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  • A small pilot study has confirmed that inflammation in the blood plays a role in chemobrain.

A pilot study involving 22 breast cancer patients currently receiving chemotherapy (mean age 54), has found that those with higher levels of inflammatory biomarkers did significantly worse on tests for short-term visual memory.

  • A small study has used older adults’ inability to ignore irrelevant information to improve their memory for face-name pairs.

One important reason for the greater cognitive problems commonly experienced as we age, is our increasing difficulty in ignoring distracting and irrelevant information. But it may be that in some circumstances that propensity can be used to help memory.

  • A study involving nearly 500 people with dementia has found that a rigorous physical exercise program did nothing to slow their decline.

A number of studies have found that physical exercise can help delay the onset of dementia, however the ability of exercise to slow the decline once dementia has set in is a more equivocal question. A large new study answers this question in the negative.

  • Brain imaging shows that musicians and bilinguals require less effort to perform an auditory working memory task, compared to monolingual non-musicians.

Musicians and people who are bilingual have long been shown to have a better

  • Brain imaging has revealed that aerobic fitness and motor speed/agility in overweight children, but not strength, is associated with greater gray matter in some brain regions, some of which are also associated with better academic performance.

A Spanish study involving 101 overweight/obese children (aged 8-11) has found that aerobic capacity and motor ability is associated with a greater volume of gray matter in several cortical and subcortical brain regions.

  • A lab experiment finds we remember written information better when we read it aloud, and that this is more due to the self involvement than to the motor aspect of producing the words.

Confirming what many of us have learned through practical experience, a study comparing different strategies of reading or listening has found that you are more likely to remember something if you read it out loud to yourself.

  • Gist processing appears to play a strong role in false memories.
  • Older adults rely on gist memory more.
  • Older adults find it harder to recall specific sensory details that would help confirm whether a memory is true.

Do older adults forget as much as they think, or is it rather that they ‘misremember’?

  • An imaging and eye-tracking study has shown that the brain uses eye movements to help us recall remembered images.

A small study has tested the eminent Donald Hebb’s hypothesis that visual imagery results from the reactivation of neural activity associated with viewing images, and that the re-enactment of eye-movement patterns helps both imagery and

A largish study

  • confirms that college students tend to be over-confident about their academic success
  • supports some findings that female students are more realistic in their predictions of performance
  • finds that undergraduates can improve their expectations through repeated exam taking
  • finds that over-confidence is associated with higher performance
  • supports the theory that over-confidence motivates students to study harder.

There has been quite a lot of research into the relationship between students’ expectations and academic performance. It’s fairly well-established that students tend to have inflated expectations of their performance, but the effect of this has been disputed.

  • A large study indicates that lifestyle changes, together with advice and support for managing vascular health, can help prevent cognitive decline even in carriers of the Alzheimer's gene.

A Finnish study involving over 1000 older adults suggests that a counselling program can prevent cognitive decline even among those with the Alzheimer’s gene.

  • An observational study involving over 100 stroke survivors suggests the MIND diet may help substantially slow cognitive decline in those impaired by stroke.

A pilot study involving 106 participants of the Rush Memory and Aging Project who had experienced a stroke followed participants for an average of 5.9 years, testing their cognitive function and monitoring their eating habits using food journals.

  • A study of nearly half a million people has revealed that muscular strength is associated with brain health and cognitive performance, including among schizophrenics.

A British study using data from 475,397 participants has shown that, on average, stronger people performed better across every test of brain functioning used.

  • A large study has found higher levels of traffic-related air pollution, still within the EU safe limits, are associated with slower growth in working memory capacity in primary/elementary school children.

A Spanish study investigating the effects of traffic-related air pollution on children walking to school has found higher levels of particulate matter and black carbon were associated with decreased growth in

  • A largish study involving school-age children not at any particular risk has found that higher levels of air pollution experienced by the mother during pregnancy are linked to less gray matter in some brain regions.

Research using data from a population-based birth cohort from Rotterdam, in The Netherlands, has found that children exposed to higher levels of air pollution when they were in womb had significantly thinner cortex in several brain regions.

  • A small study suggests that the ability to remember faces specifically is impaired in those with amnestic mild cognitive impairment.

A small Japanese study has found evidence that those with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) show a specific decline in their ability to recognize faces, and this is accompanied by changes in the way they scan faces.

  • Behavioral and personality changes seen in those with Alzheimer's appear to be reflected in very early increases in neuroticism and declines in openness.

Mild cognitive impairment (

  • A large study shows that the falling rates of dementia reflect later onset coupled with shorter time spent with the dementia.

A large study using data from the famous Framingham Heart Study has compared changes in dementia onset over the last three decades. The study found that over time the age of onset has increased while the length of time spent with dementia has decreased.

  • A month of practicing Transcendental Meditation daily resulted in 80% of military veterans with PTSD having their symptoms reduced to below the clinical level.

A pilot study involving 41 military veterans and 5 active-duty soldiers diagnosed with clinical levels of PTSD has found that one month of transcendental meditation produced dramatic benefits, with 37 (80%) having their symptoms reduced to below the clinical level, and 40 having a clinically sig

  • A finding that sleeping after watching a trauma event reduced emotional distress and traumatic memories is intriguing in light of the theory that PTSD occurs through a failure of contextual processing.

A laboratory study has found that sleeping after watching a trauma event reduced emotional distress and memories related to traumatic events. The laboratory study involved 65 women being shown a neutral and a traumatic video.

  • A large randomized study has found that cognitive processing therapy works better when administered on an individual basis, but that regardless, it is only successful about half the time.

A randomized clinical trial of 268 active-duty personnel seeking treatment for PTSD has found that individual sessions of cognitive processing therapy were twice as effective as group sessions.

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