A paper in The Journal of Neuroscience claims that a single session of transcranial direct current brain stimulation can “temporarily reverse nonbeneficial effects of aging on cognition and brain activity and connectivity.”
If the research can be replicated and extended, it will have enormous consequences.
“The Giant Spider” (“La Giganta Araneo”) Esperanto Trailer. I like the guy with the fly swatter.
A paper, given at a meeting of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology in Berlin reports:
“occasional adolescent cannabis use does not lead to poorer educational and intellectual performance, but that heavy cannabis use is associated with slightly poorer exam results at age 16.”
You can read the press release here. The main points:
“Cannabis use appeared to be associated with decreased intellectual performance. Cannabis use was, however, highly correlated with other risky behaviours such as alcohol, cigarette and other drug use. When the researchers took these other behaviours into account, they found there was no relationship between cannabis use and lower IQ at age 15.
Heavier cannabis users (at least 50 times by age 15) however, did show marginally impaired educational abilities. These children tended to have poorer exam results (3% lower) on compulsory school exams taken at age 16, even after adjusting for childhood educational performance, as well as alcohol, cigarette and other drug use.”
A pdf of the presentation can be found here. Note that this is not a claim that cannabis use is safe, only that occasional use may not have negative effects on cognition, heavier use was found to be “linked to marginally worse educational performance.” The authors suggest that cannabis use may be a proxy for risky lifestyle:
“The pattern of attenuation suggests rather than a specific effect of cannabis on IQ and education, any substance use at a young age, and the ‘risky’ lifestyle such behaviours reveal, are related to poorer outcomes.”
Alcohol is America’s most serious drug problem. Contrary to industry propaganda, there is no known safe level of alcohol consumption. The health benefits claimed for alcohol do not survive critical scrutiny.
The Washington Post reports
“the top 10 percent of drinkers account for well over half of the alcohol consumed in any given year.”
According to Stanford researcher Philip J. Cook:
“One consequence is that the heaviest drinkers are of greatly disproportionate importance to the sales and profitability of the alcoholic-beverage industry,” he writes writes. “If the top decile somehow could be induced to curb their consumption level to that of the next lower group (the ninth decile), then total ethanol sales would fall by 60 percent.”
Hat tip to BoingBoing.
Kate Knibbs at Gizmodo reports:
“Recently, a coalition of nearly 70 researchers spoke against brain games like Lumosity, signing a letter of consensus posted by the Stanford Longevity Center that lambasted the brain training community for promising a kind of mind power boost that just isn’t provable.”
The letter can be found here. This is the concluding paragraph:
“In summary: We object to the claim that brain games offer consumers a scientifically grounded avenue to reduce or reverse cognitive decline when there is no compelling scientific evidence to date that they do. The promise of a magic bullet detracts from the best evidence to date, which is that cognitive health in old age reflects the long-term effects of healthy, engaged lifestyles. In the judgment of the signatories, exaggerated and misleading claims exploit the anxiety of older adults about impending cognitive decline. We encourage continued careful research and validation in this field.”