Does Intermittent Fasting Make You Smarter?

There is no doubt that intermittent fasting--a practice by which one fasts and feeds at set intervals--has helped many practitioners drop fat, but is it also making these folks smarter? Mark Mattson, the chief scientist at the Laboratory of Neurosciences thinks it might. Mattson’s team studied forty mice. Both groups consumed the same number of calories over the course of the study, but one group took every other day off eating while the other group ate normally.…

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Brains or Brawn: What Does Your Workout Build?

Your brain is a muscle, but new studies are revealing that certain types of exercise build it better than others. A recent study funded by the Academy of Finland examined how different kinds of exercise affect production of a protein called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which is responsible for triggering neurogenesis (the production of new neurons throughout life, which in turn determines how gracefully our brains age from a functional standpoint). The study was performed on a group of rats…

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Can Adults Grow More Neurons?

The short answer is "yes," through a process called neurogenesis. Unsurprisingly, one of the primary areas for neuron growth is the portion of the brain called the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory and learning. Neuroscientists estimate that we generate approximately 700 neurons there a day, and that by middle-age, we've replaced all of the hippocampic neurons we were born with with new ones. Now for the elephant in the room regarding neurogenesis: can we control it? Again,…

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