What happens to your brain when you stop exercising?

September 27, 2017

In past neurological studies, when sedentary people began an exercise program, they soon developed augmented blood flow to their brains, even when they were resting and not running or otherwise moving.

More recent work has shown that seniors benefit greatly from regular cardiovascular exercise. Increased structural volume in the hippocampus translates as an improvement in episodic memory performance.

What if you stopped exercising for ten months? Ten years? Researchers speculate that cognitive functioning, especially as it relates to an ability to form and retrieve memories, would be negatively affected.

Current government guidelines suggest either 150 minutes of moderate aerobic intensity or 75 minutes of high aerobic intensity every week. It is also suggested that these minutes are spread out through the week, daily exercise being optimal.

Exercise is particularly important for brain health because it appears to ramp up blood flow through the skull not only during the actual activity, but throughout the rest of the day. Read full article

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Mediterranean Eating Habits Prove Good for the Brain

September 24, 2017

As published by Scientific American, by Dina Fine Maron  

A Mediterranean-style diet may slow memory loss, even if adopted late in life.

A pilot study published in June in the Lancet found that making changes in diet and habits later in life can slow the course of cognitive decline. Scandinavian researchers divided a group of 1,260 people in Finland either to receive standard nutrition and diet advice or to follow a specified exercise plan and eat a modified Mediterranean diet—all while their blood pressure and other health indicators were monitored and, if necessary, treated.

Subjects in the experimental group ended up doing significantly better on standard tests of cognition. “We could really see that [the intervention] can protect against or at least delay cognitive impairments,” says lead study author Miia Kivipelto, director of research and education at the geriatric clinic at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Unexpectedly, she says, those changes were visible within just two years.

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Chocolate Linked to Decreased Risk of Irregular Heart Rhythm

September 20, 2017

As published by Scientific American,  Andrew M. Seaman

People who ate cocoa one to three times a month less likely to be diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, study shows.

“As part of a healthy diet, moderate intake of chocolate is a healthy snack choice,” said lead author Elizabeth Mostofsky, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.




The study cannot say for certain that it was the chocolate that prevented atrial fibrillation, however.

Mostofsky and colleagues write in the journal Heart that eating cocoa and cocoa-containing foods may help heart health because they have a high volume of flavanols, which are compounds that are believed to have anti-inflammatory, blood vessel-relaxing and anti-oxidant properties.

Past studies have that found eating chocolate – especially dark chocolate, which has more flavanols – is tied to better measures of heart health and decreased risk for certain conditions like heart attacks and heart failure, they add.

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5 Tips to Cope with Chronic Pain

September 17, 2017

As published by Scientific American, Ellen Hendriksen, PhD

Tip #2: Be active.  You may think you should rest and protect the painful part of your body. You may be scared to move, for fear of more pain.

While rest is essential for acute pain, like a sprained ankle or a pulled muscle, rest reinforces chronic pain. As your muscles get weak and stiff from inactivity, the pain may actually intensify.

So do what activity you can—slowly ride a bike, walk, swim, do chair exercises. Find a gentle yoga class. Lift light weights. And don’t skip physical therapy.

An important trick is to break up exercise into shorter chunks—try for three 10-minute walks rather than one long walk. Also, try not to leave activity until late in the day—you’ll likely be too tired or simply unmotivated.

Being active has one last benefit: it makes you feel less like a prisoner of your pain. You can set goals, get outside, or team up with friends, all of which stave off depression and hopelessness in addition to reducing your pain.

Tip #4: Don’t push through it.  You may push through and accomplish everything on your to-do list, but the next morning you won’t be able to get out of bed.

Instead of strong-arming your pain, try a technique called pacing. The rule of pacing is to stop an activity before you’re in pain. Go by time, not task. Time how long you can comfortably do activities that are challenging for you, like typing, driving, or cleaning. Once you know your limits, aim to do those activities for less time than your limit, and then take a break before your pain flares.


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Cognitive decline linked to brain blood vessel disease

September 14, 2017


Summary: A new study links cognitive decline and memory loss to cerebral small vessel disease.

Source: Loyola University Health System & neurosciencenews.com .

Memory loss, language problems and other symptoms of cognitive decline are strongly associated with diseases of the small blood vessels in the brain, a study has found.

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As published in BIAOR’s Headliner newsletter: Andrew’s Story

September 13, 2017


Andrew’s therapy team shares his inspirational story of TBI recovery, and learning to walk again.

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Does consuming low-fat dairy increase Parkinson’s risk?

September 10, 2017

Summary: According to researchers, people who consumed at least three servings of low fat dairy a day had a 34% higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Source: AAN & neurosciencenews.com

Consuming at least three servings of low-fat dairy a day is associated with a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease compared to consuming less than one serving a day, according to a large study published in the June 7, 2017, online issue of Neurology. In addition, drinking more than one serving of low-fat or skim milk per day is associated with a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease compared to drinking less than one serving per week. The study results do not show that dairy products cause Parkinson’s disease–they just show an association.

The overall conclusions from these studies was that frequent consumption of dairy products was associated with a modest increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.

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