Cognitive Climate: Air Pollutants and Brain Health; By Aubree Kozie and David Omkar Webster

Smokestacks, chemtrails, and exhaust pipes are typically recognized as necessary side-effects to modern human life, the “cost of doing business” if you will. News and media programming, legislature, and large corporations all normalize and tout these things as benign elements of progress, plenty, and prosperity.

It was not long ago that cigarettes were sold to the American people under the same false bill of goods, as glamorous, progressive and safe. But research increasingly indicates that these smoke-spilling technologies have a lot more in common with cigarettes than just their advertising campaigns — they both degrade health and wellbeing gradually by way of the respiratory system. Increasingly research indicates that exposure to atmospheric toxins in the air are taking their toll on human cognitive health, and suggesting that brain fog may be partially accounted for by environmental smog.

Diet May Help Preserve Cognitive Function

According to a recent analysis of data from two major eye disease studies, adherence to the Mediterranean diet – high in vegetables, whole grains, fish, and olive oil – correlates with higher cognitive function. Dietary factors also seem to play a role in slowing cognitive decline. Researchers at the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, led the analysis of data from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) and AREDS2.

Gene Promoter Advances Could Enhance Treatment of Neurological Disorders

A recently developed system for switching on the activity of genes could improve treatments for a broad range of neurological diseases. Esteban Engel, a researcher in viral neuroengineering in the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, and his team have developed new gene promoters – which act like switches to turn on gene expression – that promise to broaden the ability to deliver large genes and keep them active for long periods of time.

Further evidence autoimmunity plays a role in Parkinson’s disease

T cells that react to alpha-synuclein are most abundant in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease but tend to disappear as the disease progresses. Signs of autoimmunity can appear in Parkinson’s patients up to ten years before a diagnosis of the neurodegenerative disease. The detection of T cell response could be an early biomarker for Parkinson’s, long before the physical symptoms begin to manifest.

How sugar affects the brain – Nicole Avena

When you eat something loaded with sugar, your taste buds, your gut and your brain all take notice. This activation of your reward system is not unlike how bodies process addictive substances such as alcohol or nicotine — an overload of sugar spikes dopamine levels and leaves you craving more. Nicole Avena explains why sweets and treats should be enjoyed in moderation.

Broccoli Soup with Sumac and Crispy Broccoli

You probably already cook with turmeric in your kitchen, but sumac may be new to you. Sumac is a berry that’s dried and pulverized into a powder. It’s brick-red hue and lemony ping of tartness pairs well with so many foods. I like it sprinkled on hummus, avocado toast, roasted cauliflower, and as part of my homemade za’ atar, a Middle Eastern spice mix.

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