Sanrio Dog Character Wagashi of Lawson Japan




The price is 285 yen (tax included) each.





The Brain Already Benefits from Moderate Physical Activity

Even moderate physical activity has a positive effect on the brain. DZNE researchers led by Dr. Dr. Ahmad Aziz deduce this from examinations of 2,550 participants of the Bonn “Rhineland Study”. According to their findings, certain areas of the brain are larger in physically active individuals than in those who are less active. In particular, brain regions that have a relatively high oxygen demand benefit from this effect. The research results are published in Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Exercise keeps body and mind healthy – but little is known about exactly how and where physical activity affects our brains. “In previous research, the brain was usually considered as a whole,” says Fabienne Fox, neuroscientist and lead author of the current study. “Our goal was to take a more detailed look at the brain and find out which regions of the brain physical activity impacts most.”

Extensive Data from the Rhineland study

For their research, Fox and colleagues used data from the Rhineland Study, a large-scale population-based study conducted by DZNE in the Bonn city area. Specifically, they analyzed physical activity data from 2,550 volunteers aged 30 to 94 years, as well as brain images obtained by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). To sample physical activity, the study participants wore an accelerometer on their upper thigh for seven days. The MRI scans provided information particularly on brain volume and thickness of the cortex.

The More Active, the Greater the Effects

“We were able to show that physical activity had a noticeable effect on almost all brain regions investigated. Generally, we can say that the higher and more intense the physical activity, the larger the brain regions were, either with regard to volume or cortical thickness,” Fabienne Fox summarizes the research results. “In particular, we observed this in the hippocampus, which is considered the control center of memory. Larger brain volumes provide better protection against neurodegeneration than smaller ones.” However, the dimensions of the brain regions do not increase linearly with physical activity. The research team found the largest, almost sudden volume increase when comparing inactive and only moderately physically active study participants – this was particularly evident in older individuals over the age of 70.

“In principle, this is very good news – especially for those who are reluctant to exercise,” says Ahmad Aziz, who heads the research group “Population and Clinical Neuroepidemiology” at DZNE. “Our study results indicate that even small behavioral changes, such as walking 15 minutes a day or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, may have a substantial positive effect on the brain and potentially counteract age-related loss of brain matter and the development of neurodegenerative diseases. In particular, older adults can already profit from modest increases of low intensity physical activity.”

Young and somewhat athletic subjects who usually engaged in moderate to intense physical activity also had relatively high brain volumes. However, in even more active subjects, these brain regions were slightly larger. Also here it showed: the more active, the greater the effect, although at high levels of physical activity, the beneficial effects tended to level off.

Brain Regions that Benefit the Most

To characterize the brain regions that benefited most from physical activity, the research team searched databases for genes that are particularly active in these brain areas. “Mainly, these were genes that are essential for the functioning of mitochondria, the power plants of our cells,” says Fabienne Fox. This means that there are particularly large numbers of mitochondria in these brain regions. Mitochondria provide our body with energy, for which they need a lot of oxygen. “Compared to other brain regions, this requires increased blood flow. This is ensured particularly well during physical activity, which could explain why these brain regions benefit from exercise,” says Ahmad Aziz.

Exercise Protects

The bioinformatic analysis further showed that there is a large overlap between genes whose expression is affected by physical activity and those that are impacted by neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or Huntington’s disease. This could offer a potential explanation for why physical activity has a neuroprotective effect, the research team concludes. “With our study, we were able to characterize brain regions that benefit from physical activity to an unprecedented level of detail,” says Ahmad Aziz. “We hope our results will provide important leads for further research.”

And also approaches for everyday use: “With our results, we want to provide a further impetus to become more physically active – to promote brain health and prevent neurodegenerative diseases,” says Fabienne Fox. “Even modest physical activity can help. Thus, it’s just a small effort – but with a big impact.”

Source: DZNE





Lunch Set Meal of Sun Rapport Murakumo in Shimane, Japan

The main dish is Fried Japanese Spanish Mackerel. The price is 880 yen (tax included).





Lifestyle May Be Key to Helping You Avoid Dementia

Denise Mann wrote . . . . . . . . .

Socializing, taking classes and exercising may boost your brain’s cognitive reserve and stave off memory and thinking problems down the road, a new study suggests.

Cognitive reserve refers to the brain’s ability to withstand the effects of diseases like Alzheimer’s and not show signs of decline.

The best way to boost your cognitive reserve?

“Never stop being curious, and learn something new or pick up a new hobby,” said study author Pamela Almeida-Meza, a doctoral student at University College London. “Stay active and connected, exercise, go on daily walks, keep in touch with your family and prioritize visiting your friends.”

For the study, researchers looked at genes and lifestyle factors among 1,184 people born in 1946 in the United Kingdom. Folks took cognitive tests when they were 8 and again at 69.

Everyone in the study received a cognitive reserve score that combined their education level at 26, participation in enriching leisure activities at 43, and job up to age 53. Reading ability at age 53 was tested as an additional measure of overall lifelong learning.

The cognitive test that folks took at age 69 had a maximum total score of 100, and the average score for this group was 92.

Folks with higher childhood cognitive abilities, a higher cognitive reserve score and advanced reading ability performed better on the cognitive test at age 69, the study showed.

People with higher education levels also fared better than their counterparts who did not have a formal education.

Folks who engaged in six or more leisure activities, such as adult education classes, clubs, volunteer work, social activities and gardening, scored higher than people who engaged in four or fewer leisure activities.

What’s more, those participants who had a professional or intermediate level job scored higher on the cognitive test at age 69 than those in lesser-skilled positions.

Previous studies have shown that people with low scores on cognitive tests as kids are more likely to have a steeper cognitive decline with advancing age, but this may not be the case after all.

“The finding suggests that a mentally, socially and physically active lifestyle at midlife can offset the negative contribution of low childhood cognition to older age cognitive state,” Almeida-Meza said.

The APOE4 gene, which increases the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, was linked with lower scores on the cognitive test at age 69, but participants with high or low childhood cognition scores showed similar rates of mental decline with age, regardless of their APOE4 status.

The study appears in the Neurology.

The findings show that genes aren’t destiny when it comes to risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, said Lei Yu, an associate professor at Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago.

“Cognitive performance in old age is not fully determined by what was inherited from our parents,” said Yu, who reviewed the new study.

“Older adults who are actively engaged in cognitive [e.g., reading, or playing checkers, cards, puzzles or board games], social [e.g., spending time with family members or friends, going to church, volunteering or participating in group activities] and physical activities [e.g., regular exercise] are more likely to maintain late-life cognition, even in the presence of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s,” he said.

Michal Schnaider Beeri is a professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. She co-authored an editorial accompanying the study.

“The study findings support the relevance of a lifelong investment in the accumulation of cognitive reserve for the maintenance of healthy cognition later in life,” she said.

“From a public health and societal perspective, there may be broad long-term benefits in investing in high education, widening opportunities for leisure activities, and proactively providing cognitively challenging activities for individuals at less skilled occupations,” Schnaider Beeri said.

And, she said, it’s never too late to start boosting your cognitive reserve.

“Although younger brains learn faster and more effectively, older and even [much] older brains have plasticity and the capacity to learn,” Schnaider Beeri noted.

She recommended getting out of your comfort zone and learning a new language or skill, or a new musical instrument.

“Feeding our brains with intellectual engagement and effort should be seen as a lifelong process to maintain healthy brain aging,” Schnaider Beeri said.

Source: HealthDay





Oven-roasted Salmon with Cauliflower and Mushrooms


Currant-Red Wine Vinaigrette

1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup dried currants
3 tbsp finely chopped shallots
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cauliflower and Mushrooms

1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into small florets
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt
1-1/4 pounds assorted mushrooms, such as cremini, oyster, and stemmed shiitakes, large mushrooms halved lengthwise
1/4 cup very finely chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tbsp thinly sliced fresh sage leaves


4 (5-oz) salmon fillets with skin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds, toasted


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Make the vinaigrette. In a small heavy saucepan, bring the wine, currants, shallots, vinegar, and brown sugar to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently until the currants are plump and the liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small bowl.
  4. Prepare the cauliflower and mushrooms. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of the oil to coat. Season to taste with salt. Spread on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and lightly browned.
  5. Remove from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F.
  6. Heat a large heavy nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, then add the mushrooms and cook, without stirring, for about 4 minutes, or until golden on the bottom.
  7. Stir the mushrooms and cook for about 4 minutes more, or until tender and well browned.
  8. Stir the roasted cauliflower, shallots, and garlic into the mushrooms and cook until the shallots soften, about 1 minute. Stir in the sage. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Return the cauliflower mixture to the baking sheet and cover to keep warm. Wipe out the skillet.
  9. Cook the salmon. Using a sharp knife, score the skin side of the salmon. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then place the salmon skin side down in the skillet and cook, for about 5 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown.
  10. Turn the salmon over, transfer the skillet to the oven, and roast for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the salmon is mostly opaque with a rosy center when flaked in the thickest part with the tip of a small knife. Meanwhile, if necessary, uncover the cauliflower mixture and rewarm in the oven.
  11. Transfer the salmon to a platter or four dinner plates. Spoon the cauliflower mixture around the salmon and drizzle with some vinaigrette. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds, if using. Serve the remaining vinaigrette on the side.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: What’s for Dinner

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