cognition

  1. Lack of sleep a brain-damaging habit

    Poor sleep kills off essential neurons

    That hazy-dazy feeling you get after a night of short sleep might seem to fade after a second (or third) cup of coffee. But don't kid yourself, because the damage from lack of sleep never really fades at all.

    The harm is lasting and even permanent, as failing to get the rejuvenating rest your body needs can kill off some of the most critical cells in your brain.

    In a new study on mice, missed sleep caused a 25 percent drop in neurons in a region of the brain called the locus coeruleus.

    That's the part you rely on for both mental alertness and overall cognitive function.

    Yes... all your brain cells are important, but these neurons are some of the most critical of all.

    They're so essential that your brain has a mechanism in place to protect them from lack of sleep. When you fall short, you produce extra sirtuin type 3, a protein that helps keep those locus coeruleus neurons from dying off.

    But when you consistently fall short, the protein essentially gives up. Production tails off, and the neurons die.

    Perhaps the most frightening part of this study is that it shows you can't really catch up. If you miss sleep often on weekdays, as so many do, but sleep in on weekends, those brain cells will still disappear faster than a politician's campaign promise after Election Day.

    And that's not the only reason to make sure you sleep right every night.

    A second new study confirms something we've seen before: When you lose sleep, your body loses the ability to metabolize sugar in the blood -- and that's why poor sleep can lead to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and more.

    Making matters worse, lack of sleep also messes with your ability to watch what you eat -- so you eat too much (and, from what I've seen, people who stay up too late tend to eat all the wrong things, too).

    And when you miss out on sleep, your body has a hard time using energy, so it stores it by turning it into... you guessed it: fat!

    If you're having trouble sleeping, don't wait for it to turn into a brain disorder or diabetes. Take action now with natural sleep remedies.

    And for one more reason to make sure you get control of your sleep problems, keep reading.

  2. Omega-3 fatty acid adds years to your life

    Slash your risk of death with this safe and natural supplement

    There are plenty of nutrients that fight disease -- but you won't find too many that can take on death itself and win.

    But omega-3 fatty acid in fish oil can do just that, and do it so well it could literally add years to your life -- 2.2 years, to be exact, according to a new study from Harvard and the University of Washington.

    It's not just a lower risk of one disease or another. The study of 2,700 American seniors tracked for up to 16 years finds that people with the highest blood levels of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have a 27 percent lower risk of death from all causes.

    And if you think that's impressive, you should see how well fish oil protects your heart -- because high blood levels of omega-3 fatty acid may be able to slash your risk of death from heart disease by 35 percent and death from arrhythmia by 45 percent.

    Believe it or not, I'm still not done.

    One omega-3 fatty acid, DHA, could cut your risk of death from coronary heart disease by 40 percent and CHD death due to arrhythmia by 45 percent. In addition, the omega-3 fatty acid DPA may slash your risk of stroke, while EPA could cut your risk of nonfatal heart attacks.

    Of course, the study in the Annals of Internal Medicine may be new -- but the results aren't.

    We've seen numbers like these before, and you can bet we'll see them again, because omega-3 fatty acids are proven to help the heart in a number of very specific ways. They can improve blood pressure, lower levels of deadly triglycerides, and help keep your heart rate steady -- and that last benefit has been proven again by another new study.

    This one, an analysis of 15 clinical trials, finds that fish oil supplements can literally help keep your heart beating at a steady rate.

    If those were the only benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, I'd recommend supplements to absolutely everyone -- men, women, children and even pets.

    But that's only the beginning of a very long list of benefits.

    Omega-3 fatty acids can support the immune system, reduce inflammation, fight depression, and more. They can even protect the brain in general and help to preserve memory in particular.

    In one new placebo-controlled study of young and middle-aged adults, daily supplements of fish oil boosted episodic memory in women and improved the reaction times of working memory in men by 20 percent.

    But you don't have to be young or middle-aged to get the brain boost that comes from regular fish oil supplementation. Omega-3 fatty acids have shown to help improve mood, memory, and overall cognition in older adults and seniors.

    They may even turn out to be one of the most important weapons we have in the fight against dementia.

    A steady fish habit used to be the best way to arm yourself with this powerful weapon. But these days, too many fish are packed with dangerously high levels of mercury.

    To learn which are safe and which you should never let pass your lips, read this.

    For now, however, the safest and most reliable way to get the omega-3 fatty acids you need for all these benefits and more is with a quality fish oil supplement.

  3. The darkest shade of green

    Imagine a drug that failed to meet basic targets set by the FDA, came with a higher risk of side effects than its predecessors, and was found to be so unimpressive and even dangerous that the agency's own experts advised against approving it. Now, stop imagining -- and just take a look at Aricept 23.
  4. Berries boost your brain

    And now, a new review of the research shows how berries can actually supercharge your brain and improve the way your neurons communicate. That adds up to better motor control and cognition and lower levels of dangerous inflammation -- all from a handful of delicious blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, or cranberries.
  5. TV is bad for babies

    Researchers say those who spend even a little time in front if it develop more slowly than those who don't watch any.

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