February 2020 Newsletter
Regular crosswords, number puzzles linked to sharper brain
Older adults who regularly take part in word and number puzzles have sharper brains, according to the largest online study to date. The more regularly adults aged 50 and over played puzzles such as crosswords and Sudoku, the better their brain function, according to research in more than 19,000 participants, led by the University of Exeter and King’s College London. The researchers have previously presented their findings on word puzzles at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in 2018. The new research builds on these findings and also reports the same effect in people who regularly complete number puzzles.
How does pollution affect our brain?
Losing your sense of smell? You may have been starting to experience the effects of exposure to poor air quality, which could lead to higher risk of neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The latest findings back previous research that suggested a reduced sense of smell can be an early sign of developing neurological conditions. Researchers from Penn State University studied how pollution triggers development of the diseases through the air we breathe. The latest study focused on the link between poor air quality and the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the body.
How procrastinators and doers differ genetically
Some people tend to postpone actions. In women, this trait is associated with a genetic predisposition towards a higher level of dopamine in the brain. This is what researchers from Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the Technical University of Dresden discovered using genetic analyses and questionnaires. They were unable to identify this correlation in men. “The neurotransmitter dopamine has repeatedly been associated with increased cognitive flexibility in the past,” says Dr. Erhan Genç from the Bochum Department of Biopsychology. “This is not fundamentally bad but is often accompanied by increased distractibility.