Older Brains Get Too Full for New Information

According to new research, learning becomes more difficult as we get older because our brains get too full for new information. This may be due, in part, to finding that with advanced age we get less sleep during the stage in which we don’t dream. Both studies are reported in the prestigious Nature family of journals.

Aging brain

Study Identifies Itch-specific Nerves

Scientists have been looking for itch-specific nerves for decades. New research from investigators at Johns Hopkins University and Yale University in the United States and several universities in China has identified sensory neurons in mice that are dedicated to relaying itchy sensations from the top layers of skin to the spinal cord [1].

Woman itching her back

The Facts on Flax

Flax, or linseed, has been cultivated for centuries. Its fibers were used to make linen in ancient Egypt. More recently, flax seeds have become popular among health-conscious consumers. Several studies suggest that it may help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Flax contains high levels of three nutrients that are good for our health.

Flax seeds

Study Reveals How Green Tea Improves Memory

Green tea has been enjoyed for centuries, and its benefits have been widely touted. It is reputed to help treat many of modernity’s worst ills, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, HIV infection, and neurodegenerative diseases. New work done in China furthers the observations that green tea can help prevent neurodegeneration.┬áThe report, published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, starts to elucidate the mechanism by which it does so [1].

Green tea

Bugs in Our Guts

Two recent research studies contribute to the growing body of evidence that the population of microbes residing in our intestines plays vital roles in our health. One is a meta-analysis of studies done to determine if taking probiotics alongside antibiotics can alleviate antibiotic associated diarrhea; results are reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association [1]. The other evaluated the effects of red wine on the different species of bacteria in the gut; it appears in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition [2].

Gastro-intestinal health