It seems that so called brain food, blueberries, wild salmon and coffee beans- I knew it!, are have become a bit passe. What is really good for your brain is the internet. Somewhere, Google and Yahoo among others, must be singing hosannas.
Yes, a UCLA study has determined that one’s brain can be altered for the good by use of the internet.This article was of particular interest to me since it made reference to aging brains and how they can be helped. That resonated strongly since I possess one of those aging brains and at times it does need some help.
The UCLA study was headed by Dr Gary Small, a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. His study used people between the ages of 55 and 78 . Half were internet veterans and education and gender were balanced in the group as well.
This next sounds a bit challenging. The subjects performed internet searches while undergoing functional MRI’s. the goal was to measure the subtle changes in brain circuitry while the activity was in progress.
Group members then went home and did normal internet searches for a period of 1 hour per day for 7 days withing a 2 week period of time. They then returned for another fMRI . Results of this somewhat limited study indicated that us old geezers could achieve improved cognition , stimulate neural activation patterns (that must be good) and enhance brain function.
Teena Moody, study author and UCLA researcher said this about the results. “…suggest that searching online may be a simple form of brain exercise that might be employed to enhance cognition in older adults.” Previous studies had also shown promising results while additional studies will likely address the issues more fully.
Wouldn’t it be great to be a volunteer in such a study, I thought. Then I noticed one small phrase that was used to describe the volunteers. They had to be neurologically normal. Oh well. there goes my shot at being a volunteer. Don’t you wonder if they were given prescribed searches or were allowed to choose their search topics? Got to believe that could have an impact on the results.
Where else could this come from but San Francisco? yes, the good ole left coast, where I actually have a couple of friends. The mayor of Frisco, Mr Gavin Newsom wants to go after the soda. ( He does not have a slogan; maybe soak the sodas or sink the sodas would do) He says that it is for health reasons, reducing obesity, cutting health costs etc. The mayor even called soft drinks the new tobacco. Bet he will have trouble with that second hand part though.Lots of interesting things about this. Keep one thing in particular in mind. Ideas, particularly those rooted in government, that appear offbeat, often begin in California. If they work, i.e. raise revenue, they often migrate eastward. That may well be Mayor Newsom’s main goal with any health benefits that ensue, just gravy(pardon the pun but I could have said icing on the cake).
Individual containers of soft drinks cannot be taxed sans voter approval, so the approach is to tax retailers, Safeway, Kroger , etc. Do you think his Board of Supervisors will approve? Pretty good odds on that one. No word yet on the amount of the tax or how it would be spent. Check out this quote from Newsom. ” We know we’ll be sued…But I really believe this is important to do.” His idea gained traction from a UCLA study linking soda and obesity in California. The study’s lead author is Susan Babey. She pointed out that teens are unaware of the dietary and health risks associated with consuming “liquid sugar”.
A few numbers before we go. The UCLA study said that adults who drink one soft drink per day are a whopping 27% more likely to be obese.( Question, how do we know that soft drinks are the sole or even main reason for that number?) Second number states that 41% of children and 62% of teens (presumably in California) drink at least one soft drink daily. Big, big question. How do they know that? And a major emphasis on that word, know. Gotta hurry and stock up on Mello Yello while I can and figure out a safe hiding place. Or would it just be easier to once again thank the government from saving me from yet another evil foisted upon me by the evils of advertising? Tough question.
Time for some fun with NCIS, one of America’s most watched shows, in spite of American Idol. Current Nielsen numbers show that NCIS ranks sixth even though it doesn’t do all that great in the coveted 18-49 age bracket. Scuttlebutt has it that there will be a new series spun off as well, just like NCIS got its beginnings from JAG( my second favorite show).
Obviously, NCIS gets its mojo from Mark Harmon as Jethro Gibbs, retired Marine gunney, who is tougher than shoe leather but resonates well with children and backs his team with a sort tough love a parent could envy.
Many people know of Harmon’s previous roles on stage and screen, particularly one as Ted Bundy. His earlier years might not be as familiar. I came across an interesting article in an old North Carolina football program from September, 1973. Harmon was interviewed along with his dad, Tom, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1940. At the time of the interview, the elder Harmon did play by play for his son’s UCLA team. Alert NCIS viewers might remember Kate Todd wearing a USC jersey in one episode,alas; not Mark’s old number.
Even from this picture, you can the future Jethro. “On it boss” or maybe “This one’s on me , boss.”
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