June 2020 Newsletter
High blood pressure in middle age may increase dementia risk
Controlling high blood pressure during middle age may help stave off dementia later in life. In a long-term study, researchers monitored the blood pressure of thousands of participants five times over nearly three decades and then performed neurological tests. Having hypertension throughout one’s mid-40s to mid-60s was associated with an increased risk of dementia later in life, compared with those with normal blood pressure.
Why do we crave sweets when we’re stressed?
Although our brain accounts for just 2 percent of our body weight, the organ consumes half of our daily carbohydrate requirements—and glucose is its most important fuel. Under acute stress, the brain requires some 12 percent more energy, leading many to reach for sugary snacks. Carbohydrates provide the body with the quickest source of energy. In fact, in cognitive tests, subjects who were stressed performed poorly prior to eating. Their performance, however, went back to normal after consuming food.
Just being around your cellphone affects your thinking
As smart phones have become a pervasive part of daily life over the last decade or so, they’ve changed the way people socialize and communicate. They’re always around and always within reach, or nearly always. So what happens to people’s brains and bodies when their phones are out of reach, or within reach but not usable? That’s what Dave Markowitz, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Communication, and colleagues sought to find out in a recent study published in PLOS One, a peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal.