Think Like an Olympian

rio2016For the last two weeks, the world has been watching athletes perform with superhuman-like ability at the Summer Olympics in Rio. From the television screen, the extraordinary feats of these competitors seem purely physical; but science tells us that much of their talents rely on what’s going on in their brains. In a past interview with the Dana Foundation, seven-time Olympic medalist Shannon Miller said:

The physical aspect of the sport can only take you so far. The mental aspect has to kick in, especially when you’re talking about the best of the best. In the Olympic Games, everyone is talented. Everyone trains hard. Everyone does the work. What separates the gold medalists from the silver medalists is simply the mental game.

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From the Archives: Treating Opioid Addiction

It is estimated that between 26.4 million and 36 million people abuse opioids worldwide; the US government estimates that 2.1 million people in the United States have substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2012 and another 467,000 are addicted to heroin. Consequences include a spike in the number of unintentional overdose deaths from prescription pain relievers (including the recent death of the musician Prince), and growing evidence to suggest a relationship between increased non-medical use of opioid analgesics and heroin abuse in the US.

OBrien_Charles_featWhat can we do to help? This spring, Charles O’Brien and colleagues reported results of the latest in a series of studies testing the drug naltrexone as a preventive against opioid relapse in people greatly at risk for relapse: formerly addicted convicts. “This U.S. multisite, open-label, randomized effectiveness trial showed that among adult offenders who had a history of opioid dependence, the rate of relapse was lower among participants assigned to extended-release naltrexone than among those assigned to usual treatment,” they write.

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A Social Approach to Tackling Zika

Social media has proven itself to be a useful tool for rekindling old friendships, networking for prospective jobs, staying up-to-date in breaking news, and now, mapping the spread of rampant epidemics. With the Zika virus the latest public health threat to make headlines, scientists have been using data from social media, blog posts, news sites, and Google search terms—to name a few—to curate models that help map the spread of the virus.

“This is a field called digital disease detection…Essentially, it tries to be the weather.com for disease outbreak,” said John Brownstein, chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital. Brownstein was joined by Johns Hopkins Medical School’s Hongjun Song at the latest in a series of Capitol Hill briefings, which took place on July 6, in Washington, DC. Together with the Dana Foundation, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has been hosting these public briefings for the last six years.

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New Successful Ageing Video Discusses Advances in Geriatric Research

Global life expectancy has gone up 39 years since 1900 and is predicted to rise at least another six years by 2050, according to a United Nations forecast. With people living longer than ever, geriatric research is of vital importance.

London’s annual Successful Ageing program, titled “Live Longer, Live Well – Seize the Day!” focused on the history of geriatric research and new, promising advances. The event was jointly organized by the European Dana Alliance for the Brain and the University of the Third Age.

Professor Richard Faragher, University of Brighton, briefed the audience on topics from genes that may lengthen life to senescent cell elimination, which could slow the effects of aging. We have come a long way in understanding the aging process and are moving towards higher quality, longer lives, he said.

Check out the full video for information on the latest advances:

For more resources on the aging brain, go to our Successful Aging & Your Brain YouTube playlist or view our Successful Aging and the Brain booklet.

– Ali Chunovic

Dana Launches New Cerebrum Podcast

E-May-Epilepsy

For almost a year, we’ve featured the authors of our monthly Cerebrum articles in a Q & A. With the May Cerebrum article, “A New Approach for Epilepsy,” we are transitioning to a podcast.

Why are we taking this new approach? We suspect that visitors to the website, with already quite a bit to read, will welcome an audio option. We also think it will be valuable to hear some of the top researchers in the field offer their opinions and explain some of the complex biological, neurochemical, or genetic advances that they write about in Cerebrum, the Dana Foundation’s research-based publication.

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