Body Clock Strength Impacts Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic–depressive disorder, is a condition characterized by alternating states of elevated energy, cognition and mood, with periods of irritable mood and depression. The extreme mood swings experienced by patients with bipolar disorder have been strongly associated with disruptions in circadian rhythms — the 24-hour cycle of biological processes that govern our day and night activity.

Lithium is one of the most common treatments for bipolar disorder. However, little research has been done to find out if and how lithium impacts the brain and peripheral body clockwork. A new study published in the open access journal PLoS ONE reveals a novel link between lithium, bipolar disorder and circadian rhythms [1].

Bipolar Disorder

Brain Awareness Week: Brain Fitness Book Give Away

Here at Highlight HEALTH, we’re very interested in health and wellness, and the evidence-based preventive steps that can be taken to maintain or preclude disease or injury. This same idea applies to brain health: what preventive measures can be taken to improve or retain mental ability and brainpower?

Cognitive decline as you age appears to be largely due to altered connections among brain cells. Keeping the brain active — reading, writing, working crossword or other puzzles, educational courses, memory exercises — appears to strengthen the brain and may build reserves of brain cells and connections.

Today, it’s common to hear the buzzwords “brain fitness”, “brain training” and/or “neuroplasticity”. There are several products available on the market that can help to maintain and/or rebuild cognitive performance. We reviewed the SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness when it was released in 2009. The guide aims to help people make informed decisions about brain health and cognitive fitness, based on the latest scientific research, and to help navigate new products and confusing myths and claims that are part of the emerging brain fitness market.

SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness book give away

For Brain Awareness Week, SharpBrains has generously provided 5 copies of The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness for us to give away. Here’s how it works:

Simply leave a comment below and tell us in 2-3 sentences how brain research can impact health and/or healthcare. Together with Alvaro Fernandez at SharpBrains, we’ll select the 5 best answers and send the authors a copy of The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness.

If you need ideas to help you get started, check out past stories on the brain here at Highlight HEALTH.

Steps to brain fitness

An unhealthy lifestyle can lead to diseases like obesity, diabetes and brain-related health problems, all of which increase the risk of stroke, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. These conditions can be managed and even prevented by a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that brain health is promoted by a healthy lifestyle that includes [1]:

  • Eating a brain-healthy diet
  • Staying mentally active
  • Exercising and keeping fit
  • Staying socially engaged
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Managing stress
  • Protecting your head from trauma
  • Controlling risk factors
  • Avoiding unhealthy habits
  • Understanding your genetic risk

The decision to review your current lifestyle and start making changes for brain health is truly an important choice to make. Following the healthy steps listed above will be effective at any age; however, the earlier you start, the better off you will be. Your goal should be to make a brain-healthy lifestyle a normal part of your everyday.


  1. Steps to Brain Fitness. Alliance for Aging Research. 2006.

The Link Between Positive Psychology and Cancer Survival

Have you ever heard a person in poor health being told “Well, you’ve got to stay positive, that will help”? This seemingly common idea is currently under significant scientific investigation. Indeed, the debate about the degree to which psychological processes can directly influence physical health has received special attention recently. A special supplement of the Annals of Behavioural Medicine directly addressed this topic in February this year and a recent article in the Lancet explored this issue, cautioning us that the relationship between a positive psychological orientation and cancer survival remains unclear [1].

How Your Head Can Influence Your Heart

How you think about your health can have powerful impacts on how you experience your health. In a recent study with a group of cardiac patients, how people thought about their illness (termed “illness cognitions”) was found to have a direct impact on how people experience health and emotional wellbeing [1]. These illness cognitions also affected health indirectly by influencing the types of behaviours people were engaged in to cope with cardiac problems. This study brings to our attention the relevance of psychology in relation to medical illnesses.

Brain Toniq Review: The Science Behind the Think Drink

The ability to multitask and mentally juggle multiple demands is essential in today’s fast-paced world. At the same time, we’re bombarded with information that can both distract and overload our focus and attention.

Many of us need a caffeine “boost” in the morning or throughout the day to maintain mental focus. However, drinking too much coffee or tea leaves you feeling like you need to do a couple of laps around the building.


And although coffee consumption offers a number of potential health benefits, many of us drink more than enough of it on a daily basis. Energy drinks are an alternative option. However, their effects on cognitive performance are principally related to the presence of caffeine [1].

Enter Brain Toniq

Brain Toniq bills itself as the world’s first and only botanical-based, non-caffeinated functional “think drink”, specifically designed to increase mental focus, function and clarity. According to the Brain Toniq website:

Formulated out of plant extracts and natural compounds, the ingredients in Brain Toniq have a long, proven history for their effects on increasing brain power and cognition.

I’d previously heard about Brain Toniq and was intrigued at the idea of an energy drink designed to increase cognitive performance. Additionally, the Brain Toniq website references peer-reviewed research studies that examine many of the ingredients. When I contacted the company, they were kind enough to send me a sample to review.