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Brain power

In the last few months, I’ve heard from a lot of people who say they feel like everything is out of control, with a non-stop feed of mostly bad news. And of course, there are plenty of new challenges to come.
The thing is, when your brain is running at capacity, you are more likely to have a problem processing some things. You might miss the oven timer because you received an unexpected work call. Or you nearly missed that stop light because your friend was speaking to you. In fact, your brain has an upper limit on how much you can process at once because it has a limited energy supply. And a team at University College in London just figured out exactly why this happens.

Their Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience developed a new brain monitoring technology called broadband near-infrared spectroscopy. Using this technology, they were able to accurately measure brain metabolism in different areas of the brain. 
The scientists looked at the brains of 18 people as they carried out visual tasks that were either complex or simple whilst sometimes presenting study participants with a completely irrelevant distraction.

The team identified elevated cellular metabolism in the brain areas that we're responding to a visual task. While they witnessed reduced cellular metabolism in areas responding to the distraction. In other words, there was a trade-off of limited energy supply between the task and the distraction. And it was closely synchronised. Using this new technology, they were able to measure an enzyme in the mitochondria that plays an integral role in energy metabolism. The scientists were able to connect people’s experiences of brain overload to what’s going on inside their neurons. As high energy demands, for one thing, were balanced out by reduced energy-related to something else. In this case a distraction.

So, this study had me thinking about what we could do to enhance our processing capacity. If we could boost energy metabolism in mitochondria, and make more mitochondria, wouldn’t we have more processing capability to work with? It turns out we can. And those who have discovered this energy processing hack are already using it (including me).....Watch this space for Brain Labs new supplement systems.

As always, stay healthy. Rob

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