is good for the brain, study says

PARIS: In a world bitterly divided into pro- and anti-Marmite factions, lovers of the tangy British spread have found support from an unexpected quarter: brain science. Experiments found that volunteers who ate a daily spoonful of the dark-brown yeast extract seemed to have higher levels of a vital neuron chemical associated with a healthy brain. The reason could lie in Marmite's high levels of vitamin B12, the investigators say. In a study published on Wednesday, psychologists at the University of York in northern…

Brain implant lets paralysed man feed himself using his thoughts

CHICAGO: A paralysed man in Cleveland fed himself mashed potatoes for the first time in eight years, aided by a computer-brain interface that reads his thoughts and sends signals to move muscles in his arm, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday. The research, published in the journal Lancet, is the latest from BrainGate, a consortium of researchers testing brain-computer interface technology designed to give paralysed individuals more mobility. Prior tests of the technology allowed paralysed people to move a robotic arm or a…