A wealth of virtual, home-accessible tools (apps, podcasts, videos etc.) are now available to support mindfulness, relaxation, and movement.
New research suggests that a sprinkle of one of your favorite spices may do more than tickle your taste buds—it may improve your memory as well. A paper published in the December 2016 issue of the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology suggests that cinnamon boosts plasticity—the ability to change and grow in response to new information—in a key memory region of the brain called the hippocampus.
Working with laboratory mice, the researchers compared the animals’ ability to remember how to navigate a maze. Scientists then separated the mice into two groups, one consisting of good learners and the other of poor learners. The scientists fed the poor learners regular doses of cinnamon over a one-month period, and tested the animals again. They found that the “spice mice” had essentially been converted into good learners, showing more than twice the ability to learn maze navigation after treatment with cinnamon than they had in the initial maze test.
Although it is not clear precisely how cinnamon improves memory, it is thought that the spice is converted in the liver into a chemical that enters the brain and somehow enhances the structural integrity of brain cells.
Previous studies have shown that cinnamon has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and also helps to protect the brain’s communications networks. The researchers suggested that individuals who plan to add cinnamon to their daily diet choose varieties produced in Ceylon or Sri Lanka. Cinnamon produced in China is less desirable because it contains a compound called coumarin that may be toxic to the liver in very large amounts.
This article originally appeared in Mind, Mood & Memory, a publication of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital dedicated to maintaining mental fitness from middle age and beyond.
- Apr | 2 | 2020
In times of stress and uncertainty, a number of strategies can be helpful for maintaining well-being and promoting resilience.
- Patient Education
- Mar | 26 | 2020
Smoking and vaping have harmful effects on the body, including making it harder for the body to fight infections. This includes serious infections like COVID-19. Learn how smoking and vaping can put your body at a higher risk of and how to quit smoking and vaping.
- Mar | 20 | 2020
新型冠状病毒疾病 (COVID-19) 的爆发给我们所有人，包括儿童和青少年，带来了很多焦虑和不确定性。
- Mar | 16 | 2020
Gun violence claims the lives of 35,000 Americans a year, but doesn't receive as much research funding as conditions like sepsis and liver disease. Internist Chana Sacks, MD, is hoping to change that.
- Mar | 13 | 2020
A new study shows that ketamine is effective in treating some patients with treatment-resistant depression. The fast-acting drug is effective both in patients with anxiety and in those without it.