A holistic approach to pediatric care in Frisco and Plano, Texas

Award winning, top rated Pediatrician serving Frisco, Plano, Allen and North Dallas

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Superbowl is this Sunday. As the 100 million viewers tuning in to this Sunday’s Super Bowl can attest, Americans adore football. And for many, the love affair begins in childhood.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine found that former National Football League (NFL) players who participated in tackle football before the age of 12 are more likely to have memory and thinking problems as adults. In the latest study, published in the journal Neurology, scientists examined test scores of 42 former NFL players, with an average age of 52, all of whom had experienced memory and thinking problems for at least six months.

Key Takeaway:

Kids who are hitting their heads over and over during this important time of brain development may have consequences later in life.

If you must play, play only flag football. Don’t play tackle football. And for heaven’s sake, wear a helmet to protect your coconuts J

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You don’t have just five senses. Sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch are just the beginning. Don’t forget about balance, temperature, and time, as well as proprioception — the body awareness that helps us not walk into things all the time — and nociception, our sense of pain.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/7-common-myths-about-the-brain-2014-7#ixzz38UXfiaiN

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  • · The best way to ‘consolidate a memory’ is to go through the information just before going to sleep.
  • · Balling up your right hand and squeezing it tightly makes it easier to memorize things. When you want to retrieve the information, clench the left fist. These movements activate brain regions key to the storing and recall of memories.
  • · Aerobic exercise improves cognitive function and memory. It also encourages the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus – an area of the brain important in memory and learning
  • · Music with strong rhythms and patterns, like reggae and salsa, are best for memory and problem-solving.
  • · Studies found saying what you want to remember out loud to yourself– or even mouthing it helps with recall.
  • · Break numbers into chunk of 3 or 4 numbers. Chunking numbers according to something you find meaningful, like the age of someone you know, an address or a date to help you remember.
  • · A diet low in red meat and dairy and high in omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish and nuts can help preserve memory and reduce dementia risk.
  • · Doodling helps – doodlers performed 29% better than non-doodlers when asked to recall names and places.
  • · People who walked around a garden did 20% better on a memory test than those who walked around streets.
  • · Practice meditation.
  • · Eat a good breakfast.
  • · Break your routines
  • · Stop watching so much television
  • · Stop relying on your GPS to tell you where to go.
  • · Speak a new tongue
  • · Walk around the house blindfolded.
  • · Expand your vocabulary.
  • · Lack of sleep boosts the formation of beta amyloid, the toxic protein that clogs up the brain according to a study

Source: Multiple

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Late nights and lax bedtime routines can blunt young children’s minds, research suggests.

The findings on sleep patterns and brain power come from a UK study of more than 11,000 seven-year-olds.

Erratic bedtimes were most common at the age of three, when around one in five of the children went to bed at varying times.

By the age of seven, more than half the children had a regular bedtime of between 19:30 and 20:30.

Youngsters who had no regular bedtime or who went to bed later than 21:00 had lower scores for reading and maths.

Overall, children who had never had regular bedtimes tended to fare worse than their peers in terms of test scores for reading, maths and spatial awareness.

The impact was more obvious throughout early childhood in girls than in boys and appeared to be cumulative.

The children with late and erratic bedtimes came from more socially disadvantaged backgrounds and were less likely to be read to each night and, generally, watched more TV – often on a set in their own bedroom.

Sleep experts point to a particular problem due to technology in children’s bedroom – specifically the use of screens on smartphones or laptops late at night.

The take-home message is really that routines really do seem to be important for children.

"Establishing a good bedtime routine early in childhood is probably best, but it’s never too late."

There was no evidence that putting children to bed much earlier than 19:30 added anything in terms of brain power.

Lack of sleep is a serious physical barrier to learning. Research into sleep disorders and brain function has shown the importance of sleep in memory and consolidating information. Without sleep, the brain struggles to absorb and retain ideas.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-23223751

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Interesting article in BBC.

Cutlery ‘can influence food taste’ By Helen Briggs, BBC News

Our perception of how food tastes is influenced by cutlery, research suggests.

Size, weight, shape and color all have an effect on flavor, says a University of Oxford team.

The study in the journal Flavour suggests the brain makes judgments on food even before it goes in the mouth.

1. Cheese tastes saltier when eaten from a knife rather than a fork;

2. While white spoons make yogurt taste better, experiments show.

3. Food tasted sweeter on the small spoons that are traditionally used to serve desserts.

4. Color contrast was also an important factor – white yogurt eaten from a white spoon was rated sweeter than white yogurt tasted on a black spoon.

5. Cheese on a knife, tasted saltier than cheese on spoon, fork or toothpick.

6. people generally eat less when food is served on smaller plates.

The new research into how the brain influences food perceptions could help dieters or improve gastronomic experiences at restaurants, said Prof Spence.

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  1. Encourage curiosity: Parents who show curiosity and encourage their children to explore new ideas teach them a valuable lesson: Seeking knowledge is important. Support your kids’ hobbies and interests by asking them questions, teaching them new skills and taking them on educational outings to develop intellectual curiosity.
  2. Teach confidence: Positively reinforce their kids with encouragement and optimistic assurances. Participation in team sports and other social activities also helps build confidence during the awkward “tween” years when children’s peers are least supportive.
  3. Read: Reading is a sure-fire, low-tech way to improve learning and cognitive developing in children of all ages. Read to your children from an early age, sign your child up for a library card and keep the house stocked with books.
  4. Outdoor Play: Participation in organized sports fosters confidence, teamwork and leadership, according to research by the Oppenheimer Funds. This study also found that 81 percent of women business executives played team sports as girls.
  5. Create Music: According to a study by University of Toronto researchers, organized music lessons appear to benefit children’s IQ and academic performance—and the more years the student takes lessons, the greater the effect.
  6. Cut Junk food: Cutting out sugar, trans fats and other junk food from your child’s diet and replacing them with high-nutrient alternatives can do wonders for early childhood mental and motor development
  7. Play Brain games – Chess, crosswords, cryptograms, riddles—they all train the brain to perform mental gymnastics. Games like Sudoku can be fun while promoting strategic thinking, problem-solving and complex decision-making. Keep brainteasers around the house and challenge your children to help you solve the trickier problems.

Source: Multiple including http://healthyliving.msn.com

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1.  HAVE A HEALTHY AND HEARTY BREAKFAST:  The brain needs sugar to function. Breakfast improves the blood sugar level. Lack of sufficient nutrients could lead to brain degeneration.

2.  AVOID OVER EATING: Overeating hardens the brain arteries, leading to a decrease in mental power.

3. AVOID SMOKING OR EVEN EXPOSURE TO SECOND HAND SMOKE: Smoke chemicals are known to cause brain shrinkage and may even lead to Alzheimer disease.

4. AVOID CARBONATED DRINKS AND HIGH SUGAR CONSUMPTION: Too much sugar will interrupt the absorption of proteins and nutrients causing malnutrition and may interfere with brain development.

5. LIMIT EXPOSURE TO AIR POLLUTION: The brain is the largest oxygen consumer in our body. Inhaling polluted air decreases the supply of oxygen to the brain, bringing about a decrease in brain efficiency.

6. SLEEP ADEQUATELY: Sleep allows our brain to rest. Long term deprivation from sleep will accelerate the death of brain cells.

7. GIVE YOUR BRAIN A REST DURING ILLNESS: Working hard or studying with sickness may lead to a decrease in effectiveness of the brain as well as damage the brain.

8. ENGAGE IN STIMULATING THOUGHTS: Thinking is the best way to train our brain. Lack of brain stimulation thoughts or mental exercise may cause brain shrinkage.

9. EXERCISE IN FRESH AIR: A healthy mind needs a healthy body.

10. EXPOSE CHILDREN TO INTELLIGENT CONVERSATIONS AND PEOPLE: Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people. – Eleanor Roosevelt.

Source: Multiple