Is low-grade inflammation making you mentally sluggish?

New research finds a link between mild inflammation and cognitive sluggishness Certain types of cognitive sluggishness, mental fatigue, and "brain fog" may be linked to systemic inflammation, according to a new study. These findings were published in the November issue of NeuroImage. As a control, each participant performed the same neuro-cognitive assessments on a different day after receiving a placebo injection of water that did not trigger acute low-grade inflammation. Inflammation levels were measured by assessing interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels in blood samples taken on each day of brain processing and EEG testing. As mentioned, the results showed that acute low-grade inflammation appears to affect brain activity related to staying alert. "Mild inflammation selectively increased alerting-related alpha suppression; a greater inflammatory response was correlated with more alpha suppression," the authors write. ...

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Being kind could help you live longer

What can kindness do for you? Give you a warm glow perhaps, or a feeling of well-being? While that may be true, scientists and academics at a new research centre say it can do much more - it can extend your life. The staff at UCLA's Bedari Kindness institute are ready for the jokes. "We look at the scientific point of view. We aren't sitting around in circles, holding hands. We're talking about the psychology, the biology, of positive social interactions," says Daniel Fessler, the institute's inaugural director. Ahead of World Kindness Day this week, what does it actually mean to be kind - and why is it important? This is what the experts want to examine. And they are deadly serious about it. After all, it could be a matter of life and death, they say. Mr Fessler's work...

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Ten habits that mentally strong people rely on

Despite West Point Military Academy's rigorous selection process, one in five students drop out by graduation day. A sizeable number leave the summer before freshman year, when cadets go through a rigorous program called "Beast." Beast consists of extreme physical, mental, and social challenges that are designed to test candidates' perseverance. University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth conducted a study in which she sought to determine which cadets would make it through the Beast program. The rigorous interviews and testing that cadets went through to get into West Point in the first place told Angela that IQ and talent weren't the deciding factors. So, Angela developed her own test to determine which cadets had the mental strength to conquer the Beast. She called it the "Grit Scale," and it was a highly accurate predictor of cadet success. The Grit Scale...

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Study: Autistic adults who were not diagnosed until later in life grew up believing they were ‘bad people’

Many over-50s who were diagnosed with autism late in life had grown up believing they were bad people, according to a new study published in the journal Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine. Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University interviewed nine adults about their experiences of being diagnosed with autism in their 50s. The participants were aged between 52 and 54. As children, some participants recounted having no friends and being isolated from others, and as adults they could not understand why people treated them differently. Several had been treated for anxiety and depression. ...

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