While soccer players primarily use their feet over the course of a game, sometimes it is appropriate for them to use their head as well. While heading a soccer ball can be an effective move, it also has the potential to cause harm to players, based on new research from Yeshiva University's Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Researchers from this institution found that soccer players who head the ball on a regular basis may also be more likely to develop brain abnormalities that are similar to those found among people with mild traumatic brain injuries. These findings are troubling, as players head the ball six to twelve times per game, on average.
"Our study provides compelling preliminary evidence that brain changes resembling mild traumatic brain injury are associated with frequently heading a soccer ball over many years," said Michael L. Lipton of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who worked on the study. "While further research is clearly needed, our findings suggest that controlling the amount of heading that people do may help prevent brain injury that frequent heading appears to cause."
Based on these findings, individuals who play soccer and are known to head the ball may want to take an IQ test before their next game to see if it is worth it.
If a heart beats slower or faster than usual, it could be a sign that something is wrong with this vital organ. According to the results of a new University of Alabama at Birmingham study, an irregular heartbeat could signal cognitive problems as well.
Based on this research, which appears in the American Academy of Neurology's "Neurology" medical journal, individuals who have atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat, may also be at risk of developing memory and thinking problems. To arrive at these results, researchers used data from 5,150 participants. The 11 percent of individuals who developed an irregular heartbeat also tended to receive lower scores on memory and thinking tests.
"Problems with memory and thinking are common for people as they get older," said study author Evan L. Thacker. "Our study shows that on average, problems with memory and thinking may start earlier or get worse more quickly in people who have atrial fibrillation. This means that heart health is an important factor related to brain health."
With this information in mind, individuals who have an irregular heartbeat may want to take an IQ test to see if they should be concerned about their brain, as well as their heart.
Research has long indicated that individuals who earn low scores on an IQ test tend to be at a higher risk of having poor health and a shorter lifespan. However, scientists have struggled to define this relationship, as factors like socioeconomic status and health-related behaviors cannot fully account for such a strong link, ScienceDaily reports.
To further examine the connection between health and IQ, researchers recently used digital retinal imaging to examine the small blood vessels of individuals' retinas. In doing so, they can better understand the vascular conditions in people's brains.
The results of the study, which were published in "Psychological Science," showed that individuals who had wider retinal venules had lower IQs and also showed evidence of general cognitive issues, like lower scores on various neuropsychological functioning exams. Interestingly, people who had wider venules at age 38 also had lower IQs when they were children.
This suggests that changes in vascular health and cognitive function could start even before the onset of dementia and other forms of cognitive decline. In the future, this could help researchers better understand how to treat and prevent dementia, which is a significant health concern in the U.S. Today, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's, one of the most common forms of dementia, making it a leading cause of death in the U.S., the Alzheimer's Association states.
What people eat and drink has a major impact on their health, whether they are young or old. For this reason, individuals need to be careful of what they put inside their body. After all, not only can the food and beverages people consume affect the health of their heart, liver and other vital organs, but their cognitive abilities as well.
If people believe that what they eat is keeping their brain from reaching its full potential, it may be time for them to take an IQ test. Those who are not satisfied with the results of this assessment can make dietary changes that may lead to cognitive improvements.
Before individuals put together a new eating plan, they may want to consider some of these results from past studies:
Mediterranean diet keeps brains healthy
The Mediterranean diet has a reputation for being one of the healthier eating routines people can choose. According to the Mayo Clinic, this diet places a focus on eating fruits, vegetables and other plant-based foods, and uses olive oil and canola oil instead of butter. Past research has linked the Mediterranean diet to a reduced risk of heart disease, but what about its effects on the brain?
As it turns out, the Mediterranean diet's impact on the brain can be quite strong, especially among older individuals. In a recent study, researchers from the University of Navarra in Spain worked with 522 people between the ages of 55 and 80 who were at high risk of developing certain diseases and conditions. While trying to learn what effects the Mediterranean diet has on these study participants, the researchers noticed cognitive differences between subjects who were placed on this diet and those who were not.
After six and a half years, individuals who followed a Mediterranean diet tended to have higher cognitive test scores than those who were put on a low-fat diet. While the group researchers worked with was small, they believe their findings show how effective a healthy diet can be at protecting the aging brain.
Omega-3 fatty acids can give children a strong start
While the Mediterranean diet may help adults stay sharp as they get older, children could benefit from a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Many foods contain Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish like salmon and sardines, and nuts like almonds and walnuts. Parents who want their children to grow up to be brainy adults may want to familiarize themselves with these foods, as exposure to them could influence how well kids learn growing up.
A report that was recently published in the Association for Psychological Science's journal, "Perspectives on Psychological Science" states that Omega-3 fatty acids can have a positive effect on children's intelligence.
When pregnant women and newborns were put on diets rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, kids' IQ typically increased by more than 3.5 points. This is due to the fact that these fatty acids foster nerve cell development.
Foods that may help
If individuals are neither newborns nor senior citizens, but are still concerned about their IQ dropping over time, they can try eating foods that are known to be good for the brain.
According to The Daily Mail, starting the day off with a bowl of cereal may help, as some brands are fortified with folic acid, which could prevent individuals from developing Alzheimer's disease. Liver may not be for every eater, but it certainly contains a lot of iron, which can protect against a drop in IQ.
Ultimately, if people are unhappy with their IQ test results, it is never too late to revamp their diet and try for a better score a few years later.
For people of all ages, consuming calories is essential to getting through the day. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the calories found in food and beverages help individuals work, play and sleep. At the same time, consuming too many calories could be bad for the body.
Recently, researchers from the Picower Institute For Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, found that reducing caloric intake may preserve brain function as individuals grow older. This study, which appears in "The Journal of Neuroscience," follows past research that linked a reduction in caloric intake to fewer neurological changes.
To learn more, the researchers worked with mice that had been genetically engineered to undergo brain changes linked to neurodegeneration at a rapid pace. For three months, the study subjects were put on a diet that had 30 percent fewer calories than what they normally ate. During this time frame, there was a noticeable delay in neurodegeneration.
With these findings in mind, individuals who have reduced their caloric intake may be curious to learn if their eating habits have influenced their cognitive function in any way. To find out, they could take an IQ test.
Berries, like many other fruits, are known to do the body good. Blueberries, for instance, are filled with compounds that scientists believe may prevent certain chronic diseases, according to the Mayo Clinic. As time passes, researchers continue to learn more about the health effects of consuming berries.
In a recent study, researchers from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and Tufts University's Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging set out to learn more about berries' protective properties. The researchers fed rats berries two months before the rodents were exposed to radiation. In this study, the radiation served as a model for accelerated aging.
The researchers found that rats that were on the berry diet experienced "significant protection" against radiation 30 days later. Although these findings relate to rats, the researchers plan to conduct a study involving humans between the ages of 60 and 75.
"We have a lot of animal work that suggests these compounds will protect the aged brain and reverse some behavioral deficits," said Barbara Shukitt-Hale, the lead investigator for the human study. "We are hoping it will translate to human studies as well."
With this research in mind, individuals who consume berries on a regular basis may want to take an IQ test and see what effects they are having on their cognitive abilities.
If adults find themselves becoming forgetful as they grow older, they may want to consider adding some rosemary to their meals. Recently, researchers from the University of Northumbria found that this herb may be just what people need to improve their prospective memory, or the ability to remember tasks they have to complete in the future.
This research, which was presented at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society in Harrogate, England, focused on the effects rosemary essential oil's aroma can have on the brain. During the study, the researchers spread rosemary essential oil throughout a testing room using an aroma steam fan diffuser. Then, 66 individuals were asked to enter either the rosemary room or a separate room without any scent to have their prospective memory abilities assessed.
Of the two study groups, those who had their prospective memory tested in the rosemary room performed better than participants in the scentless room.
Based on the results of this study, adults who are exposed to rosemary on a regular basis may want to take an IQ test and see if this herb's aroma is having any effect on their cognitive abilities.
Past research has shown that when older adults engage in different forms of activity, their brain stands to benefit. For example, the National Institutes of Health's NIHSeniorHealth website states that regular exercise is important to people's mental health. Now, there is new research that provides more evidence of the powerful effects physical activity can have on the brains of older adults.
In a recent University of California, San Francisco study, researchers worked with 126 inactive older adults who had made complaints about their cognitive abilities. During a 12-week trial, these individuals were asked to engage in different combinations of mental and physical activity.
Overall, there were cognitive improvements across the board. The only problem was this outcome provided researchers with no significant differences between the study groups.
"These results may suggest that in this study population, the amount of activity is more important than the type of activity, because all groups participated in both mental activity and exercise for [60 minutes per day, three days per week] for 12 weeks," said the study's authors. "Alternatively, the cognitive improvements observed may be due to practice effects."
Based on the findings of this study, it is clear different types of activity can influence the brain. As a result, older adults who exercise regularly or challenge their mind may want to take an IQ test.
Not only are cold sores unappealing to the eye, but the virus that causes them can also affect important organs, such as the liver and lungs, according to the Mayo Clinic. Based on new research, which appears in the American Academy of Neurology journal "Neurology," the virus may also lead to cognitive problems in those who have it.
According to a study by researchers from the Columbia University Medical Center and the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, the virus that causes cold sores could be associated with memory problems. The researchers arrived at these findings after testing the thinking and memory skills of 1,625 individuals.
Study subjects who had higher levels of the cold sore-causing infection were 25 percent more likely to receive a low score on a test designed to assess their cognitive abilities.
"While this association needs to be further studied, the results could lead to ways to identify people at risk of cognitive impairment and eventually lower that risk," said Mira Katan, who served as the study's author. "For example, exercise and childhood vaccinations against viruses could decrease the risk for memory problems later in life."
With this research in mind, individuals who get the occasional cold sore may want to consider taking an IQ test to see if there have been any changes to their cognitive abilities.
If individuals want to perform well on an IQ test, they may want to get plenty of sleep the night before they take it. New research from the University of Chicago reveals a link between sleep and the brain's ability to consolidate memories, which can influence how people learn.
In a study, researchers analyzed starlings' ability to learn and then repeat songs, as avian brains are similar to mammals' brains. While sleep is known to have a positive effect on the consolidation of memories, the researchers wanted to know how rest influenced starlings' ability to learn two different songs. According to the researchers, learning a second task is known to negatively impact the birds' performance on the first. The researchers discovered that sleep can help the brain better retain two new memories.
" … Sleep consolidation enhances retention of interfering experiences, facilitating daytime learning and the subsequent formation of stable memories," the authors wrote in the study.
With this in mind, individuals should strive to get the right amount of sleep every night so they can stay sharp during the daytime. For adults, the National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of rest every night.
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