Featuring ripe, juicy blueberries, this version calls for much less sugar than traditional recipes… because it’s unnecessary! The naturally sweet blueberries shine on their own, complimented by a tender, crumbly topping. Lightly sweetened with honey, and loaded with protein-rich almond flour, this summery dessert won’t leave you too tired to go out for a swim later!
4 cups ripe blueberries
½ t. cinnamon
1 cup blanched almond flour (store-bought or homemade)
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
½ cup coconut oil, melted
¼ cup raw honey
Preheat oven to 350F.
Rinse blueberries well, then place them in the 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle cinnamon on top.
Mix almond flour with sea salt and baking soda in a large bowl, until well mixed. Stir in the unsweetened shredded coconut and walnuts.
Melt the coconut oil, in a small pan over low heat, then add the honey to just barely melt the honey enough to mix it in.
Stir the melted mixture into the almond flour mixture until well-blended, then crumble the almond flour mixture over the berries.
Bake for about 30 minutes until topping is golden brown.
Cut into squares to serve!
Walk, Jog or Dance: It’s All Good for the Aging Brain
By Gretchen Reynolds
More people are living longer these days, but the good news comes shadowed by the possible increase in cases of age-related mental decline. By some estimates, the global incidence of dementia will more than triple in the next 35 years. That grim prospect is what makes a study published in March in The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease so encouraging: It turns out that regular walking, cycling, swimming, dancing and even gardening may substantially reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Exercise has long been linked to better mental capacity in older people. Little research, however, has tracked individuals over years, while also including actual brain scans. So for the new study, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, and other institutions analyzed data produced by the Cardiovascular Health Study, begun in 1989, which has evaluated almost 6,000 older men and women. The subjects complete medical and cognitive tests, fill out questionnaires about their lives and physical activities and receive M.R.I. scans of their brains. Looking at 10 years of data from nearly 900 participants who were at least 65 upon entering the study, the researchers first determined who was cognitively impaired, based on their cognitive assessments. Next they estimated the number of calories burned through weekly exercise, based on the participants’ questionnaires.
The scans showed that the top quartile of active individuals proved to have substantially more gray matter, compared with their peers, in those parts of the brain related to memory and higher-level thinking. More gray matter, which consists mostly of neurons, is generally equated with greater brain health. At the same time, those whose physical activity increased over a five-year period — though these cases were few — showed notable increases in gray-matter volume in those same parts of their brains. And, perhaps most meaningful, people who had more gray matter correlated with physical activity also had 50 percent less risk five years later of having experienced memory decline or of having developed Alzheimer’s.
“For the purposes of brain health, it looks like it’s a very good idea to stay as physically active as possible,” says Cyrus Raji, a senior radiology resident at U.C.L.A., who led the study. He points out that “physical activity” is an elastic term in this study: It includes walking, jogging and moderate cycling as well as gardening, ballroom dancing and other calorie-burning recreational pursuits.
Dr. Raji said he hopes that further research might show whether this caloric expenditure is remodeling the brain, perhaps by reducing inflammation or vascular diseases. The ideal amount and type of activity for staving off memory loss is unknown, he says, although even the most avid exercisers in this group were generally cycling or dancing only a few times a week. Still, the takeaway is that physical activity might change aging’s arc. “If we want to live a long time but also keep our memories, our basic selves, intact, keep moving,” Dr. Raji says.
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for both children & adults:
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Balance, Coordination & Motor Planning Development
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ADHD Children More Likely to Live Unhealthy Lifestyles
Date: May 20, 2016
A recent study published in the Journal of Attention Disorders  looked at the health recommendations from the National Sleep Foundation, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Their recommendations include:
*Drinking more water *Decrease consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks *Exercise at least an hour *Limited screen time to a maximum of one to two hours daily (laptops, phones, tablets, TV) *Get 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night
The study examined a group of 184 children ages 7 to 11 with ADHD and compared them to a group of 104 children who did not have ADHD. Children with ADHD were reported to adhere to fewer of these recommendations, regardless of taking medication for their ADHD. That means that the ADHD children in the study ADHD drank less water, drank more sweetened beverages, spent more time in front of a screen, engaged in less physical activity, consumed fewer vitamins, read less, and slept less than the participants without ADHD. These behavioral patterns were exhibited regardless of whether the ADHD children were taking medication for their ADHD. Unhealthy lifestyles have been shown to exacerbate ADHD symptoms or be correlated thereto.
The lead author of the research, Dr. Kathleen Holton, contends that, “Having their children follow healthy lifestyle behaviors may be an effective intervention either alongside or in the place of traditional ADHD medications. Parents of children with ADHD should talk with their pediatrician about how to improve health behaviors, such as limiting screen time, encouraging physical activity, improving bedtime routines, and drinking water rather than other beverages.”
 Kathleen F. Holton, Joel Nigg. The Association of Lifestyle Factors and ADHD in Children. Journal of Attention Disorders, April 28 2016; Online. DOI: .1177/1087054716646452
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Neurofeedback reduces pain, increases quality of life for cancer patients suffering from chemotherapy-induced neuropathy
Date: March 11, 2016
Source: University of Texas
M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
A new study from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center evaluating the use of neurofeedback found a decrease in the experience of chronic pain and increase quality of life in patients with neuropathic pain.
The study will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society, held March 9-12 in Denver, Colorado.
Study lead investigator Sarah Prinsloo, Ph.D., assistant professor Palliative, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Medicine at MD Anderson, identified the location of brain activity that contributes to the physical and emotional aspects of chronic pain, which allowed patients to modify their own brain activity through electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback. EEG tracks and records brain wave patterns by attaching small metal discs with thin wires on the scalp, and then sending signals to a computer to record the results.
"Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy is very common in cancer patients and there is currently only one medication approved to treat it. I'm encouraged to see the significant improvements in patient's quality of life after treatment. This treatment is customized to the individual, and is relatively inexpensive, non-invasive and non-addictive." Prinsloo said.
Chronic chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a common side effect of chemotherapy, often affecting 71 to 96 percent of patients after a month of chemotherapy treatment. Peripheral neuropathy is a set of symptoms such as pain, burning, tingling and loss of feeling caused by damage to nerves that control the sensations and movements of our arms and legs.
Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to form new connections and change existing ones. This study demonstrated that neurofeedback induces neuroplasticity to modulate brain activity and improve CIPN symptoms.
The study enrolled 71 MD Anderson patients of all cancer types; all were at least 3 months post chemotherapy treatment and reported more than a three on the National Cancer Institute's neuropathy rating scale. Study participants completed assessments that determined the brain activity related to their pain, pain perception and quality of life. Those were then randomized to receive neurofeedback, or to a control group that did not receive treatment. Patients in the neurofeedback group attended 20 sessions of neurofeedback training where they played a computer game that rewarded them when they modified their brainwave activity in the affected area. They then learned to modify the activity without an immediate reward from the game.
After treatment was completed the participants repeated the EEG and assessments to determine changes in pain perception, cancer related symptoms and general quality of life. EEG patterns showed cortical activity characterized by increased activation in the parietal and frontal sites compared to a normal population. After controlling for baseline levels, neurofeedback significantly reduced: pain; numbness; intensity and unpleasantness, and reduced how much pain interfered with daily activities.
After treatment, 73 percent saw improvement in their pain and quality of life. Patients with CIPN also exhibited specific and predictable EEG signatures that changed with neurofeedback.
Prinsloo believes the study results are clinically and statistically significant and provides valuable information that will allow for more understanding of neuropathic pain.
A second study was recently funded and will focus exclusively on breast cancer patients experiencing neuropathy.
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. "Neurofeedback reduces pain, increases quality of life for cancer patients suffering from chemotherapy-induced neuropathy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160311150127.htm>.