Brain training has been touted as a way to prevent age-related cognitive decline. Many products are available for purchase. But are any actually effective?

We reviewed the merits of peer-reviewed clinical intervention studies that investigated commercial computerised brain training products in healthy people aged over 50 years.

We identified seven programs whose claims of efficacy were supported by evidence, but only two of these met our highest standards. These were BrainHQ and Cognifit.

Exercises from BrainHQ continuously adjusted difficulty depending on how the user was performing. One set of exercises included matching pairs of confusable syllables, reconstructing sequences of verbal instructions, and identifying details in a verbally presented story.

Other sets of exercises are visually engaging – for example, in one of the exercises the user is assumed to be a gardener. To grow plants, the user has to match pictures after they appear briefly on screen, one after the other.

Exercises from Cognifit contain 21 different tasks. In one of the tasks a hot-air balloon flies in the sky. On its way, it lands on different clouds. The user has to remember and reproduce its exact route.

In another task, a letter grid appears in the centre of the screen. A picture of a well-known object appears in the lower left corner of the screen and the user has to find the name of this object spelled out in the letter grid.

Overall, both programs provided reasonable clinical evidence to support healthy brain ageing. Healthy brain ageing is a broad term that focuses on sustaining cognitive function and capacity to function independently as we age.

To read more ... click here.



Yoga has the same potential as exercise to reduce the risk factors of cardiovascular disease

Effective for those 'who cannot perform traditional aerobic exercise'

Following a systematic review of 37 randomised controlled trials (which included 2768 subjects), investigators from the Netherlands and USA have found that yoga may provide the same benefits in risk factor reduction as such traditional physical activities as biking or brisk walking. "This finding is significant," they note, "as individuals who cannot or prefer not to perform traditional aerobic exercise might still achieve similar benefits in [cardiovascular] risk reduction."

Their study is published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Yoga, an ancient mind-body practice which originated in India and incorporates physical, mental, and spiritual elements, has been shown in several studies to be effective in improving cardiovascular risk factors, with reduction in the risk of heart attacks and strokes. This meta-analysis was performed, say the investigators, to appraise the evidence and provide a realistic pooled estimate of yoga's effectiveness when measured against exercise and no exercise.

Results showed first that risk factors for cardiovascular disease improved more in those doing yoga than in those doing no exercise, and second, that yoga had an effect on these risks comparable to exercise.

To read more ... click here.


Kevin Mamon has no excuse. He was warned. He knows it, and his medical records prove it. Four years ago, a test showed that he had prediabetes, which, as the name suggests, is the intermediate step between normal, healthy blood sugar levels and full-blown type 2 diabetes. "I fooled myself for a long time, thinking I was healthy, but just a big dude," he says.

The 6'1" Mamon isn't kidding about his size, which had peaked north of 400 pounds. By the time he went to see Spencer Nadolsky, D.O., he was no longer so sure about the "healthy" part. It was March 15, 2016, one of many details he remembers with the clarity of a man who's had a conversion experience. He was a few weeks shy of his 42nd birthday and his weight had recently dropped to 373 pounds without any real effort on his part.

To read more ... click here.


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