Mind-Melding: Facts to Know About the Brain

Parents often complain they have no idea what their kids are thinking; but when their children are born, there’s actually a mental link between the mother and baby. This is because the brain waves of babies “sync” with those of their mother as they are learning about their social environment. In fact, brain research recently presented at the CNS (Cognitive Neuroscience Society) revealed just how much the neural activity of babies sync with their mothers’ and what this means.

Brain Research Involving Neural Activity Syncing

Most neuroscience research that has been done involving the brain has been focused on the brain in isolation. Yet human beings are immensely social creatures. Very little is actually known about how the human brain performs social learning. As a result, scientists are looking for ways to understand brain function in a social context. 

The study recently presented at the CNS focused on how mothers responded toward novel toys in an emotional manner, and how those responses affected how their infants reacted to the toys. Both the mothers and their infants wore wireless EEG technology. Scientists would then record the brainwaves from each device as mothers reacted emotionally to one toy and how the infants reacted in response.

For example, a mother would pick up a toy, frown, and state she didn’t like the toy. The infant would then be allowed to choose what toy to play with. According to the data collected, the infants would be more likely to respond based on how their mothers reacted.

The study shows the neural activity of infants and their mothers are connected and how important it is to begin looking at the brain in a more social context. Learn more about the human brain and stay up to date on all health news by visiting us at The Benefits Store.

A Dog’s Nose: Sniffing out Seizures

Seizure Alert DogsSeizures can be caused by many different types of ailments. Epilepsy is one of the more common illnesses that causes seizures. It’s a neurological disorder that one out of 26 Americans will be diagnosed with over a lifetime. It’s estimated that roughly 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with epilepsy every year. Seizures are dangerous; they can cause a wide range of symptoms, including a loss of awareness and uncontrollable twitching, which can also lead to physical injuries.

Although there is no cure, a recent advancement in the study of seizures was made when it was found that dogs could identify the odor of a seizure. The potential use of seizure alert dogs could help researchers figure out ways to prevent seizures before they happen.

The Potential of Seizure Alert Dogs

There is enough evidence to indicate dogs have the ability to sniff out seizures before they happen; however, it’s unclear what exactly dogs are smelling. It could mean the subtle changes in how a person is behaving triggers a dog’s response. Whatever it is could lead to more knowledge about the seizures themselves and how to prevent them. At the very least, a person with epilepsy could seek a safe place when alerted by a seizure alert dog. 

A Study on Dogs and Seizures

Scientists recently conducted a study. They took body fluid samples from several subjects with epilepsy, using subjects not experiencing a seizure, exercising, and in the midst of a seizure. They gave these samples to five different dogs trained to identify a range of diseases.

All five dogs were able to identify the sample that was taken from a subject in the midst of a seizure. The study shows that there is something specific that dogs are able to sniff out that indicates a seizure is occurring or about to occur.

Seizure alert dogs can help scientists identify a specific chemical signature which could lead to important advancements in treating epilepsy. For more health news, visit us at The Benefits Store today.

Diet Versus Exercise for Maintaining Weight Loss

Diet Versus ExerciseMaintaining a healthy weight is essential to the health of an individual. Being overweight can result in all kinds of health complications down the line. Losing weight is often done through a specific diet in addition to exercise. Unfortunately, keeping that weight off can be a real challenge. It’s why there’s been a regular debate as to what is more effective between diet versus exercise. However, a recent study revealed that the best way to maintain weight loss is not through one’s diet, but through regular exercise.

Study Focused on Diet Versus Exercise

People who lose weight often have a difficult time keeping it off for a long period of time. The study, which was conducted at the AHWC (Anschutz Health and Wealth Center) at the University of Colorado, was published in Obesity. The study found that physical activity helped people maintain weight loss much more effectively than chronically restricting their energy intake through a diet.

The study involved subjects who had maintained the loss of 30 pounds or more for more than a year. It revealed some of the following information about diet versus exercise:

  • Weight loss maintainers burned more calories every day than those who had normal body weight controls.
  • Weight loss maintainers burned more calories in physical activity than overweight/obese individuals or individuals who had normal body weight.
  • Weight loss maintainers consumed a similar amount of calories every day compared to overweight/obese individuals.

The study was performed by measuring the total daily energy expenditure by collecting urine samples after providing subjects with water in which the hydrogen and the oxygen atoms are removed. An uncommon isotope of these elements is then added in their place. The resting metabolic rate of the subjects was also measured to figure out how much energy was used at rest compared to how much was used up as a result of physical activity.

Both Diet and Exercise Are Important

Maintaining a healthy diet is still important when it comes to maintaining one’s health; however, the recently published study revealed that exercise, in particular, will help keep off the weight a person has lost. For more weight loss related news, visit us at The Benefits Store today.

5 Fast Facts About Brain Health

Brain HealthEveryone knows how important the brain is. It’s basically the body’s operating center. It’s the organ that sends out instructions to every other part of the body. However, there’s plenty you may not know about the brain. It’s always a good time to learn more about brain health.

Here are 5 facts about brain health:

    1. The brain is always developing – Unlike the body, which stops growing in your late teens, the brain tends to keep developing throughout the 20s and will continue to change throughout your lifetime. 
    2. The brain is fully functioning – There’s a popular misconception that humans only use 10 percent of their brains. This is simply not true; every part of your brain is functioning.
    3. The brain is full of neurons – Brains have over 100 billion neurons that process information. These neurons are referred to as “gray matter.” Studies have shown that children who were taught a second language before the age of five tend to develop denser gray matter in adulthood.
    4. The brain needs oxygen – Your entire body needs oxygen to run properly, but the brain needs a significant amount. In fact, 20 percent of the oxygen you inhale is used by the brain.
    5. Alcohol hurts the brain’s ability to function – This might seem obvious seeing as how the more alcohol you drink, the more impaired you become. Information travels at incredible speeds through the brain; it’s why we are able to form thoughts and execute actions so quickly. The brain processes information at roughly 268 miles per hour. When you drink alcohol, the speed at which information travels through your brain slows considerably. 

Learn more about your brain’s health and professional health advice by visiting us at The Benefits Store today.

Household Safety: Preventing Poisoning

preventing poisoningAs careful as people are about preventing poisoning, it still happens more than you might think. In fact, it’s the number one cause of injury death, having killed more people than car accidents. It’s estimated that 50 percent of all poison exposures happen to children under the age of six, while 92% of poison-related deaths occur with adults over the age of 20.

Common causes of poisoning include household cleaning products, cosmetics, painkillers, and certain medications. Here are a few household safety tips that can help with preventing poisonings in your home:

    • Keep food separate from poisonous items – This ensures that children don’t mistake anything that might be poisonous as food.
    • Keep indoor plants out of reach – Younger children can and do put anything in their mouths. Some indoor plants can be poisonous if ingested, which is why you need to place them out of reach if you have kids.
    • Keep poisonous items away from children – Make sure medicine is kept in cabinets that have locks or childproof latches on them. Any detergents or chemical products should be kept out of sight and out of reach. Even when storing them on the top shelf of your garage, keep toxics locked up – children have a habit of climbing.
    • Put everything back – Once you’ve used something that might be poisonous, such as a medication, a cosmetic item or cleaning product, make sure you return it to its place. 
    • Safely discard poisonous items – All cleaning products, old medications, cosmetics, etc. should be sealed and taken to an outdoor trash can. Don’t just toss them into the nearest wastebasket where a child can access them.
    • Store poisonous items in original containers – This ensures that even adults won’t get confused over what they’re taking and take something dangerous. 

Be sure to follow these safety tips for preventing poisoning in your home. If someone has been poisoned, call the National Poison Control Hotline, 1-800-222-1222 for assistance. For more health tips, visit us at The Benefits Store today.