Anna Tommerdahl

51 posts

How does the sense of touch differ from all other senses?

Vision and audition do not have the affective influence that somatosensation does.

If you take a quick survey of the number of publications on different sensory systems, you’ll quickly notice that there are about 100 times as many papers published on vision as there are on somatosensation. Vision does, after all, take up about 30% of cerebral cortex and the somatosensory cortex, the region that deals with the sense of touch, only takes up about 8%. This is one reason that many people like to test brain health visually


Problems with concussion testing in sports

Most currently available concussion tests rely on baseline scores. At the beginning of the season, athletes complete an assessment to establish their baseline cognitive health. When an athlete sustains a head injury or shows symptoms of a concussion, a trainer or coach administers the test again and compares the two sets of scores. If the post-injury scores are substantially lower than the baseline results, athletes are removed from play.

At first glance, this approach seems reasonable. Everyone's brain is different, so by comparing a potentially concussed individual to that individual's


The Speed Measure

Reaction time has been used since the mid-1800s to assess cognitive function, and it is still useful for that today.
The reaction time test has been used for a really long time to investigate nervous system function. Papers written as early as the mid 1800’s describe the reaction time test and since that time, most papers focused on differences in reaction time and other populations. In other words, most of these papers demonstrated comparisons that were made between healthy control populations and populations of individuals that had some condition


Effects of Alcohol on College-Age Brains

Results of our study demonstrate that 18-22 year olds that drink excessively have diminished plasticity.

We conducted a study on college-aged subjects (age 18-22) to assess the impact of their drinking behavior on cortical metrics scores. The study involved testing a large number of individuals in that age range and having them answering questionnaires about their drinking behavior. Interestingly (as an aside), the regulatory oversight committee did not want to approve the study at first because they claimed that the study was assuming that individuals under the age of 21


The Impact of Cough Syrup on Plasticity

Brain Gauge methods are sensitive enough to detect changes in plasticity with a small dose of cough syrup.
Ever take cough syrup and feel a bit strange? And then maybe wonder how it was impacting your brain? It probably did a good job suppressing your cough, but some medications do change the way you think.

One of the studies that we performed over a decade ago investigated the impact of cough syrup on plasticity. Cough syrup – and more specifically DXM (dextromethorphan) – is what is known as an NMDA receptor antagonist.


Stand Up For Better Brain Health

Exercise alone is not the only thing you need to do to insure good brain health. Measuring with the Brain Gauge can make sure that your lifestyle is not impacting your brain health in a negative way.
The link between exercise and brain health is strongly support by research and as recently been widely publicized. We've even written about it on this blog. But what if exercise alone is just a piece of the entire picture of brain health?

A recent study performed by researchers at UCLA reveals the specific


When it comes to nootropics, more isn't always better

Use of the Brain Gauge with the knowledge of a tuning curve will help you optimize brain performance.
Whether it's at work or on the field, humans are constantly looking for ways to get better. But our bodies, just like any machine, needed to be tuned in very specific ways in order to for us to achieve optimal performance. For example, if you want to run a fast marathon, you'll need to put in a lot of long runs and a lot of calories in the months leading up to


Caffeine: The World's Oldest Nootropic

The effects of caffeine on brain function and how to measure it.
Though media outlets often portray 'biohacking' as a hightech, modern trend, people have been searching for ways to improve their brain function for centuries.

Back in the 1400s, Arabian monks first noted the energizing and mood-enhancing effects of hot drinks made from the beans of the coffee tree. However, caffeine - the chemical responsible for coffee's stimulating effects - was not identified until 1819, when the German chemist Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge isolated it from coffee. Since this discovery,


Find out why biohackers are going nuts for this superfood

Consumption of walnuts appears to have a positive effect on brain health.
Every day, it seems like there's a new “superfood” that promises to boost your brain power or overall health. Recently, walnuts in particular have seen a rise in popularity due to their supposed benefits on cognition and mood. But is there any truth to those claims? A 2015 study by Arab & Ang investigated some of the proclaimed effects of walnut consumption. Subjects were surveyed on their daily intake of nuts and then categorized into 3 groups: walnuts


Why the Brain Gauge works for people of all ages

Cortical metrics stay within normative range for a large age spectrum – as long as people stay healthy.
We often get asked whether age-related declines in skin sensitivity can affect your Brain Gauge scores. This is a legitimate concern, as confounding factors in the peripheral nervous system can invalidate many neurological tests. If peripheral sensory receptors are transmitting weak or noisey signals in response to a certain stimulus, the test will fail to effectively activate the central nervous system. Fortunately, we kept this issue in mind during our research and development,