Friends are few, and that's true for the brain too. Even if you gather 5,000 friends on Facebook, your brain is only capable of managing only 150 friendships, say evolutionary anthropologists at Oxford University, UK. Blame it on the neocortex, the part of the brain used for conscious thought and language. It limits people to managing about 150 friends, no matter how sociable one is.
Age makes you smarter:
If you thought your brain stops growing after 25, think again. In fact, as you reach midlife-between age 40 and 65-you become better at things that you couldn't do when you were in your 20s. For instance, inductive reasoning and problem solving, arguments, sizing up a situation and reaching a creative solution. Social expertise also peaks and so does one's financial judgement, says a Harvard University study.
Water is good for grey matter:
Drink enough water and save your brain. That's the call from scientists at King's College, London. They have found that just 90 minutes of steady sweating can shrink the brain by as much as a year of ageing. Starved of water, grey matter is also forced to work harder to process the same information. But don't panic just yet; drink a glass of water or two and your brain will return to normal, say the researchers after scanning the brains of teenagers after an hour-and-half of cycling. The sweaty teens did just as well when asked to play a computer game that tests the ability to plan and solve problems. But the scans showed they had to use more of their brains to do it.
Sound of music:
Stroke patients who have lost the ability to speak can be trained to speak by singing first, say neuroscientists at the Harvard Medical School. Patients who responded with incoherent sounds were found to sing-recite addresses, communicate if they were thirsty and even moved beyond simple phrases, after the therapy. The underdeveloped systems on the right side of the brain that responds to music became enhanced and changed structures, say researchers.
Coping with MS at the workplace:
To mark the World Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Day on May 26, Multiple Sclerosis International Federation released a survey of MS patients in 125 countries: only 59 per cent of respondents were employed; 85 per cent mentioned fatigue as the most common problem; 75 per cent had mobility and nearly 50 per cent cognitive issues. It is clear that many with MS suffer at the workplace and, in some cases, because they do not receive the right information and support. The most common, if little understood, neurological disorder still eludes a total cure but proper treatment can reduce its severity. For more details, contact: Multiple Sclerosis Society of India, S-56, Panchshila Park, New Delhi-110 017; Tel: 011-41745069/ 26490087; www.mssocietyindia.org