Archive for April 2011

So you have a problem. And racking your brain for a solution just isn’t helping you come up with a way to fix it.

Like a lot of people, my best problem-solving ideas usually don’t reveal themselves when I want them to. And certainly they don’t come to me while I’m working. Some people say they get ideas in the shower. Or while working out. Or from a restful night’s sleep. (Mine come to me when I’m relaxed and talking with friends about something completely unrelated to what I was trying to figure out!)

So — what does this mean? Is there a science, perhaps, to when and how our brains solve problems? Well…I found out some interesting answers from the writers of “The Winner’s Brain,” a book which examines the correlation between success and the way we creatively think through issues.

Up above is a podcast from CBC Radio exploring this phenomenon of “shower thinkers” and other models for releasing your brain to give it more room for creative problem-solving. Give it a listen.


Pregnant Woman Running on the Beach with Child

Running for the Health of It

Intuition and research tell us that the lifestyle of a pregnant woman can affect her baby. From drinking alcohol to smoking, there are certain behaviors doctors discourage. At the same time, some lifestyles can be beneficial for baby…

And exercise just got one major point in its favor.

This past week, researchers from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences presented interesting work at the Experimental Biology 2011 meeting in Washington. With a group of 61 healthy women, 20 to 35 years old, the researchers piloted a study on the relationship between exercise, pregnancy and fetal heart health.

Now, in the past, researchers found a correlation between a mother’s aerobic workout and an increased heart rate of her unborn child. Still, such correlation was generally thought to be transient. This new research went a step further, as the New York Times reports, to find that babies born to exercising mothers continued to have lower heart rates and greater heart-rate variability four weeks after delivery than the babies born to women who did not work out.

Exciting to think about the next step of studying whether or not this head start for babies continues to help children as they mature through toddlerhood…!

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A New Website Just for You

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Person Drinking Coffee with Morning Paper

Coffee is Healthy to Drink

I don’t have many health vices. Coffee has always been at the top of the list and, so, I always tell myself it is healthy to treat yourself to some things. I mean, my morning coffee experience–complete with checking email in bed and skimming a trashy gossip magazine before getting ready–makes my day. And I relish the ritual, despite some guilt over the disputed healthiness of regular coffee drinking…

Well…no longer do I feel guilty! Now, research published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association found that women (exclusively) who sip more than one cup of coffee a day had a 22% to 25% lowered risk of stroke. Even more profound, the researchers found that women who drank no coffee actually had a slightly increased risk for stroke.

While this study lacked control for medication use in its subjects, it’s important to take the findings with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, I admit that my morning ritual looks even better now, guilt-free and all. Cheers to that!