The Chinese Zodiac may cite 2017 as the Year of the Rooster, but with some incredible breakthroughs in neuroscience, technology and personal brain training, we’d argue that 2017 was the Year of the Brain. Just look at some of these summaries of what we consider to be 10 of the biggest brain-related stories from the past 12 months.
1. A whopping 99% of donated NFL players’ brains had CTE.
Of 111 deceased NFL players’ brains that were donated for research, 110 of them were found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The progressive neurodegeneration, which is similar to Alzheimer’s, is caused by repetitive head injuries. In addition to football, other contact sports that have been associated with brain damage include boxing, hockey, rugby, soccer and wrestling.
2. Brain training produced significant cognitive gains for soldiers with TBI.
A study published in the respected journal, Frontiers in Psychology highlights the significant cognitive gains that LearningRx’s ThinkRx one-on-one cognitive training program produced in soldiers with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and acquired brain injury (ABI).
3. Long-term use of ADHD meds stunts growth without reducing symptoms.
A new study published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry followed more than 500 children with ADHD into adulthood. They found that extended use of stimulant medication was linked to suppressed adult height but not with reduced symptoms of ADHD.
4. Your childhood IQ may help predict how long you’ll live.
A study of nearly all children born in Scotland in 1936 found that higher childhood IQ is linked to a lower chance of dying before age 80. The research compared IQ test results that children took at age 11 to the death records of the group over the following 68 years.
5. Large study finds ADHD is rooted in clusters of weak cognitive skills.
The results of a large study presented at the American Psychological Association Annual Convention in Washington, D.C., in August 2017 revealed that working memory, long-term memory, and processing speed are the greatest cognitive deficits across the lifespan for people with attention deficit disorder (ADHD). The cross-sectional study of more than 5,400 participants, one of the largest conducted to date on cognitive profiles in ADHD, was led by psychologist Amy Lawson Moore, PhD of the Gibson Institute of Cognitive Research and neuroscientist Christina Ledbetter, PhD of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. The results are helping personal brain training experts select interventions that address more than attention problems, but rather a therapeutic approach that targets multiple cognitive deficits.
6. Scientists stop and reverse Alzheimer’s in mice.
A team of researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in Missouri have figured out how to not only stop the buildup of tau in the brain—a hallmark of Alzheimer’s, but also reverse it.
7. Scientists create a blood test for concussions that has 90% accuracy.
A research team working under a program of Lawson Health Research Institute has developed a blood test to identify concussions in adolescent athletes. The test identifies the concussions with greater than 90 percent certainty.
8. Kids get their IQ from their mother.
Researchers in Glasgow, Scotland have discovered that children get their intelligence from their mother, not their father. But while genes for IQ are carried on the X chromosome, they may be deleted if they come from the father.
9. Allergies may actually help memory.
When has having allergies ever been a good thing? Maybe the time has come! When researchers in Austria exposed mice to grass pollen to induce an allergic reaction, they found that the reaction stimulated the growth of new neurons. It appears as though allergic reactions suppress the decline of creating new memories, which happens with aging.
10. Omega 3s and 6s improved kids’ reading skills.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers from Sweden found that children’s reading—including phonologic decoding and visual analysis time—improved when omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids were added to their diet.
Michael Ginsberg is the owner of the LearningRx cognitive training centers in Marlboro and Red Bank, NJ. LearningRx, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is the largest one-on-one brain training organization in the world. With 80 Centers in the U.S., and locations in 40 countries around the globe, LearningRx has helped more than 100,000 individuals and families sharpen their cognitive skills to help them think faster, learn easier, and perform better. Their on-site programs partner every client with a personal brain trainer to keep clients engaged, accountable, and on-task—a key advantage over online-only brain exercises. Their pioneering methods have been used in clinical settings for 35 years and have been verified as beneficial in peer-reviewed research papers and journals. To learn more about LearningRx visit www.learningrx.com.