Open-Monitoring Meditation May Help You Make Fewer Mistakes

A new study, conducted by researchers from Michigan State University, U.S., tested how meditation that focuses awareness on feelings, thoughts, or sensations in the mind and body, called open-monitoring meditation, altered brain activity in a way that results in better error recognition.Open-Monitoring Meditation May Help You Make Fewer Mistakes

For their research, scientists recruited more than 200 individuals to find out how open-monitoring meditation affected how people detect and respond to errors.

The participants, who had never meditated before, were taken through a 20-minute open-monitoring meditation exercise while the researchers measured brain activity with the help of electroencephalography. After this, they performed a computerized distraction test.

Study co-author Jeff Lin, MSU psychology doctoral candidate, says: “The EEG can measure brain activity at the millisecond level, so we got precise measures of neural activity right after mistakes compared to correct responses. A certain neural signal occurs about half a second after an error called the error positivity, which is linked to conscious error recognition. We found that the strength of this signal is increased in the meditators relative to controls.”

Two Personality Traits Associated with Alzheimer’s Risk

New research, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, suggests that being neurotic or conscientious may raise or reduce, respectively, the risk of developing buildups of amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.Two Personality Traits Associated with Alzheimer’s Risk

A team of researchers carried out two investigations, where more than 3,000 participants were involved. The first one performed an analysis of the data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA). The participants had to complete a questionnaire to identify their Big Five traits (conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness, extraversion, or extroversion). The second was a meta-analysis of 12 studies that examined links between the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease and personality traits.

Both, the questionnaire study and meta-analysis, showed the same result: individuals with high neuroticism or low conscientiousness scores were more likely to have developed amyloid plaques and tau tangles, while people with high conscientiousness or low neuroticism scores were less likely to have them.

Mouse Model Study Showed that Western Diet Promotes Cognitive Decline

In a new study, published in the journal iScience, researchers suggest that a Western diet may affect the brain causing cognitive decline and neurodegenerative issues through increased Na,K-ATPase signaling in adipocytes, or fat cells.Western Diet Promotes Cognitive Decline in Mice

For the present study, the researchers used a gene-altered mouse model. The mice were divided into two groups and were fed either a normal diet or a Western-type diet for 12 weeks. The mice were also given doxycycline to activate NaKtide in the fat cells.

At the end of the 12-weeks period, the scientists saw that the mice from the group that was fed a Western-type diet significantly gained weight compared to their counterparts who ate a normal diet during this period. Moreover, the first group demonstrated insulin resistance, low energy, and lowered oxygen levels.

Exposure to Green Space Promotes Early Childhood Development

Researchers from the faculty of forestry and faculty of medicine of the University of British Columbia in Canada found that living in areas with better availability of green spaces may promote early childhood development.Exposure to Green Space Promotes Early Childhood Development

For their research, scientists analyzed the developmental scores of 27,372 children in Metro Vancouver who attended kindergarten in 2005–2011. They estimated the amount of green space around each child’s residence from birth to age five, and assessed levels of traffic-related air pollution and community noise.

Study author Ingrid Jarvis, a Ph.D. candidate in the department of forest and conservation sciences at UBC, says: “Most of the children were doing well in their development, in terms of language skills, cognitive capacity, socialization, and other outcomes. But what’s interesting is that those children living in a residential location with more vegetation and richer natural environments showed better overall development than their peers with less green space.”

Fit Children Perform Better in Learning and Memory Tests

Researchers from Nottingham Trent University, UK, found that fitter pupils of primary school had better response times in visual and reading activities, as well as memory tests, compared to children who were not as fit.Fit Children Perform Better in Learning and Memory Tests

For the study, a team of scientists observed 104 pupils aged between 9 and 11 years during resolving a session of tasks aimed to check the cognitive function. The tasks were suggested to kids right after exercise and 45-minute rest.

Lead author Dr. Simon Cooper, associate professor in exercise, cognition, and health in Nottingham Trent University’s School of Science and Technology, comments: “Our work shows the importance of regular opportunities for physical activity in schools, not just for health and wellbeing but also cognition and academic achievement.”

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