Chris Wragge and Early Show medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton examine a new Stanford University study that suggests feelings of love may be effective in relieving pain.
Dr. Amen’s CHANGE YOUR BRAIN, CHANGE YOUR BODY Questionnaire is a great start to helping you evaluate the health and well-being of your brain and body.
"Think of this tool as the beginning of optimizing the brain-body connection. For many years Dr. Amen realized that not everyone is able to get a brain scan to check on the health of his or her brain. So, in order to bring the life-changing information that he has learned through his imaging work to the most people, he has developed a series of questionnaires to help predict the areas of strengths and vulnerabilities of the brain."
Julian Treasure says our increasingly noisy world is gnawing away at our mental health and has an 8-step plan to fix it.
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks about war's mental toll and a new treatment that uses your own body to help fight a tumor.
- Brain Cancer Treatment, possible brain cancer vaccine.
- Questioning Mammograms.
- They Call Him Dr. Q
- Mental & Physical Toll of War.
- Food For Life: How "Super Foods" Help Your Health
- How Sleep Affects Weight Loss
Invisible Wounds of War - U.S Troops Hospitalized in 2009, 17, 538 mental health issue, 11, 156 physical injury; battle wound = 2.5 increased rate of PTSD
Your friends may matter to you in ways that you can't even see - at the level of neural circuitry in the brain.
"It turns out that the brain's frontal midline, an area between the two hemispheres that is associated with socialization and the way you think about yourself, also shows a greater response from friends than strangers, even strangers with similar interests and lifestyles,"
"the scientists saw increased blood oxygenation levels in the frontal midline and associated regions. This indicates increased neuronal activity in those areas."
If you think your kids are wasting their time and withering their brains by playing on the computer, you may be mistaken.
- Learning how to use it, learning how to get information, answer questions and develop strategies.
- Hours at the computer were linked with test scores.
- Not all games are created equal.
"In animal studies, exercise has been shown to specifically affect the hippocampus, significantly increasing the growth of new neurons and cell survival, enhancing memory and learning, and increasing molecules that are involved in the plasticity of the brain,"
- Those who are more fit tend to have a bigger hippocampus and perform better on a test of memory than their less-fit peers.
- The researchers found that the physically fit children tended to have bigger hippocampal volume – about 12% bigger relative to total brain size – than their out-of-shape peers.
- A bigger hippocampus is associated with better performance on spatial reasoning and other cognitive tasks.
"This is the first study I know of that has used MRI measures to look at differences in brain between kids who are fit and kids who aren't fit," -- "Beyond that, it relates those measures of brain structure to cognition."
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks about a test that may help predict the onset of Alzheimer's.
- This is a pretty big deal in the world of neurology and neurosurgery.
- A spinal test to take a bit of cerebral fluid and analyze it for 2 proteins linked to Alzheimer's.
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on a town poisoned by trace amounts of lead in 1970.
- Dr. Philip Landrigan research helped bring about a ban or lead paint and lead gasoline.
- The lead contamination causes loss of intelligence, disruptive behavior, a whole spectrum of damage to the brain and nervous system.
Researchers found that adding the supplement, called S-Adenosyl Methionine, or SAMe, to a patients' antidepressant treatment helped more people with major depression improve their symptoms than those that took an inactive placebo on top of their normal medication.
- "is exciting because (SAMe) works differently than what we have now -- it doesn't seem to be associated with the kind of side effects that FDA-approved treatments for this niche have."
- "We're always careful about these small studies," -- "Depression is a complicated condition. We don't know exactly what works for which people."
Previous studies have shown that SAMe can influence chemicals in the brain and might work as an antidepressant on its own or interact with traditional antidepressants, but the way it works isn't completely clear. SAMe is found naturally in the human body and is sold as a supplement by vitamin stores.
Studies suggesting that low exposure levels early in life can affect neural development and behavior prompted Canada to announce plans to ban its use in baby bottles. Some consumer groups, citing research linking it to cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease, want restrictions to be wider than that.
- Statscan report found a mean concentration of 1.16 micrograms per liter in the urine of Canadians tested.
- Teenagers had the highest concentrations of BPA, while children between 6 and 11 had higher concentrations then adults over 40.
- "Cash register receipts are slathered in this stuff...and you absorb it through your skin," advocacy group Environmental Defense.
BPA is used in plastic bottles and as a coating for everything from shopping receipts to a lining for cans of foods, but it also has many other uses.
Women with more chemical traces of the pesticides in their urine while pregnant had children more likely to have symptoms of ADHD -- a tenfold increase in pesticide metabolites in the mother's urine correlated to a 500% increase in the chances of ADHD symptoms by age 5.
- A different team found children with high levels of organophosphate traces in the urine were almost twice as likely to develop ADHD.
- Studies have also linked exposure to Parkinson's, an incurable brain disease.
Organophosphates are designed to attack the nervous systems of bugs by affecting message-carrying chemicals called neurotransmitters including acetylcholine, which is important to human brain development.
"Our findings reveal that gamma-secretase activating protein is a potential target for a new class of anti-amyloid therapies,"
- In prior work, Greengard discovered that Novartis AG's Gleevec or imatinib blocks gamma-secretase activating protein.
- The latest study, shows that this protein dramatically increases the production of beta amyloid, and blocking the protein in genetically engineered mice kept Alzheimer's brain plaques from developing.
"It's known that gamma-secretase not only makes beta amyloid, but it makes many other substances that are vital for the survival of our cells,"
"mild cognitive impairment" -- a major risk factor for Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia -- affects around 16% of people aged over 70 worldwide and is characterized by slight problems with memory loss, language or other mental functions. -- around 50% of people diagnosed with it go on to develop Alzheimer's disease within five years.
- Volunteers were given either a vitamin pill containing very high doses of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, or a placebo dummy pill.
- The pills contained around 300 times the recommended daily intake of B12, 4 times daily advised folate levels and 15 times the recommended amount of B6.
On average the brains of those taking the vitamin treatment shrank at a rate of 0.76% a year, while those taking the dummy pill had an average brain shrinkage of 1.08%.
Children with the highest PFOA concentration had total cholesterol levels that were 4.6 points higher and LDL levels that were 3.8 points higher than those with the lowest PFOA levels.
- The researchers studied perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA and perfluorooctanesulfonate or PFOS.
- Studies in animals suggest perfluoroalkyl acid can affect the liver, which could result in changes in cholesterol levels.
- They make their way into people through drinking water, dust, food packaging, breast milk, cord blood, microwave popcorn, air and occupational exposure.
Bernard Weiss of the University of Rochester in New York, an expert on toxins said perfluoroalkyl acids are a known neurotoxin. -- "They interfere with brain development, which leaves its mark on later behavioral functions such as cognitive performance,"
Researchers identify a troubling new form of teen self-abuse where teens 'embed' small items under their skin.
- 15%-20% of people have engaged in some form of self-injury.
- some patients say they do it because it distracts them from emotional pain.
- cutting is the more common form, more rare is self-embedding where mostly teen girls inserting small items under their skin.
British researchers found that the pills halved the rate at which the brains of elderly people shrunk in size - one of the first symptoms of dementia.
- Alzheimer's Study; High doses of Vitamin B slowed brain shrinkage 30%-50%.
- It could help 1.5 million people over the age of 70 who suffer from mild cognitive impairment, which can lead to Alzheimer's.