It’s almost time for the dreaded fall midterms. Somehow, midterms manage to be even more stressful than finals. Maybe it’s because of the time of year they fall, which is easily the most beautiful time to be living in Boston. You just want to spend time outside walking on the esplanade, looking at the beautiful red and orange leaves on the trees that line the river and watching the rowing teams pass you by. Well, it may actually be beneficial to take some time out of your studying to take a stroll along the river, or to just sit on a bench for a little while. In fact, take some time to picnic this fall with some brain food, because studies show that it will enhance your studying experience.
Some of these brain foods include foods that you’d expect. These are the foods that your mom has been forcing down your throat, whether you like them or not, for as long as you can remember. But take a step back and think about why. Berries, for example, provide neurological benefits. They have a ton of antioxidants which will protect you from bacteria that make you sick when you’re stressed. Berries mediate signaling pathways that are involved in cell survival, and they increase the neuroplasticity, neurotransmission and calcium buffering properties of the brain, all related to aging, and in turn, memory and behavioral changes.
A research team led by Laura Matzen at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuqurque, NM has demonstrated that it is possible to predict how well people will remember information by monitoring their brain activity while studying. Matzen's team monitored test volunteers with electroencephalography (EEG) sensors to make accurate predictions. Why bother making a prediction if the result will show how well someone remembered the information anyways? Matzen brought up this example, "if you had someone learning new material and you were recording the EEG, you might be able to tell them, 'You're going to forget this, you should study this again,' or tell them, 'OK, you got it and go on to the next thing." Essentially providing a real-time performance metric, the applications of which many students would appreciate. More