2016 Brain Bits, Part 1

  With so much information coming out of the scientific community on brain research it's easy to get overwhelmed, so I'd like to use today's blog to cover some of the latest and most interesting things coming out of the field now.

  So here we go with some Brain Bits! We all know how important our vitamins are, one that we need the most is D, which we naturally get from the sun but the sun can cause so many detrimental health issues, like premature aging and skin cancers, we're taught to avoid it. But how important is D when it comes to aging?
  The latest research has shown that vitamin D is connected to the longevity gene. Scientists have found that taking the supplement suppresses and can even prevent the accumulation of neurotoxic proteins that are linked to age related disorders like Alzheimer's. Doctors are looking into what might be able to be accomplished with vitamin D therapy. Exciting information, especially with how sun-cautious, and rightfully so, our society has become.

  PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is becoming more and more widely recognized and understood. What was once only attributed to war veterans dealing with the aftermath of trauma experienced in theatre, is now seen in all walks of life.

  PTSD in children has had some new examination involving it's affect on the developing brain. A study was conducted in China, investigating the traumatic aftereffects of a devastating earthquake on the children involved. MRIs were done on 47 children who experienced the natural disaster. 24 youths showed signs of PTSD while the other 23 did not, although they had all had similar experiences during the catastrophe. Additional DTI scans were used to read through the brain's white matter, which showed that the children experiencing PTSD had actual brain abnormalities, where the other 23 children showed no irregularities.

  While the subject of pedophilia is not a fun one to discuss there are some very interesting studies being done that may someday help in the prevention sexual offending from those diagnosed as pedophiles. Researchers are finding that there are certain brain alterations between sexual offenders and those who have the improper desires but don't offend. The author of The Human Brain Mapping Study has found that not all people who are diagnosed with pedophilia go on to offend, just as not all child sexual offenders are diagnosed as pedophiles. With the findings from these brain scans there may a broad spectrum of applications, including a method of prevention.

  Fascinating stuff, right? I've got more Brain Bits for you but I'm going to take a short break here. Come back for part 2!

~ Julie "The Brain Lady" Anderson
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