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Biotech Science

Keep Fit Program For The Brain 481

merryprankster writes "New Scientist is running a feature on 11 steps to a better brain. While becoming a nun might be an extreme way to avoid senility, there are lots of other tricks, techniques and habits, as well as changes to your lifestyle, diet and behaviour that can help you flex your grey matter and get the best out of your brain cells." From the article: "First, go to the top of the class by eating breakfast. The brain is best fuelled by a steady supply of glucose, and many studies have shown that skipping breakfast reduces people's performance at school and at work. But it isn't simply a matter of getting some calories down. According to research published in 2003, kids breakfasting on fizzy drinks and sugary snacks performed at the level of an average 70-year-old in tests of memory and attention."
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Keep Fit Program For The Brain

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  • Go (Score:5, Informative)

    by professorhojo ( 686761 ) * on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:57PM (#12646498)
    i recommend a game of "Go" a day

    "It's official: playing go really does keep your mind sharp. Researchers have just released a comprehensive study [nejm.org] of the benefits of challenging intellectual activity among the elderly and found that exercising the mind through board games, social activities and education offers powerful protection against mental deterioration and disease.

    'Those who played board games had a 74 percent lower risk and those who played an instrument had a 69 percent lower risk. Doing crossword puzzles cut the risk by 38 percent,' reported Shankar Vedantam in the June 19 Washington Post. The report found that seniors who regularly engaged in mentally challenging pastimes reduced their chances of developing Alzheimer's disease and other dementias by as much as 75 percent, compared with those who didn't exercise their minds.
    "

    More info on Go [wikipedia.org], the game that exercises both sides of your brain!
    • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:18PM (#12646737) Homepage
      I see nothing in your quote or the tiny amount of text in the linked article that indicates this is nothing more than a correlation study. Did they actually take a random group of senior and somehow get half of them to play board games, and the other half to not play board games and then come back years later and see if there was and difference between the two? (How the hell you'd get the people to either play, or not play board games despite their preference I have no idea).

      If not, it seems far more likely that people that have dementia don't want to play board games, instruments, etc because.. well they have dementia. That might make it a LOT harder to concentrate on something like a board game or an instrument.
      • If not, it seems far more likely that people that have dementia don't want to play board games, instruments, etc because.. well they have dementia. That might make it a LOT harder to concentrate on something like a board game or an instrument.

        Or, even more likely, that the mental characteristics that lead one to enjoy mentally stimulating activities like crosswords and board games are also ones that are associated with a lower risk of dementia.

    • My grandpa of 82 years learned English in his 70's (while living with us in Canada for a few years at a time), and managed to make a family tree tracing back to the 1600's. He's always reading and although not doing creative art or poetry, he does keep himself busy with learning. As far as I know he's pretty healthy so far.
    • Nevermind the hard work, what about the drugs? the first tip is about smart drugs and includes the following quote:

      "Modafinil can keep a person awake and alert for 90 hours straight, with none of the jitteriness and bad concentration that amphetamines or even coffee seem to produce."

      Hot damn! How much did Cephalon pay for that ad and where can I get some!
  • by coupland ( 160334 ) * <[moc.liamtoh] [ta] [esahcd]> on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:58PM (#12646501) Journal

    I suspect the folks at Netscape [slashdot.org] could really benefit from this. (See preceding article...)

  • by TFGeditor ( 737839 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:58PM (#12646502) Homepage
    What happened to the 12th step?

    Oh, wait...
  • D'oh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shreevatsa ( 845645 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <todhsals.astaveerhs>> on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:58PM (#12646503)
    The obvious stuff that has been known for millenia -- eat healthy, exercise (your body and your brain), don't abuse yourself.
    Sad that this is so forgotten that it is news.
    • Re:D'oh (Score:5, Funny)

      by meeotch ( 524339 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:33PM (#12646920) Homepage
      C'mon - didn't you RTFA? Eat healthy, exercise (your body and your brain), don't abuse yourself, and MASSIVE, MASSIVE DOSES OF MODAFINIL & RITALIN - at least 2,000mg a day.

      Friggin' spinach and crossword puzzles aren't going to help you figure out which satellites Major League Baseball is using to spy on you, hippie.

      mitch

  • ouch... (Score:3, Funny)

    by coop0030 ( 263345 ) * on Thursday May 26, 2005 @12:58PM (#12646517) Homepage
    kids breakfasting on fizzy drinks and sugary snacks performed at the level of an average 70-year-old in tests of memory and attention.


    Wow, so that makes me about 90, every day.

    Maybe that's why I couldn't remember my girlfriends birthday. This will be my excuse from now on!

    "Hun, I don't eat a healthy breakfast, how am I possibly going to remember to do the laundry?!"
    • I heard that in Scotish schools have an incentive program for their children, if they buy healthy foods on lunch (salads, low calory foods, and other non snacks food) they get also some "points", after they have certain amount of points they can exchange them for cool prices like iPods, Xbox, etc.

      I would like to be there, I could eat a ton of carrots to get an Ipod =o) and then goto the beach to get some nice color!
    • "Maybe that's why I couldn't remember my girlfriends birthday."

      You don't need to memorize it, just read it off the box!
  • Hey, as long as that Tony Little bastard isn't promoting it, I'll do anything.
  • #12: Don't read /.!

    Oh, wait.
  • hrm (Score:2, Funny)

    by grub ( 11606 )

    While becoming a nun might be an extreme way to avoid senility,

    So most slashdotters will keep their sanity into old age if they only undergo a gender change operation?
  • Good Habits (Score:5, Funny)

    by lukewarmfusion ( 726141 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:01PM (#12646549) Homepage Journal
    "While becoming a nun might be an extreme way to avoid senility, there are lots of other tricks, techniques and habits..."

    There are non-nun habits?
  • Sugary snacks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ignorant_coward ( 883188 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:02PM (#12646565)

    Well intentioned parents buy their kids crap like Pop Tarts or NutriGrain bars thinking they are healthy. Well read the ingredients and the nutrition label. Practically no fiber, and corn syrup and hydrogenated fat dominate.

    Most of the breakfast convenience foods are just candy packaged differently. It's better to eat a piece of fruit (low glycemic index) or whole wheat toast, which, suprise suprise, are just as convenient!

    • Re:Sugary snacks (Score:2, Informative)

      by WinkyN ( 263806 )
      I seriously doubt anyone considers Pop Tarts to be a part of a nutritious breakfast. It's a convenience food, not a health food.
    • Seen on a box of Oreo Granola Bars: "The goodness of granola"

      Is anyone really fooled by this?
    • Re:Sugary snacks (Score:3, Interesting)

      Practically no fiber, and corn syrup and hydrogenated fat dominate.

      I wouldn't be so sure about it. Right here I have a box of Kellogg's NutriGrain.

      Ingredients:
      whole wheat, sugars, vegetal fat (doesn't say partially hydrogenated), egg, calcium carbonate, iodated salt, sodium bicarbonate, color, (lots of vitamins go on in here); for the strawberry filling: corn syrup, sugar,maltodextrine,dextrose,strawberries (emphasis mine), water, glicerine, powdered apple, pectine, artificial and natural flavors, sodium
      • Re:Sugary snacks (Score:4, Interesting)

        by srleffler ( 721400 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @02:00PM (#12647221)
        Note that, by law, the ingredients are listed by quantity, from most to least. (I'm not sure if it's by weight or by volume.) This means that the filling is primarily corn syrup and sugars. There is less strawberry in that filling than each of the three kinds of sugar listed, and less of each of those than corn syrup. Note that while artificial and natural flavors and red dye #40 are way down the list, it doesn't take much of these to give the red color and the nice strawberry flavor. Altogether, the filling is best characterized as synthetically-flavored sugar syrup. They add a tiny amount of strawberry and apple so that they can claim on the packaging that it contains real fruit, without increasing the cost too much.

        If you still have it handy, check out the nutrition information box on the package. Does one serving contain a measurable amount of fiber? I have run into products made with 'whole wheat' that somehow managed not to have even a gram of fiber in them. I'm not sure how they manage that.

        Nutrigrain bars are basically vitamin-enriched cookies. They are probably better for you than a regular cookie, or a donut, but they don't really qualify as healthy food either.


        • If you still have it handy, check out the nutrition information box on the package. Does one serving contain a measurable amount of fiber?

          If you eat the box it does, but you likely won't enjoy the experience.
    • Re:Sugary snacks (Score:4, Informative)

      by pg110404 ( 836120 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:43PM (#12647018)
      Perhaps the problem is as much what people eat as how much time they are willing to invest in eating it.

      Something like a pop tart or nutrigrain bar is it's ready right away.

      Sugar is a simple carbohydrate and is readily absorbed into the bloodstream. There's a nasty spike of sugar in the blood and the body produces a whole lot of insulin to get rid of it by converting it into fat. Whole wheat toast is an example of a complex carbohydrate which has long chains of carbohydrates. The body has to expend a fair bit of energy just to break it down so it ends up taking far longer to work into the bloodstream.

      While there are convenient foods like toast or fruit that provide the complex carbohydrates, leftover spaghetti or rice from the night before would also do the trick and would give you the staying power that a piece of fruit might not give.

      The body also starts to slow its metabolic rate down several hours before you go to bed and in north america, we (foolishly) eat our biggest meal then. From a weight loss point of view it makes the most sense to eat a modest meal when we get up to kickstart the metabolism, to eat the largest meal at noon so we have the energy to do all our work throughout the day, and a light snack at 6pm to tide us over through the night (for /. regulars that would be noon for breakfast, 4:0pm for lunch and 10:00 pm for the evening snack before bed).
      • Re:Sugary snacks (Score:4, Informative)

        by srleffler ( 721400 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @02:25PM (#12647489)
        One qualification to this otherwise good post: more recent research shows that the distinction between simple and complex carbohydrates is less clear-cut than was previously thought. Some foods containing complex carbohydrates have a much more rapid impact on blood sugar than others. Things that make the food harder to digest (like fiber) tend to slow down the digestion and reduce the sugar surge. The impact of foods on blood sugar is characterized by glycemic index and glycemic load [mendosa.com], which have been measured for a wide variety of foods in several research studies. Generally white bread, pasta, and rice cause a much stronger sugar surge in the bloodstream than wholegrain bread, brown rice, etc. Fruit may not be as bad as you think, because the high fiber content slows down the sugar surge. An apple has a glycemic load of 4, vs. 10 for a piece of white bread, 8 for whole wheat bread, or 17 for a doughnut. (20 on this scale is very high.) Note that many websites use glycemic index rather than glycemic load. The link I give above explains the difference.

        The real impact of this on diet and weight is less clear. Some have taken this new research as compelling evidence that carbohydrates are bad and should be avoided. Other nutritionists are skeptical of this position. The truth probably lies somewhere in between--North Americans probably eat too many carbohydrates, and too many of the ones we eat are of the kind that is rapidly processed into blood sugar (e.g. white bread instead of whole wheat).

        • Thanks for clearing up that absorption thing. I'd heard a few years back that while rice, potatoes, etc were loaded with starch, it still took a fair bit of time for the enzymes to break them down to their simpler sugar forms, or simple enough to be absorbed through the intestinal wall. It would be akin to making gravel size pebbles fit through a grate from fist sized rocks v.s. car sized boulders using a large workforce swinging pick axes. There are only so many people that can surround a car sized boulder
  • by 50000BTU_barbecue ( 588132 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:07PM (#12646626) Homepage Journal
    Preferably in the morning before breakfast. Yes, it's quite a challenge the first few times you do it, but wouldn't you rather be outside and biking than watching the same old dreary news in the morning?

    It requires a bit of self-control as you have to ignore your hunger but as your body gets used to the idea that it will eat later anyways, you won't notice it much.

    This energizes me quite a lot, and the work day just goes by faster, and problems are much easier to tackle.

    • This energizes me quite a lot, and the work day just goes by faster, and problems are much easier to tackle.

      Now that the warmer weather is back and its light earlier in the morning I like to walk the dog before work. Even a simple two mile walk in the morning before work makes me feel better by the time I leave the house.

      I'm sure better off than I was through the dreary winter months and I'm certainly better off than my miserable co-workers who spent their "wake-up" time in rush-hour traffic.

      YMMV.
    • Yes, it's quite a challenge the first few times you do it, but wouldn't you rather be outside and biking than watching the same old dreary news in the morning?

      Not if you're a procrastinator. I found that the only way to get me to consistently exercise was to eliminate all my excuses. Weather used to be a big one: "Oh, it's raining/icy, I'll skip today". And time: "Well, there's not enough time to make it to the gym today, so I'll skip it." And noise: "All my roommates are sleeping, and the bike pedall

    • I just eat first. Your body gets used to that, too, and it's significantly less annoying and performance-killing than attempting a morning bike ride on an empty stomach.
    • I wonder if it is a good idea to exercise before eating breakfast. Does anyone know if this is good or bad? I find that I will often do much better in sporting events in the late afternoon or evening if I have a good meal with a short time in between to digest it. That leads me to believe that it's best to eat first exercise later, but that's in the afternoon/evening.
    • Your understanding of exercise is wrong. If you must eat breakfast alone to do a workout in the morning, eat breakfast alone. Completing a workout after eating 7-10 hours earlier is not healthy, and will mostly break down muscle. If you want to loose some fat and gain some power (why not?) make sure your metabolic state is correct first.

      The principle of eating before your workout is universal and doesn't need any source. In case you dont believe me, here's an article about nutrition and swimmers. http: [bcst.com]
  • by El_Smack ( 267329 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:09PM (#12646642)
    Alcohol kills brain cells, it's true. But it kills the weakest and most poorly adapted ones, just like Darwin says. That leaves your good brain cells unencumbered by the dead weight cells and they can function at full capacity.
    That's why you get so much smarter when you drink.
    Stolen and paraphrased from someone much funnier than I am.
  • by RealProgrammer ( 723725 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:10PM (#12646652) Homepage Journal
    I start the day off with a brisk walk.

    For breakfast, I have two eggs, fried in olive oil, with chives or onions.

    Then I work a while on my bicycle. It has a fork for extra spice, and a three cheeses for more gondola.

    I remember putting together my Heathkit computer, with the round things and the keyboard. We didn't have mice back then, except in the basement. Now they come in everywhere, and I can't seem to trap them.

    I think I'll lay down a while.
    • How did you manage to type that AND get the little bot test guessing game right?!

      I'll have some of what he's having.
    • I think that this is the first slashdot post that has actually made me laugh out loud. That's kind of embarrassing, here in the cubicles. Good thing it's break time, and everyone is off eating the boss's chocolate cake.

      I wish I wasn't on a diet. He makes good cake.

      Anyway, back to what I meant to say: that's a genuinely funny post, for some reason, and me with no mod points. Somebody mod it up, please, +1 surreal or +1 underrated, anything but funny, so more people can get the giggles at work.

  • First, go to the top of the class by eating breakfast.

    That and late nights on /. are two ways to turn your brain into a couch potato.

    I'm not dumb. I'm resting my brain.
  • by gmletzkojr ( 768460 ) <gmletzkojr@g m a i l .com> on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:14PM (#12646694) Homepage Journal
    YOUR brain is the greediest organ in your body,...

    I'm not quite sure if that is correct.....
  • I'm 28 years old. I believe in taking care of myself, and a balanced diet and a rigorous exercise routine. In the morning, if my face is a little puffy, I'll put on an ice pack while doing my stomach crunches. I can do a thousand now. After I remove the ice pack, I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower, I use a water activated gel cleanser. Then a honey almond body scrub. And on the face, an exfoliating gel scrub. Then apply an herb mint facial mask, which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine. I always use an aftershave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion. There is an idea of a Rude Turnip, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me. Only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our life styles are probably comparable, I simply am not there.
    • And then a nice stress free day of murdering with axes, chainsaws and nailguns...
    • If only I had mod points ...

      Do you like Phil Collins? I've been a big Genesis fan ever since the release of their 1980 album, Duke. Before that, I really didn't understand any of their work. Too artsy, too intellectual. It was on Duke where Phil Collins' presence became more apparent. I think Invisible Touch was the group's undisputed masterpiece. It's an epic meditation on intangibility. At the same time, it deepens and enriches the meaning of the preceding three albums. Christy, take off your robe. List
  • by RealProgrammer ( 723725 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:17PM (#12646731) Homepage Journal

    Two older couples are out for a walk. The men are walking behind the women.

    Man 1: We ate at a great restaurant last night.

    Man 2: Oh really? Which one.

    Man 1: The name escapes me right now ... what's the name of that flower, you know, with the thorns?

    Man 2: A rose?

    Man 1: Yes, that's it. Rose, where did we eat last night?

    • An 80-year-old couple is having trouble remembering things, so they go
      to the doctor to make sure there's nothing wrong.
      After an exam, the doctor says, "You're physically okay, but you guys
      might want to start writing notes to help you remember things."
      That night they're watching TV when the old man gets up from his chair.
      His wife says, "Where are you going?"
      He says, "I'm going to the kitchen to get a glass of water."
      She says, "Will you get me some Vanilla ice cream?"
      He says, "All right."
      She says, "Don't you
  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:17PM (#12646732) Homepage Journal
    1. Eat oatmeal for breakfast - if you must add sugars, make them complex, not processed (e.g. raw).

    2. Get half an hour exercise each day, which basically means take the stairs or take the bus or if you drive don't park so close to work.

    3. Get eight to nine hours sleep a night - this is the hard one for me. If you run a sleep deficit, sleep in Saturday morning, but wake up the usual time on Sunday.

    4. For guys, drink one to two glasses of red wine with meals. For women, one-half to one, but depends on body mass.

    5. Stop watching the news. All those car chases and crashes five states away just add to stress and you can't do anything about them. If you must watch, choose a less exciting program like PBS or such.

    6. Ditch your watch and cellphone. Really.

    7. Do crossword puzzles or something that engages your brain most every day. You meet a lot of cute girls that way ...

    8. Don't be in such a rush. Biologically, we're not built to live like that.

    9. Eat low on the food chain - how you do this is up to you, but avoid processed foods.

    All the rest is commentary.

    • 7. Do crossword puzzles or something that engages your brain most every day. You meet a lot of cute girls that way ...
      Can you say "non-sequitur"??? I knew you could!
    • 7. Do crossword puzzles or something that engages your brain most every day. You meet a lot of cute girls that way ...

      Maybe someone should explain... the crossword puzzle is the black and white grid thingy with short bits next to it like 'do as this in rome'. This is NOT, I repeat NOT to be confused with the 'cute girls' section, which usually involves a toll call...
    • Good advice, but I've just a few nits:

      2. I'm not sure how much exercise one gets riding the bus, unless one has to stand the whole time.

      4. Drinking 2 glasses of wine at one sitting gets me pretty drunk.

      7. I write software all day. It engages my brain, but I don't tend to meet cute girls that way.
  • huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by justforaday ( 560408 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:18PM (#12646739)
    You are what you eat, and that includes your brain.

    Are they suggesting that I eat my own brain to become really smart?!?
  • Uh oh... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:21PM (#12646781)
    Beans are also a good source of fibre, and other research has shown a link between a high-fibre diet and improved cognition. If you can't stomach beans before midday, wholemeal toast with Marmite makes a great alternative.

    My God... That's the alternative? Marmite or beans on toast in the morning? I think I'm better off staying stupid until after lunch.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:22PM (#12646807)
    If you are not doing it now start. I would rank this even higher than a healthy diet. If you jog or do rhythmic exercise that creates a meditative state, you get a double bonus. Everything starts with that. You can try the "smart" drugs and the mental exercises after you get your sorry ass off the couch. Exercise is the best mental tonic I've found.
    • Exercise is the best mental tonic I've found.

      As much as I hate exercising, I think you're right. On the days I don't exercise before going to work it takes me about 3 hours to become completely alert. On the days I do exercise, I'm alert after my 20 minute commute. Coffee helps get my energy up in either case, but it doesn't do anything for my mental acuity.

      And remember the old adage: Fail to plan, plan to fail. If you don't plan your meals, you'll end up grabbing something quick and easy. Most qui

  • MyBrainTrainer (Score:2, Informative)

    by leoguy8022 ( 887305 )
    Did anybody try http://mybraintrainer.com/ [mybraintrainer.com]? It has 8 online excersises which when performed daily seem to improve I.Q. by few points. Personally,I did feel sharper (for that day only :-)) whenever I did these excersises. However, the downside is that it might get boring after few days. This Slate article http://slate.com/id/2111758// [slate.com] compares several IQ boosting products and finds that the Mybraintrainer is one of the most effective ones. Give it a try !

  • While becoming a nun might be an extreme way to avoid senility, there are lots of ... habits.

    Oh! Hahahahehehehahahahahhaha ha ha. Hehehehe. Hee Hee. Heh.

    Okay, perhaps it's not that funny.
  • It seems that some of the damage may be mediated through triglyceride, a cholesterol-like substance found at high levels in rodents fed on trans-fats. When the researchers gave these rats a drug to bring triglyceride levels down again, the animals' performance on the memory tasks improved.

    Can't they hire someone who knows what they're talking about to fact check this tripe? This is only a sample of the incredibly poor science contained in this article.
  • For years I had trouble getting to sleep. I just didn't get tired until there was only 4-5 hours left to sleep before work the next day. I'd try to will myself to relax, or do my exercising before bedtime (which they say not to do). A friend at work suggested melatonin, which I now take each night about a half hour before I want to be asleep. It works like a charm, and I'm always asleep after that half hour (or an hour at most). Supposedly after you take it for a few weeks, you shouldn't need to anymor
  • psychology (Score:5, Informative)

    by Andronoid ( 816502 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:46PM (#12647080)
    as a graduate student in psychology I am upset by the frequent unscientific articles posted on slashdot relating to my field. Here are a couple of points that I think need to be made:

    1. All of you probably know this but I'll just emphasize the point: "correlation is not causation."

    2. All these "facts" are based on very questionable statistical techniques. I won't go into these techniques here but the idea in these experiments is that you want to make sure the effect of some manipulated variable is above chance (statistical significance). There are two ways to do this: have a large effect (e.g. eating breakfast causes a 10% increase in IQ) or just get lots of people so that even a small effect is not very likely by chance (e.g. eating breakfast causes a .000001% increase in IQ but in 10,0000) people. I can assure most of the results reported in this article are based on studies that are closer to the later method than the former. Furthermore this .00001% increase (is in the previous example) is an AVERAGE. That it is, for you in particular eating breakfast may even decrease your IQ. That is, infering something is true about an individual from the group that individual belongs to is a fallacy. There's even a name for this fallacy (the ecological fallacy).

    3. Finding a brain area that is "activated" (fMRI) during a certain cognitive task is about as unexciting as learning that people use their hands to perform a physical task. OF COURSE, there is some area (or mostly likely areas) of the brain that is used in cognitive task just as of course there are areas of the body that perform "physical" tasks. Furthermore, it's unclear if "activation" should mean anything at all. Activation is defined as some small change in blood flow (which is correlated with neural activity) as measured via the oxygen levels picked up by a fMRI machine. Again, these difference results just need to be statistically significant to get published so that who knows what that meeds for individuals.

    Little offtopic but shoddy science is the bane of all true geeks damn it.
  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @01:52PM (#12647138) Homepage Journal
    According to research published in 2003, kids breakfasting on fizzy drinks and sugary snacks performed at the level of an average 70-year-old in tests of memory and attention.

    Maybe that's because they are being raised by the kind of parents that feed their kids cola and candy for breakfast?
  • Does anybody take this and can coroborate the claims of the article?

    If this stuff really works I'd be concerned about long term side effects.
  • The correlation between IQ and working memory is very much an ongoing debate in the psychometry community. The article is heavily biased toward one end of the spectrum in that debate, as well as in a biased (to be fair, everyone has a bias) towards a certain view of IQ tests that may, or may not, correspond to facts.
    The point being that a News Scientist article posted on the internet is not the best source of information. Research is.
  • One way that I keep mentally sharp is read a book (or sometimes a few) per week. The brain is just another muscle that needs to be exercise regularly. I find reading fiction paperback and a non-fiction book on a regular basis keeps me sharp.

    Reading /. doesn't count. It's similar to what the study said about kids eating sweet foods in the morning: their mental abilities are like 70-year-olds. We got too many those around here. :P
  • The best brain excercise that comes naturally to me is harassing other commenters on slashdot. The trick is to spend enough time thinking it out so that it's not construed as a troll (at first glance anyway). This is great fun and it keeps you learning new things. Win/win!
  • by twifosp ( 532320 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @03:09PM (#12647856)
    But go to the dentist. Seriously.

    I avoided going to the dentist for about 3 years because I didn't feel I needed to. My teeth were straight, white and my gums looked healthy. I flossed 3-5 times a week, brushed twice a day, and used listerine all the time.

    I started developing headaches and went to go see a doctor. After trying a few things and nothing helping, he suggested that based on the region of my head pain, I should see a dentist to make sure I wasn't afflicted with grinding, or other teeth issues.

    Lo and behold I had an itty bitty bacteria infection on one of my back teeth and gums. It never hurt. It never stank. The dentist remarked for not having been to the dentist in a while, my mouth was remarkably clean of plaque and tartar.

    After recieving treatment I noticed an unsuspected side effect. I had more energy. I slept better. It was quite noticable too. My next visit back to the dentist, I inquired and his explanation was quite logical. Your mouth is obviously a breeding ground for bacteria both good and bad. What's in your mouth is basically in your whole body. If you have bacteria in your mouth, your immune system has to work just that much harder to keep you healthy.

    An odd anecdote but I'd thought I'd share none the less. It might seem like a no brainer to keep your mouth clean, but even those who follow all the "rules" can experience bacteria spots that affect your overall health and energy levels.

  • pills (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zoftie ( 195518 ) on Thursday May 26, 2005 @03:55PM (#12648317) Homepage
    What is disturbing is that article talks about pills in the first bit. A sales pitch for drug pushing companies? Thanks but I'll stick to my diet and gym/kung-fu routine.
  • by jonnystiph ( 192687 ) on Friday May 27, 2005 @06:58AM (#12653423) Homepage
    Something I think that is really missing from our diet is plain and simple water. Just good old tap water. Two liters a day make a huge difference in my physical and mental condition.

    For the longest time, I got my beverage fill from soda and coffee, then after *MUCH* insistance from my female counterpart (Wife, not Mom ;) I started drinking water. I noticed a difference right away.

We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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