Nature Outlook |

Cognitive health

From superfoods to brain training, the Internet is full of advice on how to improve cognitive health and boost brain power. But the science behind these claims is murky at best. This Nature Outlook investigates some of the strategies that can be used to keep our brains in top form when faced with social and biological factors that induce deterioration.

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As mind sports becomes the new frontier for doping concerns, research is exploring whether users really get any value from 'smart drugs'.

Outlook | | Nature

Future generations may have less to fear from cognitive decline thanks to microscopic insights into the ageing brain, and interventions from unexpected quarters.

Outlook | | Nature

As neuroscientists explore the therapeutic prospects of brain stimulation, the amateur community are hoping the technology will enhance their mental faculties or well-being.

Outlook | | Nature

Thoughtful use of ubiquitous technology can improve mental ability more than drugs and devices, say Nicholas S. Fitz and Peter B. Reiner.

Outlook | | Nature

Conflicting results are expected in a young field, but what do you do when even the meta-analyses do not agree?

Outlook | | Nature

Consumption of animals helped hominins to grow bigger brains. But in a world rich with food, how necessary is meat?

Outlook | | Nature

Social ties go hand-in-hand with cognitive health. Now researchers are trying to determine why engaging with others helps to keep the brain healthy.

Outlook | | Nature

Before data were so abundant, computer models of the brain were simple. Information is now much more plentiful — but some argue that models should remain uncomplicated.

Outlook | | Nature

Stress can have a negative influence on the human brain, but increasingly it is the ability to withstand severe stress that is the focus of research.

Outlook | | Nature

Related articles

Studies into human brain function attract a great deal of attention in the media, but it is important to be aware of the limitations inherent in the methodologies used and in the way they are being applied. In this Review, Russell Poldrack and Martha Farah explore the techniques that are currently being used to probe brain function in humans, focusing in particular on the study of the neural bases of the mind, and discuss the ability of these methods to test hypotheses about causal mechanisms. They also consider several current and potential real-world applications of human neuroscience and the challenges involved.

Review Article | | Nature

It is a truism that the brain influences the body and that peripheral physiology influences the brain. Never is this clearer than during stress, where the subtlest emotions or the most abstract thoughts can initiate stress responses, with consequences throughout the body, and the endocrine transducers of stress alter cognition, affect and behavior. For a fervent materialist, few things in life bring more pleasure than contemplating the neurobiology of stress.

Commentary | | Nature Neuroscience

Aging is associated with cognitive impairment and degenerative processes in the brain. Here, Tony Wyss-Coray and colleagues report that exposure of aged mice to young blood improves learning and memory in aged mice. This effect is associated with structural improvements in dendritic spine density in the hippocampus and functionally with increased synaptic plasticity. These findings suggest that circulating factors in young blood can reverse impairments in learning, memory and synaptic plasticity in aged mice.

Letter | | Nature Medicine