A large-scale study from the University of Exeter has found ‘robust evidence’ that being overweight hikes up your risk of developing depression – but as fresh evidence confirms, logging your morning miles is one of the most effective ways to fight back. Exercise jolts your brain into action, and not just because of the endorphin high … ‘Obesity and depression are both major global health challenges, and our study provides the most robust evidence to date that higher BMI causes depression,’ said lead author Jess O’Loughlin. ‘Understanding whether physical or social factors are responsible for this relationship can help inform effective strategies to improve mental health and wellbeing.’ [Read more…] about Studies find growing evidence linking weight, physical activity, neuroplasticity and depression
Welcome to a new edition of SharpBrains’ e‑newsletter, featuring nine scientific reports and industry developments to help promote lifelong brain health.
#1. A must-read, and must-practice: Promote brain plasticity and keep your mind at ease by taking your daily “exercise pill”
#2. If cognitive stimulation came in a pill it’d be worth a quadrillion, give or take a few trillions: Study finds that cognitive activity in old age may delay the onset of dementia by 5 years
#3. “A young child with low cognitive control is also more likely to develop anxiety later on in childhood, while one with a higher capacity will be more resilient to stress. Raising cognitive control could both treat anxiety in young children and potentially prevent it from becoming worse over time” — Helping young brains fight off anxiety by training and raising cognitive control
“In a national survey last fall, 36% of adults in the U.S. – including 61% of young adults – reported feeling “serious loneliness” during the pandemic. Statistics like these suggest people would be itching to hit the social scene. But if the idea of making small talk at a crowded happy hour sounds terrifying to you, you’re not alone. Nearly half of Americans reported feeling uneasy about returning to in-person interaction regardless of vaccination status.”
“The stress of the pandemic has made an existing mental health crisis even more alarming. We’re seeing this firsthand in adolescents in classrooms across the country and in adults who are reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression at a rate four times pre-pandemic levels” — Ian Chiu, Managing Director at Owl Ventures
“The study demonstrates for the first time the beneficial neurobehavioral effect of a single NFB session in adult ADHD, and reinforces the notion that Event-related potentials (ERPs) could serve as useful diagnostic/prognostic markers of executive dysfunction.”
“Currently, early diagnosis of high-risk CP offers the opportunity for early intervention at a critical developmental plasticity window. The earlier we intervene, the better the outcome is.”
“Support for mental health has needed improvement for many years in the UK. The pathways for accessing services are convoluted, waiting lists are extensive, and outcomes are poor over the long term … Coming up with new ways to maintain good mental health, in a preventative way, will be as essential as providing tools for acute care and we believe technology has a significant role to play.” — Dr Peter Bloomfield, FCC’s head of Policy and Research
Wishing you a happy and healthy month of August,
The SharpBrains Team
NB: Please remember that, if you’re looking for some fun and varied cognitive exercise, you can always try these 25 Brain Teasers, Puzzles & Games that SharpBrains readers have enjoyed the most.
As with many other physicians, recommending physical activity to patients was just a doctor chore for me – until a few years ago. That was because I myself was not very active. Over the years, as I picked up boxing and became more active, I got firsthand experience of positive impacts on my mind. I also started researching the effects of dance and movement therapies on trauma and anxiety in refugee children, and I learned a lot more about the neurobiology of exercise. [Read more…] about Promote brain plasticity and keep your mind at ease by taking your daily “exercise pill”
Early intervention for children with or at high risk for cerebral palsy should begin “as soon as possible” in order to build on “a critical developmental time,” according to results of a systematic review published in JAMA Pediatrics. [Read more…] about Systematic review calls for early targeted interventions to help babies and toddlers with cerebral palsy harness time window with maximum brain plasticity
COVID-19 has touched each of us somehow. Many now recognize that caring for our mental health is as essential as addressing the virus if we are to emerge stronger, more connected and more resilient.
The Ancient Greeks said “know thyself” to live soundly, but it is only now that we have the technology to start understanding how our individual experiences arise from the complexity of our brains. [Read more…] about How COVID-related stress can disrupt your brain circuits and nine tips to prevent it
– Hat tip to Barbara Arrowsmith-Young
Mark Rosenzweig’s classic 1996 paper on neuroplasticity:
Psychobiology of plasticity: effects of training and experience on brain and behavior (Behavioural Brain Research):
Abstract: Supporting Hebb’s 1949 hypothesis of use-induced plasticity of the nervous system, our group found in the 1960s that training or differential experience induced neurochemical changes in cerebral cortex of the rat and regional changes in weight of cortex. Further studies revealed changes in cortical thickness [Read more…] about A limerick a day hopefully keeps the neurologist away