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March 2020 Newsletter

March 2020 Newsletter

Excessive internet use alters brain function, memory capacity

Too much internet messes with our brains, especially our memories. An international study published in World Psychiatry shows that the internet can produce both acute and sustained alterations in specific areas of human cognition, which is the mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through experience and the senses. These sustained alterations might reflect physical changes in the brain. It can also affect a person’s capacity to pay attention, impact memory processes and influence social interactions.

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REM sleep silences the siren of the brain

Upset by something unpleasant? We have all been there. Fortunately, it also passes. A new day, a new beginning. At least, if you have restful REM sleep. Something frightening or unpleasant does not go unnoticed. In our brain, the so-called limbic circuit of cells and connections immediately becomes active. First and foremost, such experiences activate the amygdala. This nucleus of brain cells located deep in the brain can be regarded as the siren of the brain: attention! In order for the brain to function properly, the siren must also be switched off again. For this, a restful REM sleep, the part of the sleep with the most vivid dreams, turns out to be essential.

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Healthy lifestyle may offset genetic risk of dementia

Living a healthy lifestyle may help offset a person’s genetic risk of dementia, according to new research. The study was led by the University of Exeter and presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Los Angeles. The research found that the risk of dementia was 32 per cent lower in people with a high genetic risk if they had followed a healthy lifestyle, compared to those who had an unhealthy lifestyle. Participants with high genetic risk and an unfavourable lifestyle were almost three times more likely to develop dementia compared to those with a low genetic risk and favourable lifestyle.

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