Food Enhances Intelligence!

We have always known the fact that food is essential for keeping us alive and healthy. But this is a general statement, so the scientists have been on the mission to understand how food keeps us healthy – both physically and mentally. Keeping our focus on mental health we need to understand how food and nutrition keeps our brain healthy.


Recently, scientists from the University of Illinois studied the Mediterranean diet and found out that the oils and nuts carry nutrients that are very good for the brain. The dorsal networks in the brain is the key area concerned with intelligence and cognitive thinking. The Mediterranean diet includes nutrients called monounsaturated fatty acids MUFAs that the researchers found, were responsible for building the networks and enhancing thinking abilities.

The study is just the beginning and has loads to offer for scientists as they progress in this direction.

To read the latest research articles on neurology, visit:

Empathy – Can It Be Taught?

We live in a world of constant communication and interactions where we have to understand the others around us. We take this idea for granted until we come across people who lack this idea. Yes, empathy and understanding the others is not a universal phenomenon. There are individuals who cannot figure out how others think and what they would do in certain situations – no matter how obvious the situations are.


As psychologists coin it, the phenomenon of understanding and empathizing is known as Theory of Mind. Most psychologists take it as a mental process that can only be studied or observed through displayed behaviors of individuals. For instance, if you can help someone without their asking you verbally, it shows you understand that they need you at that moment. If you do otherwise, your behavior depicts that you lack empathy. Hence they conclude Theory of Mind can only be observed indirectly and similarly can barely be taught to someone lacking it.

But recent study by psychologists tend to argue that Theory of Mind may itself be a group of behaviors that appear with certain simple principles of learning. That means that we can also teach these behaviors to people who bear psychological disorders.

The research study called, ‘Theory of Mind is Just Behavior’, is published in the journal, Current Psychiatry Reviews.

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How to Figure Out Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a much dreaded disorder that destructs nerves and causes serious mental and physical disability. We mostly identify it in people with the shivering movements in their arms and legs but it is not restricted to this common symptom. There are many other ways to find out who may be a victim of this horrific neurological disease.


The initial symptoms include tiredness, feeling of depression or anxiety, stiffness of muscles, hampered speech, forgetting of words or ideas and much visible signs like tremors and problems in standing and walking. One clear symptom is lack of movement and expressions, and flattening of face that is called ‘masked face’. The brain of Parkinson’s disease patient slows down and does not efficiently transmit orders to the body and therefore, the movements retard and body parts slump. This causes dire agony to the patients.

Bentham Science provides research articles that can play a vital role in fight against Parkinson’s disease. For example:


New Cause of Cancer Discovered!

Cancer has been a deep and grave subject that has haunted the world and perplexed the researchers all around. Flurry of studies appear every now and then that point out various learnings and cautions – some hypothetical and most well-researched. Once again a study has come up that encompasses not one or two but almost all types of this dreaded disease and sheds light on the root cause of its occurrence. We have been told to stay away from carcinogenic materials, hazardous conditions, smoking and unhealthy lifestyle in order to reduce our chances of getting affected. But scientists from Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center discovered that DNA copying errors in multiplying cells take two-third of the burden of causing cancers.


Scientists studied 32 types of cancers including brain, prostate, breast, lung and more, to find out about their emergence. For each type they found that environmental causes and gene sequencing both played part. There are certain cancers like lung cancer where 65% of the occurrences are due to smoking and environmental causes. DNA errors did less harm there. But in brain, bones and prostate cancers more than 95% of the cases were due to mutations caused by DNA copying errors.

The researchers defined it as comparable to typing a 20-volume book, where typos are absolutely likely and natural to occur. They may be due to known reasons but still it is impossible to bring the typos to zero. Similarly DNA sequencing and occurrence of mutations is virtually impossible to avoid. Still the researchers stressed on the idea that people should adopt a healthy lifestyle and avoid exposure to cancerous matter. Further one should hope for the best.

Brain Cells and Inheritance of Genes!

For every newcomer to the world, family and friends instantly begin to speculate who the baby will be like – mother or father! This speculation has proved unanswerable for the reason that one can never guess the outcome. Sometimes the children tend to inherit the father’s traits and sometimes the mother’s.


Recently researchers from University of Utah dug into the science behind inheriting genes and discovered that it is a rather complicated matter. It had been thought that newborn cells equally inherit traits from the genes of both the parents. Contrary to this idea, the cells show partiality at a very early stage of development, and tend to silence one gene providing dominance to the other. This may happen that later the silenced genes emerge as well but they remain recessive. Their study on mice and other specimen showed this phenomenon visibly. Especially the brain cells were found depicting this nature in abundance.

This study has the potential to find the roots of many inherited diseases that mar the lives of people and then their off-springs.

Psychotherapy Needs Modernizing!

Treating young people with behavioral disorders can be pretty difficult, especially if they are suffering with complex issues. Therapists have been keeping busy in counseling through discussions and verbal engagements with their patients but it has mostly proved to be a hard job. Counseling happens to be time-consuming, full of obstacles and with snail-paced outcomes. Primarily, it is due to the reason that verbal conversations require attention, understanding, learning and retention from the receivers, who already have a behavioral problem to deal with.


Psychologists and clinicians need to adapt and add novel techniques to achieve better results in treating their patients. They should utilize ideas similar to the ones widely used in classrooms, seminars and other professional information media. This means they need to include visual aids with verbal communications like boards, easels, handouts, and most appropriately, computer systems to improve their usual psychotherapies. People differ in their types of learning – some may be better listeners, some readers, some may retain better from visuals and some may prefer performing things to learn. This general concept applies to adolescents with behavioral problems as well, and therefore, using computer-facilitated techniques with counseling is expected to make gigantic change in psychotherapies.

Adolescent Psychiatry journal has a research paper encompassing research on these ideas: Computer-facilitated Therapeutic Dialogue with Adolescents with Behavior Disorders

How To Beat Your Booze?

Holiday season is at its peak and one day after the other parties keep coming up. Even if you have planned for it, get-togethers are hard to avoid. To add, winter is at its full swing. All these reasons are good enough to make you drink alcohol far more than your normal days. Drinking beyond limits can be devastating for health and needs to be checked strictly. But, are there any proper measures one can take?

drinks on a bar

There are some basic tips that can help. To state a few:

  1. Write down the benefits of quitting alcohol. It will serve as a reminder and motivating factor.
  2. Note down your last drinking incident and also how much you had.
  3. Set your drinking limit and try your best to keep below it.
  4. Try to give gaps in days when you drink. The longer your gap, the better it will prove for you.
  5. Never use alcohol with empty tummy.
  6. Drink non-alcoholic beverages as much as you can; especially as intervals between your next pegs.
  7. Most importantly, learn to say no to your friends and peers. Never feel obliged when you get the offer to have more.

Enjoy your life but keep in control!

Nuts Make The Winter Go Round!

In the cold, dark winter months when there is less sunlight and less exercise, people feel a strong craving for nuts. It is believed that nuts are warm in nature. Packed with protein, fiber and essential fats, nuts are one of this season’s best buys. They are like blessings that come in small packages for human. There are numerous health benefits of eating nuts. They keep the heart healthy and strengthen and nourish brain and kidney. They keep the body warm and also improve physical health.


Scientists have added more advantages of nuts. According to a new study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology those who eat nuts in good quantity might have a lower risk of mortality and developing chronic diseases, including neurodegenerative disease, heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer and diabetes. A study was conducted in which researchers examined data from the Netherlands Cohort Study. Participants were asked about portion size and the frequency at which they ate nuts, peanuts and peanut butter.

It was observed that eating nuts and peanuts came out to be better than eating peanut butter. No improvements were found in the participants who used to eat peanut better. But it was noted that mortality risk were lowered in those participants who ate pure peanuts.

Jubilation Enhances Mental Health!

Depression, anxiety, fear and all such negative emotions are infamously known to have a captive effect which renders a person stuck into a vicious cycle. It‘s very hard to get out of such feelings immediately because they hamper the cognitive abilities and does not let positive ideas and imaginations reach our mind. We tend to look more at what can go wrong rather than looking at the opportunities to help us emerge triumphant.


The flip-side tells us that happiness and positive emotional learning also has a strong effect of its own which provides resilience to depression and negativity overall. When we keep ourselves attentive to positivity and think about bright ideas, we automatically get the energy to break free from our troubles, especially if they are only in our heads. We try to work on new endeavors and apply ourselves better to achieve goals. So the key to keep your life moving and adding to the portfolio of your achievements it is vital to stay jocund and jovial.

This is not only a popular idea among laypeople but it is being researched upon by the neuro-scientists to figure out how this phenomenon exactly works. A recent research article from the scientists of Falk Center for Molecular Therapeutics, Northwestern University, Department of Biomedical Engineering, USA, encompasses similar study conducted on mice.

This article named, Positive Emotional Learning Induces Resilience to Depression: A Role for NMDA Receptor-mediated Synaptic Plasticity, is published in the journal Current Neuropharmacology.


Hitting Bull’s Eye In Basketball

We were watching a crunch NBAA match last night and suddenly a player fouled giving the opponent the perfect chance of scoring – a free throw. My favorite player stepped forward, held the ball in his hands, gazed at the basket, bounced the ball thrice and released the shot. All through this tiny yet endless moment his coach kept asking him to ‘focus’ and ‘to do what he does best during practice’. But … ironically the shot went astray.

How did that happen? Why could the best free throws shooter not score in the match? The first word that comes to mind is ‘nerves’. Surely though, just a word is not good enough to define the huge miss.

The researchers studied and have established a possible answer for the scenario. They say that when we are practicing a move regularly we are actually recording the actions with very minute details in the cerebral cortex of our brain. These actions have to then be replicated in the times of actual performance. To simplify let’s say, the basketball player throwing the ball would only have to put himself into ‘autopilot’ mode and take the best shot. The problem occurs when he shifts to manual control and deliberately tries to reproduce the best actions. Instead of deliberation he should let his subconscious mind do the magic.