Alcohol Use While Breastfeeding

An Australian observational study followed more than 5000 children from infancy to 11 years old--approximately 4700 were ever breast fed. Infants whose mothers drank alcohol while breast-feeding had lower cognitive scores by age 6. These differences were no longer significant by age 10-11, and were independent of prenatal alcohol use. PositiveTip: Alcohol use while breastfeeding can significantly impair the…

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Marijuana and Your Brain

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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Nutritional Supplements and Cognitive Function in Seniors

Seniors were followed for 5 years to determine if nutritional supplements might impact cognitive function. Study participants were randomized to receive long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplements (omega-3s) and/or lutein/zeaxanthin, or a placebo. Over the course of the study the annual change in cognition did not differ significantly between groups. Nutritional supplements are not food, and…

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Two Fails for Multivitamin Supplements

Almost 6000 male physicians 65 and older received either a daily multivitamin supplement or placebo. Testing after 8.5 years of follow-up showed no significant difference in verbal memory or global cognition. In yet another study, 1700 adults aged 50 or older were given a multivitamin or placebo beginning 6+ weeks following a heart attack. After…

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Olive Oil or Nuts May Protect Brain

A randomized, blinded trial in Spain has found that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or mixed nuts may improve cognition compared with a low-fat diet. This study followed 522 adults at risk for vascular events for 6.5 years. Olive oil and nuts contain antioxidant properties that may protect against neurodegeneration caused by oxidative…

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Is It Really Safe for Mothers to Drink?

A series of articles by Danish researchers found that when 1600 children at age 5 were tested for intelligence, attention, and executive function, there were no significant differences between children whose mothers had ingested small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy and those who had not. However, the authors still recommended that women should not drink…

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Formula Supplemented With Fatty Acids Offers Little Benefit

A meta-analysis by researchers at Yale University shows that infant formula supplemented with long-chain polyunstatured fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA), was no better than other formulas for infant cognition. The Yale researchers compared supplemented and unsupplemented soy and cow's milk-based formulas.PositiveTip: Through the first year, breastfeeding is the optimal infant nutrition.…

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Soy Formula Good for Baby’s Cognition

Comparing infants fed cow's milk-based formula or soy-based formula, researchers, using standardized developmental testing found little or no differences. Breastfed infants had a slight advantage on some measures when compared to the formula fed groups, but these differences were very small in magnitude.PositiveTip: If human breast milk is not an option, soy or cow's milk…

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Fast-paced Cartoon Watching Impairs Kids Attention and Cognition

A small, randomized, controlled study found that 4 year olds who watched fast-paced cartoons for only 9 minutes did significantly worse on tests of attention and cognition than those who spent the same amount of time drawing with crayons. How long do these effects last? More research is needed.PositiveTip: Allowing your young children to watch…

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Did You Miss the Clown on a Unicycle?

On January 26, 2010 the U.S. Department of Transportation issued regulations prohibiting bus or truck drivers from sending text messages while operating commercial vehicles. Those who choose to ignore these rules may be subject to a whopping fine of up to $2750.00. An increasing number of states are banning texting while driving as well. Remember…

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