High blood pressure affects brain functionVoraorn Ratanakorn/Shutterstock
Since healthy brain function is linked with blood flow to the brain, it might not be surprising that studies show high blood pressure has a negative effect on cognition—as well as an increased risk for dementia and stroke. This is another reason to adopt a healthy diet and exercise regimen. “Regular exercise improves cardiovascular function and reduces blood pressure, which may help to protect the brain against damage that may increase dementia risk,” Palinski-Wade says.
Your brain can register subliminal messagesaithie/Shutterstock
Subliminal messages—brief words or pictures flashed on a screen quicker than the conscious mind can perceive—were first used in advertising in the 1950s, but were later banned. Although the validity of subliminal messages has been up for debate, some recent studies suggest they may be effective. In a Yale study, older participants’ self-perceptions and physical function improved after viewing a series of positive messages about aging. In another study, athletes were able to exercise longer when given subliminal motivating messages. Don’t miss these other 30 mind-blowing facts about the brain.
Intuition is a real thingJacob Lund/Shutterstock
When you think you have a “gut feeling,” are you just imagining it? Turns out, there’s something to it. According to research, these hunches are the result of our brain storing, processing, and receiving information without our conscious mind realizing it. This intuition may rely on past experiences and external cues to form a quick reaction. The Office of Naval Research is even in the middle of a scientific project to understand the mechanisms behind instinct in order to improve Marines’ and Sailors’ ability to make split-second decisions. Find out how to tap into your own intuition.