This week there's exciting new research on the brain's response to stress (bad) and weight lifting (good), as well as dementia, ADHD, and Alzheimer's.
Lifting weights may improve brain function
There's been quite a bit of evidence that aerobic activity can help with cognition and perhaps even delay dementia, but what about weight-lifting? Evidence from studies - mostly on animals such as mice - suggests that pumping iron can also improve memory and thinking, the New York Times reports. The results are "encouraging," one researcher says, that this will translate into humans.
The ups and downs of stress
Stress can be both good and bad for the brain, researchers report in the Journal of Neuroscience. On the one hand, if you believe you are in danger, this makes you more sensitive to your environment. But at the same time, it may hinder your ability to do complex thinking, Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, tells the school's news service. This dampening of decision-making capabilities is yet another reason you should try to control stress.
Dementia and ADHD
There may be a connection between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dementia. A study in the European Journal of Neurology looked at a specific condition called "dementia with lewy bodies," which refer to protein deposits inside nerve cells that can impair brain functioning. Scientists found that people with this condition are more likely to have had ADHD than the general population. Read more from HealthDay via USA Today.
You probably know about stents for heart attack patients, but now scientists are finding that they may also be used in the brain. After traditional stroke treatments fail, stents could clear blockages in the brain's arteries. But this is still at the experimental stage, and the study only used 19 participants. Read more from HealthDay via Bloomberg Businessweek.
The only way to know for sure whether someone had Alzheimer's disease is in an autopsy. Now there's talk of a test for living patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will consider a new diagnostic test involving a brain scan to identify signature plaques, CNN reports.