Chlorin E6 is a light sensitive compound. Now a group of experimenters have discovered that injecting Chlorin E6 into the eyeball gives the recipient a form of night vision. You can read the (non-peer reviewed) paper here.
“Chlorin e6 (Ce6) has been used for many years as a therapy agent in cancer treatment.
However, in recent years other uses for ce6 have been found, the most notable in this case being its application into the conjuctival sac of the eye as a means of treating night blindness and improving the dim light vision of those with visual disturbances3. This preliminary study attempts to test the ability of a mixture containing Ce6 to improve the dim light vision of healthy adults.
In 2012 a patent was filed based in some part on the work of Washington et al. The patent claims that a mixture can be made which, when applied to the eye, will absorb to the retina and act to increase vision in low light. The mixture put forth in the patent is a simple combination of Ce6 and insulin in saline. It is mentioned in the same, that dimethlysulfoxide (DMSO) can be used in place of the insulin. We propose a combination of the two could lead to the most noted effects. For testing purposes, the mixture from the patent (Ce6, Saline, Insulin) was used with the addition of DMSO for increased permeability.”
I have recommended that people not try transcranial direct current stimulation until we have better information on safety and effectiveness. The same warning applies here.
University of Houston cross-country coach, Steve Magness, uses the Stroop test to train his athletes for mental focus:
“While Magness—who once ticked off a 4:01 mile himself—coaches the fundamentals as good as anyone, he goes beyond traditional physiological training strategies to squeeze every ounce of performance out of his athletes. His secret: focusing on the mind.”
To experience the Stroop Test try reading the words below out loud:
Kawashima uses Stroop performance as an outcome measure in his “Train Your Brain” program.
Magness also makes an interesting observation about meditation:
‘“I really liked the idea of mindfulness-based meditation because I thought it could quickly transition an athlete from the stress of a workout to the recovery phase,” Magness says. “But I soon learned meditation takes a lot of practice, and for beginners, meditation can be stressful in and of itself.”
Magness started experimenting with other ways to facilitate recovery, like calming and relaxing music, but discovered what was most helpful—based on measuring heart rate variability, a common indicator of recovery—was creating a laid back social environment immediately after hard workouts. “Going from a high-stress workout to a desensitized period of just joking around together decreases tension way faster than anything else we’ve tried,” says Magness. “So now, it has kind of become part of our program to force fun social interactions after intense workouts.”’
A disturbing post at FiveThirtyEight:
Here’s an article on a lawsuit filed by professional wrestlers over brain injuries.
This is fascinating. In the past, claims about eye training to improve vision have not been substantiated. However, this paper, in Psychological Science, suggests that behavior training might improve contrast sensitivity in older adults. Here is the abstract:
“A major problem for the rapidly growing population of older adults (age 65 and over) is age-related declines in vision, which have been associated with increased risk of falls and vehicle crashes. Research suggests that this increased risk is associated with declines in contrast sensitivity and visual acuity. We examined whether a perceptual-learning task could be used to improve age-related declines in contrast sensitivity. Older and younger adults were trained over 7 days using a forced-choice orientation-discrimination task with stimuli that varied in contrast with multiple levels of additive noise. Older adults performed as well after training as did college-age younger adults prior to training. Improvements transferred to performance for an untrained stimulus orientation and were not associated with changes in retinal illuminance. Improvements in far acuity in younger adults and in near acuity in older adults were also found. These findings indicate that behavioral interventions can greatly improve visual performance for older adults.”
I am unable to embed this video of a man with Alzheimer’s Disease interacting with a dog, but here is the link.
You can read about service dogs for people with dementia here:
“In the past few years two groups of individuals have started to train dogs to assist people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The first is in Israel and was the brainchild of Dafna Golan-Shemesh, a social worker with expertise in caring for Alzheimer’s patients and her partner Yariv Ben-Yosef, a professional dog trainer. More recently a similar project was initiated by students at Scotland’s Glasgow School of Art’s Product Design Departmentand then further developed by a partnership between Alzheimer Scotland, Dogs for the Disabled and Guide Dogs Scotland. Although the types of dogs used by the two programs are different (the Israeli program uses only Smooth Coated Collies) and the specific tasks and techniques that the dogs are trained for differ in some respects, there are important common features in what is required of a dementia-assistance dog.”
It has been dismaying to watch the recent promotion of dangerous diets high in animal products. Dr. Dean Ornish sets the record straight in this important Op-Ed piece in The New York Times:
“The debate is not as simple as low-fat versus low-carb. Research shows that animal protein may significantly increase the risk of premature mortality from all causes, among them cardiovascular disease, cancer and Type 2 diabetes. Heavy consumption of saturated fat and trans fats may double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.”
Ornish needs to be taken seriously. He has produced the most compelling research showing how lifestyle changes may reverse certain chronic diseases.