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Mind-altering microbes: Probiotic bacteria may lessen anxiety and depression -- ScienceDaily Probiotic bacteria have the potential to alter brain neurochemistry and treat anxiety and depression-related disorders according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research, carried out by Dr Javier Bravo, and Professor John Cryan at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre in University College Cork, along with collaborators from the Brain-Body Institute at McMaster University in Canada, demonstrated that mice fed with Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1 showed significantly fewer stress, anxiety and depression-related behaviours than those fed with just broth. Moreover, ingestion of the bacteria resulted in significantly lower levels of the stress-induced hormone, corticosterone. "This study identifies potential brain targets and a pathway through which certain gut organisms can alter mouse brain chemistry and behaviour.

Nutritional supplement improves cognitive performance in older adults, study finds -- ScienceDaily Declines in the underlying brain skills needed to think, remember and learn are normal in aging. In fact, this cognitive decline is a fact of life for most older Americans. Therapies to improve the cognitive health of older adults are critically important for lessening declines in mental performance as people age. While physical activity and cognitive training are among the efforts aimed at preventing or delaying cognitive decline, dietary modifications and supplements have recently generated considerable interest. Now a University of South Florida (USF) study reports that a formula of nutrients high in antioxidants and other natural components helped boost the speed at which the brains of older adults processed information. The USF-developed nutritional supplement, containing extracts from blueberries and green tea combined with vitamin D3 and amino acids, including carnosine, was tested by the USF researchers in a clinical trial enrolling 105 healthy adults, ages 65 to 85.

Science Daily: Thunder Vine Significantly Increases Leptin An extract from the thunder god vine, which has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine, reduces food intake and causes up to a 45% decrease in body weight in obese mice. The weight-loss compound, called Celastrol, produces its potent effects by enhancing the action of an appetite-suppressing hormone called leptin. The findings, published May 21 in Cell, are an early indicator that Celastrol could be developed into a drug for the treatment of obesity. "During the last two decades, there has been an enormous amount of effort to treat obesity by breaking down leptin resistance, but these efforts have failed," says senior study author Umut Ozcan, an endocrinologist atBoston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Leptin is a fat-cell-derived hormone that signals to the brain when the body has enough fuel and energy. In future studies, Ozcan and his team will investigate the molecular mechanisms by which Celastrol improves leptin sensitivity and produces weight loss.

Literal Smart Dust Opens Brain-Computer Pathway to “Spy on Your Brain” Source: Activist Post Some might have heard about Smart Dust; nanoparticles that can be employed as sensor networks for a rangeof security and environmental applications. Now, however, literal Smart Dust for the brain is being proposed as the next step toward establishing a brain-computer interface. The system is officially called “neural dust” and works to “monitor the brain from the inside.” This paper explores the fundamental system design trade-offs and ultimate size, power, and bandwidth scaling limits of neural recording systems. A network of tiny implantable sensors could function like an MRI inside the brain, recording data on nearby neurons and transmitting it back out. The investment in neuroscience has received a $100 million dollar commitment via Obama’s BRAIN project, while Europe has committed $1.3 billion to build a supercomputer replica of the brain in a similarly comprehensive and detailed fashion as the Human Genome Project mapped DNA.

businessinsider SuppVersity - Nutrition and Exercise Science for Everyone Brain Images Reveal the Secret to Higher IQ New research suggests that the layer of insulation coating neural wiring in the brain plays a critical role in determining intelligence. In addition, the quality of this insulation appears to be largely genetically determined, providing further support for the idea that IQ is partly inherited. The findings, which result from a detailed study of twins’ brains, hint at how ever-improving brain-imaging technology could shed light on some of our most basic characteristics. “The study answers some very fundamental questions about how the brain expresses intelligence,” says Philip Shaw, a child psychiatrist at the National Institute of Mental Health, in Bethesda, MD, who was not involved in the research. The neural wires that transmit electrical messages from cell to cell in the brain are coated with a fatty layer called myelin. Thompson and his colleagues took DTI scans of 92 pairs of fraternal and identical twins.

Nootropic Brain Drugs Rise in Popularity for Today’s Cutthroat Corporate Climbers Andrew started his college graduation day at 6 a.m. with a wakefulness agent called modafinil, sometimes known as Provigil—it was the first time he remembers nootropic brain drugs having such a startling effect. He was juggling family and celebrations along with two ceremonies, engineering in the morning and economics in the afternoon, with a band competition in between, which he won. For 22 waking hours he was happy, alert, firing on all cylinders, oblivious to any fatigue. “At that point, it was like, ‘Holy crap, this stuff can be very powerful,’ ” Andrew told the Observer. Now that he’s a corporate strategist working with health care companies on their mergers, Andrew, who requested we use a pseudonym, will sometimes call upon some chemical assistance for business trips requiring long flights, client meetings, back-to-back dinners and work hours back at the hotel. Modafinil: the secret behind success? Rumor has it that a new 'smart drug' is taken over Wall street and Silicon Valley.

6 Nutritional Supplements and Foods That Can Improve Your Health With so many nutritional remedies available, it's tough to sort out which ones are most beneficial to your health. In a new book, Nutricures (Rodale Books, April 2010), author Alice Feinstein, who has been a freelance health journalist for 20 years, and the editors of Prevention magazine, present what their research and interviews with experts determined to be the most effective foods and supplements, and explain which diseases and conditions they're most helpful for. U.S. News asked Feinstein, who spoke with doctors from various specialties to gather information and advice for the book, to list her favorites. Her choices: [Read Vitamins and Supplements: Do They Work?] Coenzyme Q10 Coenzyme Q10 is made naturally by the body, but as you age, your body's supply of this antioxidant may decline. [Read Resveratrol and CoQ10 Supplements Are Popular—But Unproven.] Vitamin D [Read Why You May Not Need That Vitamin D Test After All.] Omega-3 fatty acids Lutein and zeaxanthin

The Bad & The Good in Statins & Alzheimer's Statins certainly seem to lower the risk of Alzheimer's. On the other hand, they can sometimes cause temporary memory loss, which does go away if one stops the statins. Find out what you need to know to strike the right balance. As with any medication, the more you know about statins, the more ability you have to help your doctor give you the best treatment possible. THE BAD: Statin-Associated Memory Loss Doctors found that some patients to whom they precribed statins ended up reporting memory loss assoicated with the drug. It certainly did not happen to everyone. Although there was a clear association, no one has been able to prove a cause-and-effect relationship. Dementia-expert Dr. "Clearly, if lowering the dose made the problem better, then that suggests the statin was the cause. THE GOOD: High dose statins prevent dementia High doses of statins prevent dementia in older people, according to research presented at the ESC Congress by Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. The New York Times

Is This Your Brain on Smart Drugs? by Deuce of Clubs (First published in Java Magazine, nov1996) Years ago, after suffering an accident-induced concussion, I (along with everyone around me) suffered through a period where I laughed pretty much all the time, at just about anything. Fortunately it was only temporary, but for a few months there I was a giggling dork, liable at any moment to fall into an uncontrollable laughing jag. One day my boss told me an old joke that made me laugh so hard I started crying (so much so that he panicked and sent me home). I guess some things are funnier after you've been hit on the head. What smart drugs do Though descriptive, "smart drugs" is a somewhat unfortunate phrase, smacking of snake oil and panaceas, and sounding about as scientific as Roger Ramjet's proton pills, or Popeye's spinach. A term that better describes these substances is steadily gaining currency: nootropic agents—nootropics, for short. How smart drugs work Bold claims—is there anything to them? Further research

Metabolic Syndrome and Magnesium Balance | Nutritional Magnesium Association The late Dr. Larry Resnick of Cornell University, involved in heart and magnesium research for over twenty years, described cardiovascular metabolic syndrome as a condition characterized by a high calcium-to-magnesium ratio. Too much calcium automatically creates a magnesium deficiency.1 Americans in general have a high calcium-to-magnesium ratio in their diet and consequently in their bodies. The U.S. ratio in this study is said to be 3.5:1, Finland’s 4:1.8 (With our dietary emphasis on a high calcium intake without sufficient magnesium, according to magnesium expert Dr. According to Dr. The magnesium deficiency in syndrome X comes from a combination of our magnesium-deficient diet and the well documented loss of magnesium in the urine caused by elevated insulin. The cornerstone of both prevention and treatment of Metabolic syndrome, along with diet, is to restore magnesium to normal levels. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND References: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

A New Treatment for Alzheimer's? A drug commonly used to treat arthritis caused a dramatic and rapid improvement in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, according to physicians in California. However, scientists and others not involved in the work worry that the report, which was based on trials in a few patients and hasn’t been independently confirmed, may offer little more than false hope for Alzheimer’s sufferers and their families. Alzheimer’s patients injected with the anti-inflammatory drug etanercept–marketed as Enbrel–showed dramatic improvements in their functioning within minutes, according to Edward Tobinick, director of the Institute for Neurological Research, a private medical facility in Los Angeles where the patients were treated, and an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. “The patients improve literally before your eyes,” says Tobinick, who began using etanercept in Alzheimer’s patients three years ago.