William Krakow

13 posts

Thanksgiving: A Feast for your Brain



When you're going back for seconds (or sevenths) at Thanksgiving dinner, load up on these brain boosting dishes.

Turkey

Screen-Shot-2018-11-19-at-12.08.18-PM

About an hour after the last slice of pie has been served, someone in your family - perhaps the crazy uncle, or the social-media obsessed aunt - will inevitably release an exaggerated yawn before blaming their sudden drowsiness on "all that tryptophan". It happens year after year. After 'Turkey' and 'Thanksgiving' itself, 'tryptophan' is the hottest buzz word every fourth Thursday in November. This oft-repeated myth even prevails despite


Read more...

A Review of the Choco-Literature



It's Halloween, which means that in just a few hours parents across the country will have their hands full with children toting plastic pumpkins, grocery bags and pillowcases full of sugary treats.

For many parents, this is the scariest part about Halloween. Children who consume too much sugar are at risk for obesity, diabetes, and cavities. Binging on their Halloween haul can also lead to a harrowing sugar-crash hangover, and upon waking up for school the next day they might be even more terrifying than the night before.

Rationing your


Read more...

The best types of exercise for your mental health



Exercise is an incredible medicine. It can lower blood pressure, prevent diabetes, and alleviate the debilitating symptoms of chronic depression and anxiety. It’s even been shown to promote better skin health, improve eyesight, and ward off the aging process of cells.

On the other hand, not exercising can lead to mood disorders, arthritis - and not surprisingly - obesity and cardiovascular disease. The CDC estimates that inadequate exercise accounts for 11% of total annual healthcare costs in the United States - that’s just over $130 billion each year.


Read more...

Your child might need more time than you think to recover from a concussion



Children are resilient. They can often laugh off traumatic injuries that would send most otherwise healthy adults to the ER. For most of elementary school, there was more of my skin in tatters on the playground than on my knees or elbows, the result of daily high-speed bike crashes and padless tackle football games on the blacktop. (You might be wondering where my parents were during all this. Thank you, I appreciate your concern. They were usually at the doctor’s office with one of my brothers tending to an


Read more...

Brain Games



Every day, millions of people around the world sign on to apps like Lumosity, Elevate, and a fleet of other programs that promise to increase a user’s focus, memory, and mental performance. Though most previous studies have found these apps’ brain enhancing claims to be dubious (at best), that hasn’t prevented them from garnering enormous and passionate followings. Lumosity has been downloaded over 35 million times from the Apple app store alone. The brain-training industry - which also includes Cogmed, Neuronation, and other cranialnyms - is now valued


Read more...

World Records



We’re getting stronger, taller and faster, but are we getting smarter?

Running a four minute mile was supposed to be impossible. Until 1954, most coaches, runners, scientists, and the even world’s top physiologists all declared that humans were physically incapable of a sub 4:00 performance, even given ideal training and race conditions. It was simply too fast.

In 1954 a young medical student named Roger Bannister proved them all wrong. On a windy day in Oxford, England, Bannister ran 1 mile in three minutes and 59.4


Read more...

How do my Brain Gauge scores compare to everyone else's?



An introduction to the Brain Gauge scoring system
In the ProTools (or RxTools) app, your Brain Gauge metrics reflect how your brain performance compares to population averages. If you have a score of 100 for any metric, you performed as good as (or better than) healthy controls from our subject population. We calculated the mean scores for our tests through years of clinical trials.

On the other hand, if you have a low Brain Gauge score (between 0 and 70), you scored poorly on that metric's tests compared to our


Read more...

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


Read more...

Measuring Neuroinflammation



The Timing Perception measure (or Duration Discrimination) comes from the test that asks you “which stimulus lasted longer?”. This score is useful on its own, but you can gain even more insight into your brain health by comparing it to your Duration Discrimination with confound score. The difference between these two scores is based on a brain illusion - a mistake that your brain makes when comparing two sensations. But don't worry - if your brain is making this mistake, it means that it's healthy!

How the illusion is created


Read more...

Case Study: Getting back on your feet



Disclaimer: This article was adapted from a paper orginally published in the Journal of Physiotherapy Research (King et al. 2018). For privacy concerns the name of the patient has been changed.

Sacha didn’t feel so good.

A few days earlier, she had fallen off her stationary bike and clipped the side of her head on an unfortunately placed ceramic planter, opening a neat cut above her right ear. But after a quick trip to the emergency room and a handful of stitches, her wound seemed to be taken care


Read more...