Tag Archives: Neuroscience

Diet: “Skeptical” NY Times Health Writer Endorses Numerous Health Benefits Of 16+ Hour Fasting

From a New York Times article by Jane E. Brody (Feb 17, 2020):

“It takes 10 to 12 hours to use up the calories in the liver before a metabolic shift occurs to using stored fat,” Dr. Mattson told me. After meals, glucose is used for energy and fat is stored in fat tissue, but during fasts, once glucose is depleted, fat is broken down and used for energy.

The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting Jane E Brody New York Times February 17 2020I was skeptical, but it turns out there is something to be said for practicing a rather prolonged diurnal fast, preferably one lasting at least 16 hours. Mark P. Mattson, neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, explained that the liver stores glucose, which the body uses preferentially for energy before it turns to burning body fat.

For example, human studies of intermittent fasting found that it improved such disease indicators as insulin resistance, blood fat abnormalities, high blood pressure and inflammation, even independently of weight loss. In patients with multiple sclerosis, intermittent fasting reduced symptoms in just two months, a research team in Baltimore reported in 2018.

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Top New Science Podcasts: NIH Grant Diversity, Post-Traumatic Stress Memory Suppression (ScienceMag)

scimag_pc_logo_120_120 (2)On this week’s show, senior correspondent Jeffrey Mervis joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant program that aims to encourage diversity at the level of university faculty with the long-range goal of increasing the diversity of NIH grant recipients.

Sarah also talks with Pierre Gagnepain, a cognitive neuroscientist at INSERM, the French biomedical research agency, about the role of memory suppression in post-traumatic stress disorder. Could people that are better at suppressing memories be more resilient to the aftermath of trauma?

New Books On Ageing: “The Changing Mind” By Daniel Levitin (February 2020)

The Changing Mind A Neuroscientist's Guide To Ageing Well Daniel Levitin Feb 2020Challenging widely held assumptions about the diminishing abilities of an ageing brain, leading neuroscientist Daniel Levitin argues that we should view getting older as a beneficial experience rather than a form of cognitive entropy. Persuasively argued and consistently surprising, The Changing Mind will alter your perception of the relationship between age and intellect.

We have long been encouraged to think of old age as synonymous with deterioration. Yet, recent studies show that our decision-making skills improve as we age and our happiness levels peak in our eighties. What really happens to our brains as we get older?

More of us are living into our eighties than ever before. In The Changing Mind, neuroscientist, psychologist and internationally-bestselling author Daniel Levitin invites us to dramatically shift our understanding of growing older, demonstrating its many cognitive benefits. He draws on cutting-edge research to challenge common and flawed beliefs, including assumptions around memory loss and the focus on lifespan instead of ‘healthspan’.

Levitin reveals the evolving power of the human brain from infancy to late adulthood. Distilling the findings from over 4000 papers, he explains the importance of personality traits, lifestyle, memory and community on ageing, offering actionable tips that we can all start now, at any age.

Featuring compelling insights from individuals who have thrived far beyond the conventional age of retirement, this book offers realistic guidelines and practical cognition-enhancing tricks for everyone to follow during every decade of their life. This is a radical exploration of what we all can learn from those who age joyously.

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Video Interviews: Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin On Aging Well (PBS)

As a neuroscientist, professor emeritus of psychology, musician and best-selling author, Daniel Levitin has extensively studied the brain and its impact on aging. His latest book, “Successful Aging,” explores the questions: what happens in the brain as we age and what are the keys to aging well? NewsHour Weekend’s Christopher Booker recently spoke to Levitin to learn more.

Daniel Levitin website

PBS Newshour episode website

Studies: Disrupted Sleep Cycles & Dopamine Linked; Craving “High-Calorie Food” & Obesity Are Result

From a NeuroscienceNews.com online release article (01/02/20):

During the years 1976 through 1980, 15% of U.S. adults were obese. Today, about 40%of adults are obese. Another 33% are overweight.

“But, of course, food is now abundant, and our next meal is as close as the kitchen, or the nearest fast-food drive-through, or right here on our desk. Often, these foods are high in fats, sugars, and therefore calories, and that’s why they taste good. It’s easy to overconsume, and, over time, this takes a toll on our health.”

Current Biology Journal Dopamine Signaling and Weight Gain January 2 2020
Dopamine Signaling in the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Enables Weight Gain Associated with Hedonic Feeding – Current Biology January 2, 2020

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In a study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, Güler and his colleagues demonstrate that the pleasure center of the brain that produces the chemical dopamine, and the brain’s separate biological clock that regulates daily physiological rhythms, are linked, and that high-calorie foods – which bring pleasure – disrupt normal feeding schedules, resulting in overconsumption. Using mice as study models, the researchers mimicked the 24/7 availability of a high-fat diet, and showed that anytime snacking eventually results in obesity and related health problems.

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New Neuroscience Books: “Physical Intelligence” By Scott Grafton (Jan 2020)