My life is very full. So is my brain. Some of you might remember the old TV commercial: This is your brain (cast iron skillet). This is your brain on drugs. (cast iron skillet with frying egg). Well, my cast iron skillet is never that empty or only occupied by a single egg. With this in mind, I've been drawn to articles that purport to help boost brain power.
I recently read an article in the February 2011 (I'm a little behind, yes, my reading pile is full also) Science News called "Brain Boosters."
This article talks about some new military "snacks" that not only boost wakefulness but also cognitive ability. These items are being developed at the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine and aim to improve "mental energy," which includes "wakefulness, mood, motivation, and the ability to perform key mental tasks." Researchers have found that as little as 32mg of caffeine, for instance, improves attentiveness for auditory and visual cues (= a can of cola or less than 1 cup of coffee). The interesting part is that caffeine does not just wake you up; these benefits occur even when the person is NOT tired.
And for my fellow tea drinkers, there area ongoing studies into the impact of tea on the brain. In addition to caffeine, some tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that has been linked to "increased performance under stress and improved learning and concentration." So, if you have an intractable problem on your desktop today, perhaps you should "go have a cuppa" as my mum would say. Bottoms up! If you are feeling really crazy or just fancy a laugh, you can "Have a Cuppa Tea" with the Kinks circa 1972 on YouTube.
Anyone else have any insights into how to boost brainpower?
Wakeup call: Data scientists at Jawbone recently published findings on the quake’s effect on sleep. Ninety-three percent of Jawbone UP wearers in Napa, Sonoma, Vallejo, and Fairfield -- all less than 15 miles from the epicenter -- woke up at 3:20 a.m. when shaking began.