Published Oct. 1, 2020 2:42 PM

By taking a simple blood test, it is possible to get some information about the brain. This is because biomarkers in the blood can give an indication of the biological state of the brain.

Two types of biomarkers are relevant for brain health – general (for e.g. D vitamin, Omega 3 fatty acids, cholesterol etc.) and brain-specific (for e.g. tau protein and amyloid beta, which are linked to Alzheimer`s disease). Read more about the biomarkers of the brain in the latest Lifebrain newsletter September 2020.


Published June 30, 2020 3:31 PM

People make immensely valuable contributions to research. Mrs. A., the last of the 516 BASE participants, was one of them. This article is a tribute to her in gratitude for the time and engagement she has given to supporting research and allowing insights into her life.  

In December, Mrs. A., passed away at the age of 107. The Berlin Aging Study (BASE) is a multidisciplinary investigation of old people aged from 70 to over 100 years who lived in the former West-Berlin. The study covered their mental and physical health, psychological functioning and socio-economic status. Read more about her research participation and life in the Lifebrain e-newsletter June 2020.

Published May 29, 2020 11:27 AM

The brain is really something! Did you know that it contains about 75-80 % water (by weight), 10 % lipids, and 10 % proteins? Did you know that under normal conditions, the brain exclusively uses glucose as an energy source. However, the brain can also run on something called ketone bodies mostly produced by the liver from fat during long-term fasting. Have you thought about that without the brain, there is no conscious life?  Read more in the May 2020 Lifebrain e-newsletter and find out all you need to know about the brain!  

Research participants pedaling on bikes while wearing VR-glasses.
Published Apr. 30, 2020 9:12 PM

The use of Virtual Reality (VR) technology has developed markedly in recent years. Virtual experiences that used to be the domain of science fiction writers are now available for consumers. VR also makes it possible to design experiments that would otherwise be impossible. In the April edition of the Lifebrain newsletter you can read about how VR can be used to study how training people's navigation skills can affect their brain.

Published Mar. 18, 2020 5:56 PM

The rate at which we age vary greatly among people, and many age-related changes and disorders seem to have substantial  heritable components. What can genetic studies tell us about how we age? Read more in the latest issue of the Lifebrain newsletter.

Published Jan. 30, 2020 2:41 PM

Most people, (even scientists!) experience a marked barrier in the way information is presented in scientific papers. It is often so different and complicated that we´ll rather rely on somebody else to explain the main points. However, if you want to get first hand knowledge of a topic you have to go to the scientific articles describing the original observations. 

Have a look at our guide to scientific reading in the first Lifebrain newsletter of 2020!

Published Oct. 28, 2019 10:20 AM

Physical activity has been shown to reduce age-related cognitive decline, probably by improving brain health. In two recent studies, Lifebrain researchers at the University of Cambridge found that both subjective and objective measures of physical activity were associated with less age-related changes in the brain. Meaning that keeping our bodies fit contributes to keeping our brain healthy into old age. Read more in the October newsletter, part one out of two in our series on physical activity.

Published Oct. 18, 2019 5:23 PM

In the last newsletter we learned about the nature of sleep and how it can be measured and classified. In this edition we look into the functions of sleep. Researchers think that sleep trigger processes in the brain that strengthen memories. One idea is that this takes place through the spontaneous reactivation of memories during sleep. In other words, you now have the perfect excuse to take a nap after learning something new- as your brain might keep repeating what you just learned.

Read more about sleep´s role in memory in the September issue of our newsletter.

Published Aug. 22, 2019 10:51 AM

Sleep is vital. We know that our brains remain highly active when we sleep. Lack of sleep have many negative effects, both on our health and mental functions. Sleep is necessary for having a fully functioning brain when we are awake; perhaps because sleep helps to restore the energy consumed by the body and brain throughout the day. Sleep may also enable removal of harmful material that accumulate in the brain when we are awake. Sleep seems to play a crucial role in learning and memory, especially by aiding long-term storage of memories.

Read more about the sleeping brain in the latest Lifebrain E-newsletter, August 2019.

Published June 28, 2019 3:12 PM

The Global Brain Health Survey was launched in June 2019. It is the first global, anonymous online survey to learn about people`s views on the brain and brain health. The survey results will be used to develop policy recommendations to help people take care of their brain in a way that fits their daily life. The more answers we get, the better!

Read more about the survey in the Lifebrain e-newsletter June 2019.

Source: Colourbox
Published June 12, 2019 12:02 PM

What characterises people who maintain their memory into older age? The so-called memory maintainers showed that they were more often women, carried beneficial genetic variants, were more physically active at study baseline, and also tended to live together with someone to a larger extent than people in the average memory development group.

Read more about the Swedish Betula study in the latest Lifebrain E-newsletter.

Published May 2, 2019 12:27 PM

Premature infants often do not get enough building blocks, namely, food with essential nutrients and energy. By enhanced supply of energy, protein, fat, essential fatty acids and Vitamin A, it is possible to improve growth and cognitive function in very low birth weight infants. This enhanced nutrition can reduce the serious long term brain-related damages experienced with prematurity.

Read more in the Lifebrain e-newsletter April 2019.

Published Mar. 1, 2019 11:17 AM

Most of the essential nutrients seem to be important for the brain as well as the rest of the body. Still, iodine is one of the dietary components with very marked effects on brain development. Iodine deficiency is a major cause of preventable intellectual disability among infants, and population studies suggest that approximately 1.6 billion people are at risk of iodine deficiency.

Read more about iodine and the brain in the Lifebrain E-Newsletter February 2019.

Published Feb. 1, 2019 12:26 PM

Memory training can slow down brain deterioration at older adults. However, the positive effects wore off when the research participants did not train. This could mean that continous tranining is required for lasting effects on the brains`s white matter microstructure - found in a current study of the Center for Changes in Brain and Cognition, University of Oslo in Norway.

Read more about the effects of memory trainings on the brain in the Lifebrain E-Newsletter January 2019.

Published Nov. 28, 2018 2:51 PM

Certain nutrients such as essential fatty acids, choline/betaine/B-vitamins, iodine, iron, retinol, vitamin D and total energy supply are particularly important for brain function during fetal and childhood development. However, also in adult life nutrient intake is important for brain function. Some studies suggest that B-vitamins as well as essential fatty acids may have roles in preventing mild cognitive impairment.

Read more about brain nutrients in the Lifebrain E-newsletter November 2018.

Published Oct. 30, 2018 10:48 AM

Dried blood spots (DBS) involve the simple collection of small amounts of blood on special paper, eliminating time-consuming blood tests and making it easier to store and transport. They are making testing for biomarkers for brain conditions much easier.


Published Aug. 10, 2018 3:42 PM

Living close to a forest might have beneficial effects on coping with stress according to a study conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin. The study focused on the relationship between the close natural surroundings to peoples’ homes and their brain health. A new Lifebrain study has been initiated to accumulate more evidence, at a multinational, European level.

Read more in the Lifebrain e-newsletter July 2018.

Published May 31, 2018 10:00 AM

As we get older, many things change, including our brain structure and our cognitive abilities. Scientists often focus on changes of individual cognitive functions (like memory), or brain structure (like grey matter = nerve cells which do the brain’s “work”). However, it is equally important to study how these functions and structures are related to each other, and whether this relationship changes across the lifespan. For instance, it might be that memory performance is very similar to reasoning performance in young individuals, but not in older adults. In other words, it could be that children with good memories also have good reasoning abilities, whereas this is not the case in older individuals. 

In a new study using Lifebrain data, the researchers of the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at the University of Cambridge investigated whether and when brain connections change with age and how these changes map onto our cognitive functions across the adult lifespan.

Read the full newsletter article by clicking on the link below:

Lifebrain Monthly E-Newsletter May, 2018