2016 Brain Bits, Part 2

  Welcome back for part two of 2016 Brain Bits. I had so much information I wanted to share about some of the new and exciting info coming out of the scientific world, I had to do it in two parts. So here we go again.

  Have you ever been on a diet? Silly question? Maybe, but some very interesting research is being done on brain cells and their function and connection to our appetites.

  Researchers are studying the effects on stimulating the cholinergic neurons in mice, this works because mice have similar brain patterns to humans. They've found by activating these cells the mice lost their appetites, even to the point of becoming borderline anorexic. These neurons use the same pathways that nicotine, an appetite suppressant, from cigarettes use. This is why most people will gain weight when they quit smoking. It's interesting to note that diet research has usually focused on the hypothalamus, but these cholinergic neurons are found in the basal forbrain near the Brochas area. So would you take a pill designed to suppress your appetite by activating your brain cells?

  Anyone who knows me well knows that I am an avid dog lover, so I found this next story extremely thought-provoking. 

  The School of Life Sciences at the University of London in the United Kingdom has been studying the effects of what dogs do immediately following their training sessions has on their memory. We all know that memories can be very strongly attached to emotions, hearing a certain song can make you instantly nostalgic and bring back great childhood memories, while another piece of music can instantly have a negative effect, conjuring painful emotions surrounding a negative memory. When we're aroused emotionally, in a positive way, our brain releases a number of hormones that may enhance memory consolidation.

  Fascinating but what does this have to do with dog training? The researchers at The University of London have found that when the dogs were vigorously played with for 30 minutes after their intense instruction, they recalled their training better and faster than the dogs who were not played with. So if we follow up our learning activities with positive emotions, stimulating our brains in fun ways will help our brains recall and remember what we've been taught. I don't know about you but my take away from this? Do my work, then go play with my dogs!

  I hope you've enjoyed my Brain Bits for 2016 and if you'd like the details on my resource material from the studies I've referenced, please feel free to message me directly at info@yourbestmindonline.com Now go play with your dog so you'll remember all of this!

~ Julie "The Brain Lady" Anderson

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