Brains on Blueberries

March 17, 2014

Helmet irony. Swedish ingenuity. Speeding axons. Brains on blueberries.

Technology moves in funny ways. While the technology to reduce the risk of concussions advances slowly, and the debate about football helmet safety is cranked on high, football teams are choosing to pay for helmets with…cameras! Maybe terrifying footage of players knocking heads will make safer helmets a reality faster.

Swedes are research fiends. The scientists at Sahlgrenska Academy have created a blood test to diagnose concussions. The ultimate aim is a test kit for sports stadiums so that players experiencing a blow to the head could get better advice on how long they should stay out of the game – thus helping to avoid those second concussions with their increased severe effects.

In concussion recovery, meanswhile, scientists are finding that the speed, not just the force, of the blow, is paramount. Axons are elastic tendrils in the brain that carry vital messages. New research is making clear that speed of impacts makes a huge difference. Axons stretched slowly, like Silly Putty, give more than those quickly stretched.

Last but not least in the world of brains – last week we had some tips on giving your hard-working brain a break. This week it’s brain nutrition time. A new study from the Plants for Human Health Institute is giving the old blueberry new kudos. Some fruits have one of two compounds that slow down mental deterioration; blueberries have both compound powerhouses.

blueberries, corn and a Nutcase Dots helmet

Photo credit: cafemama