Anna Tommerdahl

46 posts

Brain Size



Another not-so-surprising study…

There always seems to be a new study promoting the importance of exercise and a healthy lifestyle hot off the press, and this week is no different. A new preliminary study from Columbia University in New York suggests that regular, high-intensity exercise is associated with larger brain volume. Generally, as people age, their brain begins to shrink, but this new research suggests that staying active may keep that from happening.

In a study of 1,557 people without dementia (but 296 had mild cognitive impairment) and an


Read more...

How do you detect invisible symptoms?



After a mild concussion, people generally start to feel like they are back to normal within 1-2 weeks. Symptoms start to resolve, and if being evaluated by a professional, patients will usually show a return to baseline scores on common tests such as SCAT and ImPACT within this window post-concussion. But is their brain really healed?

Unlike a broken bone where you can take an x-ray and see directly if the injury is healed, a head injury is assessed indirectly by measuring brain function. This is like assessing a broken


Read more...

Childhood Dog Exposure Linked to Reduced Risk of Schizophrenia



Getting a pet dog is often suggested to people who need extra motivation to exercise a little more. Having a dog will force you to go outside and go on walks that you might otherwise take, and that, in turn, can help improve your physical health.

But what about your mental health? Can pets have a significant effect on our mental well-being? Your first thought with that question may be along the lines of the companionship pets supply, maybe their role as a stress-reducer, particularly in those with mental health


Read more...

Intro to the Brain Gauge



The Brain Gauge: A revolutionary tool for assessing brain health.

Imagine a world where brain health could be measured in a manner as simply as taking your temperature. Check the reading, and you have your answer. Essentially a 1-2 minute task would give you an idea about the status of your brain health. You could immediately determine if that hit your child took to the head playing sports caused a concussion or see if the age of your parents was starting to have an effect on their brain function. Or


Read more...

Mushrooms, Alzheimer’s and Improving Brain Health Through Diet




Read more...

Measuring and Managing Stress and Anxiety



Everyone has some experience with stress. It could be acute stress from cramming for a test (or two) in high school, getting the jitters before a big race or game, or experiencing a traumatic event; or it could be a chronic dose of stress from your job, from the lack of having a job, taking care of a sick loved one, or being chronically sick yourself. Stress can come in all shapes and sizes, but do all of these scenarios affect our brains the same way? What exactly is going


Read more...

Weeding Through the Latest in Cannabinoid Research



"Marijuana", "pot", and "weed" are among a few of the street names used to refer to cannabis, a popular pyschoactive drug that is starting to become legalized for recreational use around the nation. While your parents might have warned you back in the day that "Sitting around smoking pot will turn your brain into mush!", there has never been any scientific data to prove any harmful or lasting neurological impact from cannabis use.

In fact, today, you might encounter someone who argues


Read more...

The Brain Gauge is a Functional Measure



A functional measure simply tells you how well something works. In the physical world, there are lots of functional measures. How fast can you run a mile? How much weight can you lift? How fast can you swim across the pool? Can you run up 2 flights of stairs without getting out of breath? These measures tell you something about performance and how well your body functions when it tries to do something - when it is stressed or pushing the envelope.

Why are functional measures important? After all, I


Read more...

Sometimes our Stomach Seems to have a Mind of its Own



The enteric nervous system (ENS), the nervous system that innervates our gut, is fairly extensive and plays an important role in both our physical and brain health.

If you’ve read many of our other posts, you know that we like to take a systems-level (or "holistic") approach when talking about brain health. In contrast to reductionist science which looks at a small portion of a larger system in isolation from all other parts of the system (which, to be fair, does have its place sometimes), we recognize


Read more...

Sun Exposure and Brain Health



Sun exposure is linked to positive effects on brain function, but in order to quantify these benefits, you will just have to measure it for yourself.

Surely you are familiar with the warnings surrounding over-exposure to the sun and the potential danger of it's powerful UV rays. While we are constantly reminded by advertisements, doctors and worry-some parents to protect ourselves by wearing sunscreen, hats and clothing, we also know that sun exposure is essential to our well-being. Sunlight is required for us to produce Vitamin D, and low levels


Read more...