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.


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


Autism: What kind of results could you expect from the Brain Gauge?

In another article, we discussed the nature of autism and how it guided the design of the Brain Gauge testing methods. One question that we often get is what Brain Gauge scores look like before and after treatment. We are often inquired whether Brain Gauge scores indicate if someone is improving or not.

Let’s take a look at one of the subjects in one of our autism studies. At the time, the patient was 22 years old, IQ in the 120 range and had an AQ of 38. He


PTSD, inflammation and more..

Although it is has been considered difficult to treat (and sometimes diagnose), it appears that one underlying symptom in PTSD is neuroinflammation.

It is estimated that approximately 8% of Americans will develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at some point in their life, but nearly 70% of the same population will experience a traumatic situation. So why do some people develop PTSD while others do not? As is the case with TBI/concussion, ethics prevents controlled studies of the development of PTSD, but there are other ways to tease apart


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


Are we getting dumber?

Or just dumber at how we measure brain health?

There have been several articles lately describing the demise of contemporary brain health relative to how “smart” we were 100-150 years ago. Could our brains be decreasing in functional capacity? Has intelligence gone down over the past several decades? We’ll avoid any politically motivated discussions and think about whether there is any data that supports this. We won't discuss whether there is a degenerative process ongoing in the school systems, but rather focus on the data that has been collected


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


Fractal patterns in the brain

Why the Brain Gauge can detect even the smallest neurological changes

One of the chapters of my dissertation discussed the functional organization of mini-columns - the brain's smallest functional groups of neurons. Each mini-column is made up of a vertical array that runs from Layer 1 (outermost cells) to Layer 6 (innermost cells) in the cortex. Though these groupings can be difficult to study - a typical minicolumn is about 1/5 the thickness of a human hair - they can give crucial insight into the overall organization of the


Alzheimer’s and Diabetes: Cause or Effect?

Alzheimer’s is often called “diabetes type 3” because there appears to be a correlation between the two disorders.

After first identifying amyloid β plaques and tau tangles in the brain of a deceased patient in the early 1900’s, Alois Alzheimer was careful to not infer that these structures had caused the dementia in the patient. Until recently, most of the research (at least by drug companies) has been aimed at finding ways to reverse the accumulation, or at least stop the spread of these structures. While drugs have