Category Archives: Brain Health

World’s First Implanted Brain Computer

By: Tina Davidson

remote-control-brain

Someone put a remote control in her brain and she can communicate?

It seems that this is more likely to happen in a sci-fi movie (or an episode of The Simpsons) than reality, but thanks to a group of researchers, this cutting edge technology is making communication possible for Hanneke De Bruijne.

De Bruijne has ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and developed locked-in-syndrome (almost all her voluntary muscles, except her eyes, are paralyzed). She can’t speak, but thanks to the help of a surgically implanted  brain computer interface (which works like a remote control), she can now type out words.

“This is the world’s first totally implanted brain-computer interface system that someone has used in her daily life with some success,” said Dr. Jonathan R. Wolpaw, the director of the National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies in Albany.

I recommend you check out Steph Yin’s entire article, “Brain Implant Eases Communication by Late-Stage A.L.S. Patient.”

Please keep up the good work, brain researchers!!

Thanks to The Tribune (sanluisobispo.com) for running the article that originally caught my attention.

Source: Steph Yin, The New York Times

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Coloring Pages and Your Brain

coloring-page-icon-st-patricks-day-shamrock-luck

It was over three years ago when I created my first coloring page for my sons using the software, Adobe Illustrator. I stayed up late into the night learning the program and creating things for my children to color–a much needed creative outlet (confession–I worked on the pages more for myself then them).  After I had completed about ten pages, I had GRAND ideas of creating and marketing coloring books in my spare time.

I quickly realized this was not going to work out… unless I wanted to give up all forms of hygiene and many other time consuming necessities for survival. However, I did end up creating a website, with the help of my tech savvy older brother, where all my friends/family can download them for free (this includes you, so enjoy!).

Those were the glory days–where every coloring page I created was new and exciting. The possibilities seemed endless. (Just think about how many pages one could create on birds?)

Lately, I’ve been in a coloring page creative slump and have focused my creative energy on other “artistic” pursuits.

So, when some inspiration came to me to create a page for St. Patrick’s Day based off a green truck that my youngest son had perforated at school, you can imagine my excitement!!

The minute I saw the truck below, I had a silly vision of a leprechaun driving a green truck and spreading cheer with shamrocks instead of exhaust fumes.

When was the last time you were inspired?

Green-Truck-Montessori-work

Here’s some finished products below colored by my kids. They never cease to inspire me. Gotta love the pink road chosen by my oldest son because he wanted to make the colors more “exciting.” I get it! Think outside the box. 🙂

coloring-page-shamrock-truck.jpg

 

Can Coloring Help Your Brain?

What benefits does coloring provide? Did you know some people find that coloring books help them take their mind off of chronic pain?

I find it relaxing to create coloring pages and others find it relaxing to color them in. There were millions of copies of coloring books geared towards adults sold last year and it looks like the trend will continue for this year. Why not break out those markers and join the fun!

So, what’s the appeal?

According to Parade Magazine’s article, “50 Shades of Happy–The New Joy of Coloring:”

“It engages both sides of your brain in that it’s both creative and tactical,” says psychologist Alice Domar, Ph.D., executive director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health in Boston. The creativity comes with envisioning the color selection and how it will play throughout the piece, while the tactical involves applying your decisions to the artist’s design. Both keep your right brain from taking over and wandering where it wants, as it does when you just doodle.

Coloring books are also a good ways for people to enjoy life away from screens and electronic devices. All it takes is a coloring page and some coloring utensils–whether it be crayons, markers, or colored pencils. (Although there are plenty of coloring apps out there… remember there is an actual brain benefit by holding a pencil in your hand verses swiping a finger.)

For many, coloring books may be a good form of art therapy. Recently, it has been thought that the rise in adult coloring books has perhaps contributed to the rise of art therapy’s respect and global recognition.

“…United States is not alone in using art therapy as an effective approach to various physical and mental afflictions, including emotional distress, addiction, social development, anxiety, self-esteem issues, and more.” Art Business News, 2015.

For those with Alzheimer’s, art therapy may help improve cognitive skills. It doesn’t seem like it would hurt to try some form of art therapy out with Alzheimer’s patients?

Even the color you choose can have a calming and healing effect on your body. For example,

“The psychological effects from using the color green are similar to those of the color blue, and are perceived as being soothing:” PRWeb Newswire, 2013.

Why Color Alone?

I hope you’ll find some time to download a coloring page you like and share it with a friend.

Perhaps you can find some inspiration in the book, “Draw Your Big Idea: The Ultimate Creativity Tool for Turning Thoughts into Action and Dreams into Reality” by Heather Willems and Nora Herting. I’m interested in checking it out (the title seemed really good!).

For those on the Central Coast, check out slolibrary.org for more information on the Healing Power of Art for Adults taking place on Friday, March 18, 2016.

Healing Power of Art for Adults
Anne Kellogg will lead a workshop exploring the creative process of art and its use to give voice to your deepest self.  Space is limited.  Pre registration required.  Please call or stop by to sign up.

 

I feel like you’re never too old to color.

Keep on creating and pursuing your dreams! I hope this post contributed in some way to your brain health and happiness. 🙂

Sources

“KindaChic.com’s Tips for Selecting The Right Colors to Use in Every Room of The Home.”PRWeb Newswire 2 July 2013. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

 

Parade Magazine. http://parade.com/409702/hdowdle/50-shades-of-happy-the-new-joy-of-coloring/

Gross, Anisse. “Beyond coloring books: gifts & sidelines 2016: coloring books aren’t going away anytime soon, but publishers are already on the hunt for what’s next in gifts.” Publishers Weekly18 Jan. 2016: 24+. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

Fard, Farah Joan. “The expanding reach of art therapy: though it’s a relatively new approach to mental health treatment, art therapy is gaining traction and making a difference in people’s lives.” Art Business News Winter 2015: 34+. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

 

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Microbes verse Microbeads

By: Tina Davidson

Microbes-vs-MicrobeadsMicrobes

Let’s start with the unsung heroes, the microbes in your gut.

Microbes may be small but they are up to mighty things. I’ll always be fascinated by them. No doubt they will gain more recognition in 2016.

I mentioned in a previous post that scientists are still figuring out the “Gut-Brain Axis,” so a recent Tweet by @HeartsatPlay caught my attention:

Exercise Alters Gut Microbes That Promote Brain Health / Psychology Today

I recommend you check out the article by Christopher Bergland in Psychology Today. Hopefully, after reading the online article, you’ll be so motivated by the preliminary findings on how early-age exercise promotes gut and brain health that you’ll take your kids (or grandchildren) out on a barefoot walk. Time for us all to invest in the next generation’s developing gut-brain axis (and perhaps college funds?).

Now that you’ve done your due diligence, are you still left wanting more on microbes?  Check out the October 2015 Nature article, “The Tantalizing Links Between Gut Microbes and the Brain,” by Peter Audrey Smith. (Thanks to Christopher Bergland for including this link in his article as well).

Microbeads

Next, on to something hideous: microbeads in your water!

(Side note: Microbes can be hideous as well, but for the intent of this post they will be cast in a rose-colored glow for all dramatic intents and purposes.)

The villainous plastic microbeads were recently banned by the U.S. government in the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015.

Not sure what a microbead is? Here’s how it is defined in the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015:

“(A) the term ‘plastic microbead’ means any solid plastic particle that is less than five millimeters in size and is intended to be used to exfoliate or cleanse the human body or any part thereof; and…”

They have been banned from rinse-off cosmetics (this includes toothpaste.)  After cosmetics containing microbeads get rinsed off in sinks and showers, the plastics end up where they shouldn’t (in the sea) since they are too small to be filtered by waste-water treatment plants.

The folks at BeatTheMicrobead.org really know their stuff on getting rid of plastic microbeads if you want to learn more.

I want to send a shout-out to everyone who supported the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015. I’m glad it made sense to lawmakers that in order to get microplastics out of our plankton we shouldn’t allow plastic microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics. The bad news is that the ban on plastic microbeads doesn’t go into effect until 2018 (grumble, grumble). These microbeads, aka plastic pollution, are known environmental and human health hazards. I hope cosmetic companies and manufacturers use something other than plastic microbeads in their products sooner than later.

There are economically feasible alternatives to plastic microbeads used in personal care products, as evidenced by the current use of biodegradable, natural, abrasive materials in personal care products such as beeswax, shells, nuts, seeds, and sand. (Text from California Assembly Bill-888 Waste management: plastic microbeads. (2015-2016).

In the meantime (prior to the ban going into effect in 2018), support labels/companies that are 100% microplastic free.

Mighty Microbes to the Rescue?

I wouldn’t put it past the mighty microbes in playing some part in ridding our waters of pervasive plastic microbeads. Microbes have helped clean oil spills and scientists are researching microbes that eat and sink plastic at sea (probably best not to have plastic in the sea to begin with though).

What about you? Were you once an avid user of facial products containing plastic microbeads? What would you recommend as an alternative to plastic microbeads?

On a more random note… if you could be any microbe, what one would you be? Maybe bifidobacterium… 

Bifido-bacterium

There are approximately thirty species of bifidobacteria. They comprise approximately 90% of the healthy bacteria in the colon.

The quote above is from an article by Stuart Cantor. “Digestive dynamos: clinical studies support the multiple health benefits from probiotics, dietary fibers, botanicals and enzymes.” Prepared Foods Nov. 2015: 28+. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 10 Jan. 2016.

Have you consumed your bifidobacteria today? Here’s to a healthy brain and gut! 

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The Dark Side of Sugar and Your Brain

sweet side

By: Tina Davidson

Halloween is almost here. For most kids, October 31 means costumes and CANDY!

This year my sons will be dressed as a father and son duo–Anakin Skywalker, aka Darth Vader, and Luke Skywalker. I’m sure they’ll be wielding their lightsabers to commandeer treats while using the Force to try to persuade me to allow them to eat sugar and stay up past their bedtime.

Should I worry too much about them having trouble falling asleep after eating a bag full of candy in the evening? Apparently, a new study has found that sugar may help out with sleep:

Contrary to parental belief, sugar may actually cause drowsiness, not hyperactivity. Key brain cells awash in glucose put mice to sleep, scientists report in the July 8 Journal of Neuroscience. (1)

I’m going to allow my children to eat a reasonable amount of candy (not in excess) since this article just came out and their falling asleep quickly is not 100% guaranteed. The key words of the study are “may actually cause drowsiness” so my kids will have to present me with a few more studies (done on humans) before I change this policy.

And my kids can forget about eating any candy with artificial colors or chemical sweeteners. There are studies that link artificial food dyes to hyperactivity (sometimes sugar is not solely to blame for kid craziness–check out the blog “Die, Food Dye!” for testimonials from parents with dye sensitive kids). So, I plan on letting my kids collect candy, but I’ll swap this candy out later for “mother-approved” candy they can eat (stuff they pick out ahead of time from Trader Joe’s). This tradition seems to make everyone happy.

Have a safe and fun Halloween!  May the Force be with you!

Hanging with Yoda at LEGOLAND for the day. Photo courtesy of Thea Gavin.

Hanging out with Yoda at LEGOLAND.

Further Reading

Do You Let Sugar Master Your Attention Span?

Check out the article, “Energy drinks significantly increase hyperactivity in schoolchildren, study finds” posted on February 9, 2015, at Science Daily:

Middle-school children who consume heavily sweetened energy drinks are 66% more likely to be at risk for hyperactivity and inattention symptoms, a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health has found.

Do or Do not. There is no Try When it Comes to Substituting Real Sugar for NAS

You may want to think twice before you choose a non-caloric artificial sweetener (NAS) and find out how it may affect your intestinal microbiota. Check out the article, “It’s Never Nice to Fool Mother Nature,” posted on Dr. Perlmutter’s blog.

Chris Kresser’s blog also has a post, “The Unbiased Truth About Artificial Sweeteners” from May 30, 2014, that is worth checking out. You can also find a free ebook on sweeteners on his website.

Do you Underestimate the Power of Sugar?

Some people complain of nightmares after eating a lot of sugar and some gain weight after eating a diet high in sugar. There are others who experience no ill effects after consuming lots of sugar. Maybe they just don’t notice any effects because it puts them to sleep? Check out the article, “What Sugar Does to Your Brain” by Dr. Scott Olson.

Scientific studies on the effects of sugar on the brain are sparse at best and most medical professionals and organizations will say that sugar has nothing to do with mood or hyperactivity. If you are surprised by that stance, you are not alone.

“Your powers are weak” when it comes to fending off sugar cravings.

Should You Eat Chocolate Before a Lightsaber Battle or Tense Discussion?

According to the Wall Street Journal article posted on December 3, 2014, “How the Brain Uses Glucose to Fuel Self-Control,” by Robert M. Sapolsky, eating some chocolate to get your glucose levels up before entering into a tense discussion with a spouse may prove beneficial (taking glucose before a lightsaber battle was not mentioned in the article).

Going for the Padame Amidala look this Halloween?

Protect your brain from heavy metals found in some costume makeup and check out the article, “Beware of Halloween Makeup Hazards,” by Devon Kelley posted on October 20, 2015.

Help me Obi-Wan KALE-nobi–eating Fruits and Vegetables is my Only Hope!

I try to limit my consumption of foods with added sugars. I’ll stick to eating foods that are close to their most natural state and resist the power of the Dark Side of sugar this Halloween.

How about you? What’s your stance on sugar and how it affects your brain? Remember to seek your doctor’s advice and do your research when it comes to your health issues and  consuming sugar.

R2 D2

I found the droid, R2 D2, that I was looking for at LEGOLAND.

I'm not sure how many Lego bricks went into making the Death Star replica at LEGOLAND but it was pretty impressive.

I’m not sure how many Lego bricks went into making the Death Star replica at LEGOLAND but it was pretty impressive.

Sources

Photo of author, Tina Davidson, with Yoda courtesy of Thea Gavin.

(1)  Sanders, Laura. “Sugar may put you to sleep: glucose triggers nerve cells to spur drowsiness in mice.” Science News 8 Aug. 2015: 15. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.

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A Disclaimer to Protect Your Brain Health

Danger Stay on Trail

By: Tina Davidson

Disclaimer: I am not a neuroscientist or a doctor, so I suggest you consult one in regards to your brain’s health.

Basically, I’m a research enthusiast with a passion for brain health. I dream and pray for the day that there is a cure for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s (AD), multiple sclerosis (MS), and Parkinson’s (PD) (just to name a few). If you’ve been following my blog, then you already know this about me. I rarely suggest my readers consult a doctor because I assume they already do this. Today I thought I’d give my new readers a reminder.  You can find more about me here.

Who Doesn’t Love Free Stuff?

My blog is a free one hosted by WordPress. Since its free, ads may show up on my blog (not my doing). I don’t support any product or company that WordPress may allow advertised here. I do not receive any compensation by mentioning products in my posts that I use or like (I love PYREX!).  I don’t pay health gurus/entrepreneurs to help me subsidize my income with blog posts/ads. I like to mention my favorite professionals just to share what is going on in their fields of expertise (clearly, everything my mom blogs about is worth mentioning here!).

I can’t guarantee the accuracy of what others report.  As you know, it can be dangerous to pick the link that shows up as #1 on a google search and run with the advice.

Danger Sign

Danger: Were you deceived by this picture? I did some editing to make it look like there was water by adding a reflection.

For the Love of the Brain

The goal of this blog is to inform and, hopefully, sometimes entertain. My brain needs a creative outlet and its nice to have an audience (thanks for stopping by!). Your brain health is way too important to ignore and I hope in some small way to contribute to your overall well-being by the information I provide here.

Some people might be more prone to listen me since I’m not a doctor– perhaps modern medicine has left them feeling disgruntled and uncured? (My grandfather was an amazing doctor who knew how to listen to his patients and get to the root of the problem.  Sometimes I wish I had followed in his footsteps and pursued a medical degree).

Who has all the Answers? Scientists Vs. Playwrights

If you’d like to voice your opinion about the faults in today’s medical system there are some good discussions going on over at Chris Kresser’s website regarding: Why Are Scientists and the Public So Often At Odds?  Scientists don’t have all the answers for a person’s health nor do I, but at least people are researching and sharing what works.

Does writing about science make you an expert on the topic? It caught my attention that Tom Stoppard has a new play out, The Hard Problem, being performed in London.  (In high school, I enjoyed playing the part of Felicity Cunningham in Stoppard’s play, The Real Inspector Hound, in a student directed performance. My favorite line to perform: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, Simon!”)  I haven’t seen Stoppard’s most recent show at the National Theatre but I’ve read a couple of different reviews about it. I’m always intrigued when theatre embarks to bring neuroscience into the spotlight. The write-up on the National Theatre’s website states:

Is the day coming when the computer and the fMRI scanner will answer all the questions psychology can ask?

Meanwhile Hilary needs a miracle, and she is prepared to pray for one.

I can’t go into detail about the play because I haven’t seen it. From what I can surmise from the reviews, it seems like the character, Hilary, is a scientist who likes to bring up questions of morality and God. The play appears to be a smorgasbord of food for thought. (Would love to go to London and see it!)

Perhaps after many years of witnessing the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease on a loved one, you can relate to Stoppard’s character, Hilary, who needs a miracle (I don’t think the miracle Hilary expected was in regards to this disease though).

Miracles and Your Brain

I believe there are still miracles happening.  Recently, a teenager made headlines after he had been dead for 45 minutes (he didn’t stay dead!).  He fell through the ice at Lake Ste Louise in Missouri. The rescuers spent 15 minutes looking for him in the frigid water.  Then once they found him he received 27 minutes of CPR. Finally, his mom was brought into the room and she prayed out loud– her son, John, had a pulse within a few minutes. He’s left many baffled in regards to his speedy recovery. I’ve also had relatives/friends recover from strokes/traumatic brain injuries when improvement was deemed slim to impossible (and many people were praying for them).

Do you believe in miracles? Please share your stories.

Disclaimer: While I love to offer advice, I’m not an expert in miracles or brain health– just a blogger voicing her opinion and praying for cures. I will continue to remain optimistic.

Optimism: Focus on what can be done, rather than what can’t; entertain a hopeful view of the future; emphasize any positive aspects of a stressful event–for example, view a setback as a learning experience; encourage, rather than discourage, yourself when you are faced with a stressor.

Source Citation   (MLA 7th Edition)

“Building resilience helps you handle stress: calling on qualities such as optimism, flexibility and humor can help you improve your ability to deal with challenges.” Mind, Mood & Memory 3.10 (2007): 3. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 10 Feb. 2015.

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Make-up, Myelin, and My Brain

high heels

By: Tina Davidson

Before my grandmother had Alzheimer’s, I paid more attention to fashion than myelination.  Now, Alzheimer’s prevention is always on my mind and fuels most of what I write about and research.

When I think of my grandmother, the word “beautiful” always comes to mind.  Not only do I consider her beautiful on the inside, with her generous, gentle, and joyful spirit, but she also always managed to look fabulous on the outside with her hair and make-up done.

I’m skeptical when it comes to applying the chemicals found in hair dyes and make-up to myself.  It hasn’t been completely proven that these items are a direct link to Alzheimer’s, but I know my grandmother probably had accumulated many chemicals since she was sitting in a chair at the hair salon on a weekly basis for decades. I don’t think her era was concerned about researching natural beauty products. It was pretty much whatever the department store marketed best.  I may never know for sure what brought about my grandmother’s disease or if her affinity for fashion contributed to her decline, but the questions remain: was her dementia due to genetics or environmental factors (including beauty regime).

I can’t do anything about my genetics, but I don’t want to take any chances on the things I have control over when it comes to my health.

Chemicals are Pain to my Brain

Not long ago, I had my hair done on a Sunday at a local salon. It wasn’t regular hours for them and it wasn’t a regular day for me. I was primping for a photo shoot to create my wedding photography work team’s holiday card.  I arrived around 10:30 a.m. and left the salon close to 2 p.m.

As I chatted and watched everyone get their hair beautified, I had a sip of a mimosa and inhaled way too much hair spray and dry shampoo (just think of a cloud of baby powderish substance hovering over my head like a word bubble ).  My brain began to hurt as I smelled dose after dose of sickly sweet hair spray, but I had no idea what chemicals were irritating my mucus membranes; this was not the best time to run anything thru the Environmental Working Group’s website, Skin Deep, as I blogged about previously.

Since it wasn’t the time to be too compulsive,  I pushed the thoughts of toxins aside.  After all, the dry shampoo was helping me achieve BIG hair.

Indeed, my hair was voluminous.

More tinges of guilt hit as I thought about what was still to come– the face paint, the sparkly dress, and the high-heels to match–  all foreign to me. I spend most of my days in jeans, minimalist shoes, and if I remember, I apply Dr. Bronner’s “Naked” organic lip balm.  I blend in quite well with the others who don this casual Central Coast style.  As the day of glamour went by, I started to have a greater appreciation for the many brides whose wedding day memories I help capture. It is hard work prepping to be in front of the camera all day.

Our lovely and youthful make-up artist advised me to continue my glamorous look and wear make-up every day. I formed a smile with my bright red lips and pushed away the remembrances of all the time I spent researching toxins and the cosmetic industry.  My look took on its final transformation with the fake eyelashes.

Who was this person?

Guilt and Your Brain

Throughout the day my brain kept sending me guilty reminders about the toxins linked to the beauty industry. I try to read labels, research, and avoid environmental toxins as much as possible. Sometimes I think my husband wishes I didn’t research food so much– he seems to like living in ignorance of what chemicals are added to his meals.

This year I epically ended See’s Candy and El Pollo Loco (those were just two of the big ones) for our household. And by “ended” I mean we can no longer partake of them because we steer clear of dyes, artificial colors/flavor, and preservatives. Some argue that if you don’t eat food containing these items all the time then you can splurge every once in a while– however, this is not the case with food and chemical sensitivities.  You don’t want to mess around with a little here or there.  There are some people who are so sensitive that just a little ingested brings on suicidal tendencies. Check out Dr. Doris Rapp’s book, “Is This Your Child? Discovering and Treating Unrecognized Allergies in Children and Adults” for further reading on the subject.

Thankfully, I do not have extreme food/chemical sensitivities. I did justify sitting in poor indoor air quality and slathering my face with what I deemed toxins as it was “just one day” (not enough for bioaccumulation).

When the time came, I slipped into my high-heels shoes that I’d purchased for $5.95 from the Goodwill. I began to regret my frugal choice since I could barely walk without excruciating pain. I thought back to my days of tap dancing in high heels at Christine’s Dance Studio in Orange.  How did I do it? In my younger years, I danced and performed without any second thoughts of pain or future foot damage.

Now, thanks to my affinity for research and in particular Katy Bowman’s book, “Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief: The New Science of Healthy Feet,” I experienced  guilt in my pretty shoes because I knew the damage I was doing to my feet. I felt like a hypocrite but at the same time, scarily, I loved being “glamorized.”

You are What Your Skin Eats

Most likely, I didn’t cause any lasting long term-health effects by putting on a ton of make-up, hair spray, and high-heels one day of the year. (Ok.. I have to admit I actually got dressed up (high-heels, hair, and make-up) twice this past year. Who knows what my record will be for 2015!

In the meantime, I find myself researching make-up companies that don’t use any harsh chemicals or synthetic dyes so I can put on lip-stick and not feel guilty (first world problems of women with brain blogs).

Did you know some natural products contain ground up insects, or carmine, for coloring? There is a whole wave of natural, do-it-yourself, and organic make-up products/sites (some are legit and some just want your money). You’ll have to decide for yourself if you want your products with chemicals, insect juice, or organic botanicals.

What will you be feeding your skin in the new year? Remember to take care of your body’s largest organ.

My initial interest in a smarter approach to beauty was inspired by Paula Begoun’s book, “Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me” (2003, 6th edition).

lip tinty

Myelination in the New Year

Perhaps you are reading this and don’t share my struggle with guilt when it comes to wearing un-regulated make-up or shoes that are not recommended by a leading biomechanist.

Maybe you made a resolution for the new year to eat healthier, spend less, or exercise more? Maybe you make this resolution every year and fail.

Focusing on your brain’s process of myelination might be the key to your success this year.  Myelination is the process that contributes to the overall health of your central nervous system thanks to the myelin that is wrapped to insulate your brain’s cell networks so they can communicate more efficiently.

I’ve been following Christine Comaford on twitter and recently read her article on Forbes.com, The Truth about How Your Brain Gets Smarter.  She states:

Neuroscientists worldwide are increasingly studying myelin and its amazing impact on rapid learning, mastery, neuroplasticity.

Read her article to learn all the details on how to hard wire your brain to create smarter habits.  I liked her emphasis on the myelination process and plan to study it as a way to help increase my creativity in the new year.

On the flip side, there is also a process called demyelination where the axons in the central nervous system lose their myelin sheath. Interestingly, demyelination doesn’t cause the dementia in Alzheimer’s patients.  Scientists think the dementia is caused by amyloid [Beta] protein deposition and loss of neurons and synapses.  Multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterized by demyelination.

Just like fashion trends, your brain can change– sometimes for the better and, sadly, sometimes for the worst.

I hope you’ll focus on ways to improve your brain, like the myelination process, and use your imagination in the new year!

Happy 2015 and here’s to a healthy central nervous system!

Let me know how you plan on helping your brain stay happy and healthy. Say hello on my facebook page or send me a tweet!

@tinabrainblog

Sources & Interesting Reads:

Friedland, Robert P., and Barbara Krosner. “Managing Alzheimer’s Patients.” Science 282.5397 (1998): 2194. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 15 Jan. 2015.

Helms, Kristen. “Improving patient outcomes in multiple sclerosis: considerations for medication therapy management.” Drug Topics Nov. 2013: 34+. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 15 Jan. 2015.

New Studies Show Anxiety, Depression, Guilt Harm the Brain

Depression, overwhelming guilt in preschool years linked to brain changes

Make Your Work Resolutions Stick

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Musical Instruments and Your Brain

By: Tina Davidson

Do you have a favorite instrument? Did you know playing a musical instrument is like giving your brain a full-body workout?

In a previous post, I mentioned the brain benefits of playing the ocarina. Recently, I found the following video about how playing an instrument benefits your brain, thanks to one of my favorite blogs, Inside the Brain. It is a TedEd Lesson worth sharing. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Who knew you’d get better executive function skills just by busting out some tunes? Enjoy the video and here’s to many happy hours of practicing! Here’s what I’ll be playing.

Lanikai Unkuleles

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