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Brawn or Brain?

Weightlifters should be discouraged from using anabolic steroids to build muscle mass.

Anabolic steroids, technically known as anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS), are commonly used by weightlifters to "bulk up." Norwegian researchers studied the brains of 82 weightlifters who used AAS for more than a year and compared them with 68 weightlifters who had never used them or other doping substances. Users had less overall gray matter and evidence of accelerated brain aging.

PositiveTip: Avoid the use of AASs and prevent the neurotoxicity of these substances which can decrease cognitive function.

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Marijuana and Your Brain

High-potency marijuana damages key brain structures.

Smoking high-potency cannabis (marijuana) may increase psychosis by five fold. Researchers have found frequent use of this 'skunk' cannabis may structurally interfere with communication between the two brain hemispheres, impacting creativity and cognitive performance. Their findings suggest the more cannabis smoked and the higher the potency, the greater the damage will be.

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Neti Pots Implicated in Rare Ameoba-caused Deaths

Tap water safe for drinking, but may not be for nasal cleaning.

Health department officials from Louisiana have reported two deaths caused by the improper use of neti pots. These increasingly popular devices are used to irrigate, flush, or rinse the sinuses--often with tap water. Tap water may contain Naegleria fowleri, an ameoba that can migrate from the sinuses to the brain and is usually fatal. Typically these rare infections occur from swimming or diving in warm freshwater.

PositiveTip: Use only distilled, sterile or boiled water in neti pots--and rinse the pot well and allow to completely air dry between uses.

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No Link Between Cell Phone Use and Brain Cancer

Largest study ever of cell phone use finds no additional risk for brain cancer.

The way Denmark tracks information about its citizens has made it a unique laboratory for long-term population studies. Taking advantage of this, researchers have found that after adjusting for things like age, years of cellphone use, and income there was no observed link between phone users and cancer. After 15 years of exposure, no dose effect was seen either. 

PositiveTip: While these findings are comforting, it is still probably prudent to avoid constant talking on your cellphone unless using some type of earphone.

 

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Effects of Soy milk as a Dietary Complement

Soy milk lowers cardiovascular risk, extends survival and prevents brain neuron loss.

Rats fed a soy milk supplemented diet showed decreased total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and an increase in HDL cholesterol. Soy milk decreased fat peroxidation in brain, liver and kidney tissue. Animals with soy milk in their diet lost fewer brain neurons and survived significantly longer than those on a standard diet.

PositiveTip: Soy milk can be great way to improve lipid profiles and reduce tissue damage from oxidative stress.

Marijuana Impairs Young Brains

Man smoking marijuanaMarijuana smoking often begins in the early teen years. This is particularly unfortunate as the young brain is particularly prone to damage.

Dr. Staci A. Gruber confirmed this at the 2010 annual session of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, California. She talked about a small but important study of 35 chronic marijuana smokers who averaged 22 years of age. 

Twenty of the subjects started smoking marijuana regularly before the age of 16. The rest delayed regular smoking until age 16 or later. 

The Media and Sleep

report by the Kaiser Family Foundation says that the brain’s ability to plan, organize activities, and pay attention seems to be the first system in the body which suffers from inadequate sleep. Too little sleep or poor quality sleep among youngsters can significantly impair immune function, which regulates the metabolism.

This suggests that inadequate sleep is connected with serious conditions such as obesity and diabetes. Too little sleep can also have a negative effect on creativity and memory, can increase accidents and injuries, contribute to school failure, and increase behavioral problems.

Even missing a very small amount of sleep can cause big problems.

Mind Exercises

"Brain training" is a multi-million dollar industry. These activities are intensive computerized training exercises designed to improve your cognitive ability — to grow your brain.Human brain.

In a recent issue of Nature, researchers recruited more than 11,000 participants and divided them into different study groups. These groups had "brain training" several times each week on tasks that were supposed to improve reasoning, memory, planning, eye-hand coordination and attention span. Each participant was tested on basic mental function before and after the six weeks of training.

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Vitamin D May be Really Good for the Grey Matter!

Slow thinking may be linked to low Vitamin D levels.

Evidence is accumulating that Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to adverse cognitive performance. Research just released by University of Manchester (England) investigators has found that men with higher blood levels of Vitamin D performed consistently better in simple and sensitive neuropsychological tests that assess a person's attention and speed of information processing.