Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mindfulness Training

" Building Fit Minds Under Stress "

Mindfulness Training, a form of meditation, has been shown to improve mood and working memory, according to a University of Pennsylvania led study. "Mindfulness is the ability to be aware and attentive of the present moment without emotional reactivity or volatility."

The study emphasized integrating mindfulness exercises such as attention on the breath and midful movement into pre-deployment training for Marines being deployed to Iraq. These mindfulness skills were to regulate symptoms in the body and mind following an experience of extreme stress. The findings indicate that engaging in mindfulness exercises on a regular basis may improve mind-fitness. "Building mind fitness with mindfulness training may help anyone who must maintain peak performance in the face of extremely stressful circumstances."


Monday, February 22, 2010

Sleep and Memory

In a HealthDay article titled " Afternoon Nap Might Make You Smarter ", studies are showing the taking a nap after studying can improve your performance on tests. Apparently, a phase of non-dreaming sleep boost memory.

This type of research is not new. In an article by Dr. Shannon Moffett titled " Sleep, Tetris, Memory and the Brain ", she discusses her experiences with sleep researcher Dr. Robert Stickgold. His research has shown that sleep improves both procedural memroy and declarative memory. Procedural memory is the type of memory that is created when you practice a musical instrument or learn to play tennis. Declarative memory has to do with facts such as where you put your keys. According to Dr. Moffett, just sleeping on new information somehow cements the new info into your mind so that it is resistant to interference.

Check out these short videos for more information on Dr. Stickgold's research on sleep - Why Sleep Matters.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mediterranean Diet And Your Brain

In the article titled " Mediterranean Diet May Help Keep You Smarter ", it is reported that adhering to a Mediterranean Diet - olive oil, whole grains, fruit, vegetables and fish - may protect aging brains from damage linked to cognitive problems. This is the result of a study conducted by Dr. Nikolaos Scarmeas of Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

The study involved 712 men and women averaging 80 years of age. People who followed a Mediterranean Diet moderately well were 21 percent less likely to have brain damage than pelple who did not follow a Mediterranean Diet regimen. Those who followed this diet most closely had a 36 percent reduced risk compared to those who followed it the least.

In a earlier study, it was shown that a Mediterranean Diet combined with exercise could help lower the risk for Alzheimer's Disease. This is probably the result that those who eat the healthiest have the fewer number of brain infarcts associated with cognitive decline.

"Boosting plant food intake can improve heart health and reduce body weight, but now it appears it may aid brain health."