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Wed, 29 Mar 2017
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Wakeful Resting Linked To Improved Memory

New research from the US shows that resting while awake appears to strengthen memory, revealing new insights into how forms of rest other than sleep, affect the memory consolidation process.

The findings suggest that even though it may not look like it, when we rest while awake, our brains are still working, something we may find hard to accept in an information technological world that is on the go 24/7.

You can read about the findings of the study, by Dr Lila Davachi, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science at New York University, and colleagues, in the 28 January issue of the journal Neuron.

Info

Listen up: hearing loss warning as MP3 users pump up the volume

A new survey shows that more than half of MP3 users are listening to their devices at dangerously high volume levels for up to two hours a day and are running the risk of hearing loss.

Of a sample of 1,000 adults who were interviewed for a Red C poll, 11 per cent of those who owned a personal music device said they had experienced either ringing in their ears or "dull" hearing as a result of listening through headphones.

More than a third of the same group said that they listened to their MP3 or another device for longer than an hour a day through headphones, according to results from the survey, which was commissioned by Hidden Hearing, a hearing aid supplier.

Audiologist Keith Ross said the survey strengthened data from Hidden Hearing centres which indicates that more young people are having their hearing tested than was previously the case.

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Radiation Therapy Harms the Brain, Causing Memory and Attention Problems

Radiation therapy for the treatment of brain tumors may lead to cognitive decline later in life, according to a study conducted by researchers from VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and published in The Lancet Neurology.

Scientists have known for some time that radiation therapy can damage healthy brain tissue, but prior research found no immediate negative effects from the treatment. In the new study, researchers conducted brain function tests on 65 patients who had undergone treatment for low-grade glioma 12 years previously.

Low-grade glioma is one of the most common forms of brain tumor. It is non-carcinogenic, and can often be removed with surgery. However, many doctors use radiotherapy following surgery.

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Cocaine, Spices, and Hormones Now Being Found in Drinking Water

A University of Washington research team recently released the results of a study it conducted on contaminant residue in the waters of Puget Sound in Washington State. Various spices, flavorings and other substances are being identified as making their way out of water treatment plants and back into the world's water supply.

Winter holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas bring extra amounts of cinnamon while chocolate and vanilla are especially popular on the weekends. Likewise, caramel corn residue and waffle-cone pieces are particularly excessive around the Independence Day. The most popular contaminant found in the sound is artificial vanilla flavor which is found at an average of 14 milligrams per liter of water.

Around the world, scientists are finding all sorts of things from pharmaceutical drugs to illegal drugs in water supplies despite rigorous efforts to remove them at water treatment facilities. Piggy-backing a report from last year that found trace levels of pharmaceutical drugs in most U.S. water supplies, this report highlights even further how easily water is being contaminated by various human elements.

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Prayer Increases Forgiveness, Study Shows

We have all been guilty of a transgression at one time or another. That's because we're not perfect. We all commit hurtful acts, violate trust, and hope for forgiveness.

That's simply a fact, and here's another one: Nine out of 10 Americans say that they pray -- at least on occasion. Florida State University psychologist Nathaniel Lambert put these two facts together and came up with an idea: Why not take all that prayer and direct it at the people who have wronged us? Is it possible that directed prayer might spark forgiveness in those doing the praying -- and in the process preserve relationships?

Lambert and his colleagues decided to test this scientifically in two experiments appearing in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. In the first, they had a group of men and women pray one single prayer for their romantic partner's well being. Others -- the experimental controls -- they simply described their partner, speaking into a tape recorder.

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Barefoot Running: How Humans Ran Comfortably and Safely Before the Invention of Shoes

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© Harvard University
"Running barefoot or in minimal shoes is fun but uses different muscles," said Harvard professor Daniel Lieberman. "If you've been a heel-striker all your life, you have to transition slowly to build strength in your calf and foot muscles."
New research is casting doubt on the old adage, "All you need to run is a pair of shoes."

Scientists have found that those who run barefoot, or in minimal footwear, tend to avoid "heel-striking," and instead land on the ball of the foot or the middle of the foot. In so doing, these runners use the architecture of the foot and leg and some clever Newtonian physics to avoid hurtful and potentially damaging impacts, equivalent to two to three times body weight, that shod heel-strikers repeatedly experience.

"People who don't wear shoes when they run have an astonishingly different strike," says Daniel E. Lieberman, professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and co-author of a paper appearing this week in the journal Nature. "By landing on the middle or front of the foot, barefoot runners have almost no impact collision, much less than most shod runners generate when they heel-strike. Most people today think barefoot running is dangerous and hurts, but actually you can run barefoot on the world's hardest surfaces without the slightest discomfort and pain. All you need is a few calluses to avoid roughing up the skin of the foot. Further, it might be less injurious than the way some people run in shoes."

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Antidepressants: The Emperor's New Drugs?

Antidepressants are supposed to be the magic bullet for curing depression. But are they? I used to think so. As a clinical psychologist, I used to refer depressed clients to psychiatric colleagues to have them prescribed. But over the past decade, researchers have uncovered mounting evidence that they are not. It seems that we have been misled. Depression is not a brain disease, and chemicals don't cure it.

My awareness that the chemical cure of depression is a myth began in 1998, when Guy Sapirstein and I set out to assess the placebo effect in the treatment of depression. Instead of doing a brand new study, we decided to pool the results of previous studies in which placebos had been used to treat depression and analyze them together. What we did is called a meta-analysis, and it is a common technique for making sense of the data when a large number of studies have been done to answer a particular question.

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Studies: An Idle Brain May Be Ripe for Learning

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© Getty Images
Why is it so hard to remember even things we don't want to forget? The problem, suggests a growing body of research, may be that we're thinking about them too much in the first place.

Popular wisdom once held that a mind at rest was like an engine idling - not much going on under the hood. To glean insights into how the brain worked, scientists would study only volunteers in action, measuring their physiological or biochemical responses as they completed specific mental tasks. But more recently, thanks in large part to the proliferation of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which precisely maps brain activity based on changes in blood-oxygen levels, neuroscientists have found that important activity in the brain - related in particular to memory and learning - may occur when it is at rest.

Many studies over the past decade have suggested that sleep is crucial to the consolidation of memories and learning; people who take a nap after learning a new task, for instance, remember it better than those who don't snooze.

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Magnesium Adds Muscle to Brain Performance

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© Getty Images
Magnesium is plentiful in spinach.
A study shows that taking magnesium supplements can boost memory and learning. This study also supports the idea that a magnesium deficiency may cause faster deterioration of memory as we age.

In a published study in the journal Neuron, learning and memory improvements of old and young rats were observed by scientists when magnesium dosages were administered.

This reported finding in Science Daily also supports the scientific belief that inadequate magnesium can lead to quicker deterioration of memory as humans age.

It is reported that diet has a "significant impact on cognitive capacity". Specifically, the impact is seen in the communication of information between brain neurons.

Tsinghua University in Beijing examined the effects of magnesium supplementation and found that it promoted the "synaptic plasticity" or neural capacity in a culture of brain cells.

Syringe

Bill Gates Calls for "Decade of Vaccines"

U.S. philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates say their foundation will spend a record $10 billion over 10 years to develop vaccines for AIDS and other diseases.

"We must make this the decade of vaccines," Bill Gates said Friday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The commitment is the largest pledge ever made by a charitable foundation to a single cause, The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported.

Comment: These contributions have mainly benefited large corporations and pharmaceuticals. If Gates really wanted to help the masses and prevent diseases and deaths all he needed to do is set up a system that distributes the surplus food stocks to the millions of starving people and use his influence to prevent the US war machine from implementing it's "War on Terror" which has killed untold millions - not push vaccines to "prevent AIDS" when it's the vaccine itself that's most likely responsible for the epidemic to begin with. And beware those flying vaccines.