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Drink Pomegranate Juice to Protect Fetal Brain Growth

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About one in 10 babies in utero struggles with a dangerous condition known as intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), in which the flow of oxygen and nutrients through the placenta is restricted, hampering development of the growing fetus. Now, a simple solution—of mom drinking an eight-ounce glass of pomegranate juice a day—offers hope of a  way to reduce infant deaths and lower the need for infant surgery. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston, studied 77 mothers with IUGR at St. Louis’ Barnes-Jewish Hospital that received either one cup a day of pomegranate juice or a placebo. Evaluating 55 of the babies’ development with MRIs after birth, researchers found that the babies with pomegranate-drinking moms had evidence of both better brain connectivity and development of white matter—tissue through which messages pass in the central nervous system. Pomegranate juice is a rich source of polyphenols, a class of foods also found in nuts, berries, vegetables and teas that’s known to cross the blood-brain barrier and have neuroprotective effects.
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Global Brief: Natural Thinking Spending Time in Nature Increases Cognitive Performance
More of our time is spent indoors than ever before. One of the ways by which nature may improve cognitive function (i.e. the acquisition of and goal-oriented use of knowledge) is by improving memory formation and recall, specifically that of short-term or working memory, and goal-oriented or directed attention; the kind that requires focused effort. By comparing and contrasting 13 studies, a team of researchers has shed light on this complex interaction in research published in Frontiers in Psychology. The studies used the backwards digit span task, which requires participants to invert a series of numbers and repeat them back. All demonstrated significantly improved cognition in nature as compared to urban environments. The benefits of studies like this are two-fold: not only are we learning more about how the brain interacts with its environment, but also how to leverage this interaction to lead healthier, more productive and happier lives.
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