When we train the reaching for and grasping of objects, we also train our brain. In other words, this action brings about changes in the connections of a certain neuronal population in the red nucleus, a region of the midbrain. Researchers at the University of Basel’s Biozentrum have discovered this group of nerve cells in the red nucleus. They have also shown how fine motor tasks promote plastic reorganization of this brain region. The results of the study have been published recently in Nature Communications.
Simply grasping a coffee cup needs fine motor coordination with the highest precision. This required performance of the brain is an ability that can also be learned and trained. Prof. Kelly Tan’s research group at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, has investigated the red nucleus, a region of the midbrain that controls fine motor movement, and identified a new population of nerve cells which changes when fine motor coordination is trained. The more that grasping is practiced, the more the connections between the neurons of this group of nerve cells are strengthened. Continue reading
Just like Mark Twain said about the weather, “Everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it.” That’s pretty much the case with neurotransmitters. I keep running across these various hard to remember names, but really can’t feel like I know them or can do anything about them. So, I thought you might find this infographic useful.
As a bonus, protein-rich foods eaten in the morning help control cravings for fatty foods later in the day. Scientists at the University of Missouri found that those who ate a high-protein breakfast ate 26% fewer calories at lunch than those who ate the same number of calories but lower amounts of protein for breakfast. “Breakfasts that are high in protein also reduce cravings for savory – or high-fat – foods. On the other hand, if breakfast is skipped, these cravings continue to rise throughout the day,” observes Heather Leidy, a nutritionist who was part of the research team.
Our Better Health
Shubhra Krishan November 27, 2014
What do the following breakfast menus have in common?
- Coffee and doughnut.
- Pancakes with syrup.
- Milk with sweet cereal.
Yes, they are quick to put together and taste good. But if you start feeling irritable and jittery a few hours later, these very foods could be responsible, thanks to the quick blood sugar rise and crash they cause.
That’s because they have one other factor in common: they lack protein.
Protein takes longer for the stomach to digest, so it keeps you feeling satisfied for longer. This in turn helps keep blood sugar levels stable, easing feelings of anxiety and nervousness.
But this nerve-easing benefit goes even further when you eat proteins at breakfast. Researchers at the Franklin Institute explain that a morning meal high in protein raises your brain’s tyrosine levels. This helps your brain produce neurotransmitters called norepinephrine and dopamine, which give you…
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