Brain stimulation boosts math skills
Some people feel they’ll never develop math skills, but new research from Oxford University should give them new hope. Scientists found that applying high-frequency electrical noise to the brain can actually boost math skills for a period of up to six months. The procedure would be non-invasive and painless for the patient, and could have a “real, applied impact,” according to experts.
In order to test this form of brain stimulation, researchers recruited 51 Oxford students, who were then split into two groups. One received the transcranial random noise stimulation. The stimulation was applied to targeted areas of the brain by placing electrodes on the scalp. Both groups were asked to perform two arithmetic tasks over a five-day period, which involved calculation and committing items to memory, such as multiplication tables. The results showed that the stimulation group experienced improvements in cognitive and brain functions, and that performance on both the calculation and rote learning tasks improved.
The researchers learned that the brain stimulation increases the efficiency in which the targeted areas of the brain use their oxygen and nutrient supplies. The scientists hope that this discovery could be applied in a variety of ways, including for those with neurodegenerative illness, stroke or learning disabilities.
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Sourced from: BBC News, Brain stimulation promises ‘long-lasting’ maths boost
Sugary drinks tied to kidney stone risk
Drinking lots of liquids can help painful kidney stones from forming, but not if the liquids are sugar-sweetened drinks, including soda and some juices. That’s the conclusion of a study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, which found that those kind of drinks may actually increase the risk of developing kidney stones.
The study analyzed data from 194,095 participants over an eight-year period, where participants were asked to fill out surveys with information on medical history, lifestyle and medications. The results led the researchers to conclude that people who consumed one or more sugar-sweetened sodas per day had a 23 percent higher risk of developing kidney stones, as compared to those who were consuming fewer than one serving per week. On the other hand, they found that consuming coffee, tea and orange juice was associated with lower risk of stone formation.
Roughly 20 percent of American men and 10 percent of American women experience a kidney stone in their lifetimes. Stones form when solid concentrations of minerals form in the kidneys while it is flushing out urine. This research provides a simple, yet potentially effective approach. This research provides a simple, yet potentially effective way for people to avoid the formation of stones.
Soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks are also not only detrimental to kidneys, but could also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity, previous studies have found.
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Sourced from: Science Daily, Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Associated With Increased Kidney Stone Risk
Fast food restaurants fall short on health claims
In 2010, Subway surpassed McDonald’s as the world’s biggest restaurant chain after the fast food giant had held the crown for several decades. What’s the biggest difference? While McDonald’s continues to serve fat- and calorie-packed meals, Subway promotes healthier options, and consumers have responded well. In recent years, big chains have begun to offer their own “healthy” meals—use of terms such as “healthy” and “low-fat” on menus has increased 86 and 33 percent respectively–but a new study has found that fast food menus haven’t improved all that much.
The report from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, found that, based on the Healthy Eating Index–a measure of diet quality that assesses federal diet guidelines–the overall health quality of fast food is still poor. In 2010, food items scored 48 points on average out of a possible 100, an increase from 44 points in 1997. It’s an improvement, but not a significant one. KFC made the greatest improvement among those restaurants studied, going from a 42 score in 1997 to 51 in 2010.
The researchers also noted that for every healthier option available, the big fast food chains also tended to add less healthy items as well, in terms of calories, fat, salt and sugar. That tended to neutralize improvements in their menus.
NEXT: Brain stimulation boosts math skills
Sourced from: http://www.livescience.com/32070-fast-food-health-quality-nutrition.html, Do Fast-Food Restaurants Fall Short on Their Health Claims?