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Cognitive Function

January 15, 2014 | By Melissa Healy
Middle-aged men who consume an average of more than 2½ alcoholic drinks per day accelerate the rate at which their memories decline by almost six years over a 10-year span, says a new study. And while a higher consumption of spirits such as vodka, gin, whiskey or scotch was linked to the fastest rates of mental decline in men, researchers saw little difference between the cognitive loss seen in heavy beer drinkers (who drank more than 2½ 12-ounce beers per day) and that seen in men who quaffed a half-bottle of wine or more per day. Compared with men who drank no more than 1½ drinks per day on average (up to 19.9 grams of alcohol daily)
November 14, 2011 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Around the time of menopause, many women complain of mental slippage. But, as if to inflict some perverse trick upon them, cognitive scientists have found that they actually perform no more poorly than women who do not have such complaints. (Reassuring in a way: You're not losing your memory, but you may be losing your mind.) A new study finds that both the women who complain of memory problems and the cognitive scientists are right. These women haven't fallen behind -- not yet at least-- because their brains are working harder to keep up. The study, presented Sunday at the Society for Neuroscience's yearly confab -- held this year in Washington, D.C. -- recruited 22 healthy women with an average age of 57, all post-menopausal.
October 18, 2013 | By Robert M. Sapolsky
There's a phrase that has haunted America for decades, one fraught with failure: "Breaking the cycle of poverty. " Despite the ongoing efforts of government and a host of private foundations, income inequality continues to grow and the poor are ever more likely to remain poor. Many factors favor the rich getting richer while the poor stagnate. The wealthy benefit from economies of scale, as the best prices and lowest interest rates are more readily available to those who least need them.
September 11, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
Forget that stereotype about the dumb jock. A new study reveals that kids who are more physically fit score higher on geography tests, too. Previous research has found that out-of-shape kids get lower grades in school and perform worse on tasks involving memory and other types of cognitive function. In addition, mice that exercise have better spatial learning and memory than sedentary mice. For the new study, researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign wondered whether there was a correlation between physical fitness and learning.
April 5, 2004 | Jeannine Stein, Times Staff Writer
There's little argument that exercise is good for your body, but researchers have found that exercising to music may make you smarter too. An Ohio State University study found that verbal skills improved significantly in cardiac rehabilitation patients who exercised on a treadmill while listening to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons." "There have been a number of studies that have looked at the effects of just exercise or music on cognitive function," said Charles F.
December 23, 2002 | Shari Roan
Ginkgo trees, native to China, can live as long as 1,000 years. It may be this longevity that has convinced people over the ages that the leaves can give elderly people more vigor. As far back as ancient China, ginkgo biloba was considered to be good for the heart and lungs. Extracts made from the tree's leaves continue to be among the most popular herbal remedies in the world today.
Adolescent soccer players need better education about the symptoms of concussion and dangers of playing with head injuries, medical experts said Tuesday. In a new report, the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, said that studies of the effects of "heading"--hitting the ball with the head--have been inconclusive and that additional research is needed. But the risk of concussion in contact sports, including soccer is real, according to the report.
October 13, 2010
Walking promotes good physical health, but it may also help maintain memory and cognitive function for years, a study finds. The research, published online Wednesday in the journal Neurology , is based on a study of 299 men and women, average age 78, who were followed for nine years. The study participants were asked about their physical activity, which was calculated as number of blocks walked per week (walking was the most common exercise). Study subjects walked from zero to 300 blocks over a one-week period.
April 19, 2010 | Joe Graedon, Teresa Graedon, The People's Pharmacy
I have suffered from insomnia for many years. My doctor prescribed Ambien , but it doesn't seem to be working very well anymore. I also suspect that it affected my memory. Now the doctor is suggesting the antidepressant amitriptyline (Elavil) . The side effects I have read about make me nervous. Is there any herb or home remedy that might help me get some sleep? Amitriptyline is an old-fashioned (tricyclic) antidepressant. Some people experience a morning hangover effect that leaves them drowsy and disoriented.
December 17, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
Looking for ways to save money in 2014? Here's some advice from doctors: Stop buying vitamins. Time after time, studies have shown that vitamin and mineral supplements don't prevent disease or death. And yet consumers keep buying them, lament the authors of an editorial published in Tuesday's edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine. A 2011 report from the National Center for Health Statistics estimated that 53% of American adults used some type of supplement in the years 2003 to 2006, with multivitamin/multimineral formulations being the most popular.
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