A recent study, which is considered to be the largest of its kind, suggests that a certain link exists between people who wear glasses (or contacts) and cognitive function. According to its findings, intelligent people are almost 30% more likely to wear glasses.
For the study, a team of scientists analyzed the genetic information of over 300,000 individuals from existing genomic databases where the participants provided samples for DNA analysis, answered questionnaires, and underwent tests designed to give a measure of their general cognitive ability.
Genetic statistician Gail Davis, a lead author of the study, of the University of Edinburgh in the UK, says: “This study, the largest genetic study of cognitive function, has identified many genetic differences that contribute to the heritability of thinking skills. The discovery of shared genetic effects on health outcomes and brain structure provides a foundation for exploring the mechanisms by which these differences influence thinking skills throughout a lifetime.”
A new study finds that brain volumes of people who regularly eat vegetables, fruit, and fish are on average 2ml greater than brain volumes of those who often drink sugary beverages. A brain volume reduction of 3.6ml equals to one year of aging.
For the study, the researchers from Erasmus University, Rotterdam, analyzed diets of 4,213 adults with an average age of 66 who didn’t have dementia. The participants also had to take scans to determine their brain volumes.
Dr Meike Vernooij, the author of the study, says: “People with greater brain volume have been shown in other studies to have better cognitive abilities, so initiatives that help improve diet quality may be a good strategy to maintain thinking skills in older adults.”
A new study from the United Kingdom suggests that a simple quiet rest, just for 10 minutes, may help to memorize new information in fine detail.
To study this effect, the researchers designed a memory test to assess the ability to keep finely graded information. For the experiment, the researchers took the information on memorizing from 60 young male and female participants whose average age was 21 years.
Michael Craig, a researcher from the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, United Kingdom, says: “This new finding provides the first evidence that a brief period of quiet rest can help us to retain more detailed memories.”
A new study from the United Kingdom shows a link between the loss of dopamine-firing cells in the brain and ability of the brain to form new memories. These findings may lead to a new method for diagnosing Alzheimer’s.
For the study, a team of researchers used a type of MRI scan which is called 3Tesla. It is twice stronger than standard MRI. They scanned the brains of 51 healthy adults, 30 patients with a mild cognitive impairment, and 29 with the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
Having analyzed the results of the scanning, the researchers concluded that there was a link between the size of two key brain areas – the ventral tegmental and hippocampus – and the ability of the patients to learn new information.
Lead study author Annalena Venneri, of the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, explains: “The hippocampus is associated with forming new memories, therefore these findings are crucial to the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. The results point at a change which happens very early on, which might trigger Alzheimer’s disease.”
A new study, led by Carolyn Parkinson, an assistant professor of psychology working at the University of California, Los Angeles, demonstrates that the brains of friends respond very similarly to the same stimuli.
A team of scientists recruited 279 graduate students who completed questionnaires concerning their friendships, indicating people in their cohort that they were close to. Then scientists conducted functional MRI scans on a subset of 42 participants while they were shown a series of 14 videos to explore brain responses.
The analysis of the responses measured by functional MRI confirmed that friends had the most similar neural responses overall. Their brain activity indicated compatible emotional reactions.
Senior study author Thalia Wheatley says: “We are a social species, and live our lives connected to everybody else. If we want to understand how the human brain works, we need to understand how brains work in combination – how minds shape each other.”