Monday, January 28, 2019

Intellect is not fixed: a new understanding of cognitive abilities





Brain structures and neuronal networks mediate spatial navigation, decision-making, sociality, and creativity, measures of intelligence. Current research has shown that cognitive ability is a flexible trait. Mice, growing up in a stimulating environment show greater problem-solving skills later in life. Environmental factors, such as place of residence, physical exercise, family income, parents' occupation, and education has a significant influence on the IQ of a child. 

Food scarcity probably was a significant factor that drove cognitive evolution. However, continuous availability and consumption of energy-rich food in relatively sedentary modern-day humans might inversely effect cognitive changes. For example, high-calorie food intake negatively impacts the measures of intelligence and cognitive abilities. Obesity impairs cognition and increases the risk of some psychiatric disorders and dementia. Moreover, maternal and paternal obesity predispose offsprings to poor cognitive development by epigenetic molecular mechanisms. 

Intermittent food deprivation seems to enhance cognition on the cellular level. Epigenetic molecular DNA and chromatin protein modifications due to energy availability can propagate to future generations. Paying attention to bioenergetic based patterns of eating and exercise can improve cognitive health and resilience. Read the whole article. 

Amazingly, virtual reality experience can modify intelligence. Being a virtual Einstein improves cognitive function and decision-making, and reduces elderly bias. Impersonating psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, inspires resolution of personal problems, enhance social interaction and understanding. Brain modulation technology can artificially create or cancel memories, which can open new, noninvasive avenues in the treatment of mental disorders, depression, PSTD, and others. 


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Saturday, January 19, 2019

The expansion of the universe: Is dark energy allowed?




String theory is the youngest and most abstract of the fundamental theoretical frameworks of physics. String theory expresses the hope that on some fundamental level all the different forces, particles, interactions and manifestations of reality are tied together as part of the same framework. Particles are tiny vibrating strings, and each type of vibration corresponds to a different particle. But a new article has shown that string theory is fundamentally incompatible with our current understanding of "dark energy" - which is the only explanation for the accelerated expansion of our current universe. The controversy, which even questions the existence of the Higgs boson, has generated a lot of talk in the physics community.

In the next few years, the accelerated expansion of the universe will be measured more accurately than ever before, allowing the hypothesis to be tested experimentally. More details about the debate and a more visual explanation of the problem go to the article: String theory: Is dark energy even allowed? For a purely physical approach, read the original article: de Sitter swampland conjecture and the Higgs potential.


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Friday, January 4, 2019

Insecurity, fear and the tools to leave them all behind


Our lives depend on trust; the food we eat, the water we drink supplies our survival and our wellbeing. We trust that cars stop at the red light and allow others to pass. Without having faith in others, the system, we become stiff and tense and suspicious of everything. Overprotected children, as young as 14 months old, grow anxious around everybody, except their caregivers.

Danger provokes primal physical reactions, such as sweating, increased heart rate and high adrenaline levels in the blood, called the ‘fight or flight’ response. In some cases, anger can spur constructive change, but fear is the avoidance of all kinds of action. There is no escape from the hole of helplessness. The paralyzing, overwhelming emotion prevents constructive reasoning and thinking. The capacity to plan, act, or change diminishes. Negative emotions, which can lead to immobility, indecision, and helplessness create vulnerability, which motivates failure. “Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is,” says the German proverb. Fear shoots down every opportunity for help. 

The impending instability of fear triggers a constant and futile search for security in the environment. The thoughts of vulnerability kill the likelihood of success. Presenting your story as a failure and hopeless case will manifest itself as a failure in real life. Even the perceived difficulty of a task is a fear that can instigate procrastination by manufacturing artificial business, excuses and complete blockage or exclusion of a subject matter. As jumping into cold water cures timidity, the most effective way to eliminate fear is to start with the management of various aspects of the disease, head on. The intimidating and often nervous first step generates familiarity, which is profoundly empowering. Inaction is a sure way toward worsening your condition.

Trust, like a chandelier, provides a full, coherent picture. In contrast, fear is like a flashlight; it focuses attention on a small, highly detailed section of reality. Try to recognize fear in yourself. Any time fear influences your decisions, act! Because fear is a paralyzing tightness of pressure, action, almost any small, but decisive action pierces its hold and diminishes fear response automatically and instantaneously. Defeating fear in this way boosts confidence. Doing this exercise will not only increase your fear resistance, but it will also reformulate your life.

Abused and neglected dogs can be effectively rehabilitated by introducing a regular daily feeding and walking schedule. Creating order is a powerful stress eliminator for people too. Children thrive on the predictability and organization of their lives. Keeping order in the environment balances and calms the mind. Create order in your surroundings by organizing your daily, weekly schedule into a regular, predictable routine, which gives a profoundly empowering sense of control. 

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Breakfast and academic performance in children


Kid Eating Breakfast Clipart Image




Breakfast positively affects learning, behavior and school performance in children, especially at a young age. It provides essential nutrients to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. Iron, B vitamins (folate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12) and Vitamin D are approximately 20–60% higher in children who regularly eat breakfast compared with those, who skip it. Studies have shown that eating a meal first thing in the morning decreases hunger throughout the day. Regular breakfast (including ready-to-eat-cereal) reduces the likelihood of being overweight. This occurs because children who do not eat morning meals are less likely to be physically active and have a lower cardiorespiratory fitness level.

The benefits of breakfast were apparent in all children whether they were well-nourished or they were from deprived, undernourished backgrounds. Habitual breakfast (frequency and quality) have a positive impact on children's academic performance with most evident effects on mathematics and arithmetic grades. Read the article

The morning meal is a crucial ingredient for achievement at any age


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