4 Things You Need To Know Today (May 18, 2018)

1. Want a bigger brain? Eat your veggies.

A new study published in the journal Neurology tested how people's diets affected their brain health. After studying a group of 4,000 older people in the Netherlands over 10 years, researchers concluded that those who ate healthier diets (think: lots of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats) had larger brains than those who didn't. This could open up the door to more research on how certain foods protect against diseases like dementia. (Time)

2. A promising new discovery might revolutionize the way we treat mental illness.

Scientists have discovered a neuropeptide linked to social isolation in mice that may translate to trials of treatment in humans, according to a new study published in the journal Cell. Mice that have experienced extended social isolation have elevated levels of the tachykinin gene, Tac2, which can lead to increased aggression and other negative side effects. The breakthrough is a drug that blocks Tac2 expression, which mitigates the negative side effects of social isolation. "Manipulating these [dopamine and serotonin] systems broadly [with medication] can lead to unwanted side effects. So, being able to precisely and locally modify a neuropeptide like Tac2 is a promising approach to mental health treatments," said Moriel Zelikowsky, head researcher. (EurekaAlert!)

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3. CBD can be life-changing for people with seizures.

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed patients taking a CBD-based drug had fewer epileptic seizures and fewer seizures overall. How big was the reduction, exactly? Results showed it was as much as 42 percent. The drug is called Epidiolex by GW Pharmaceuticals, and it's expected to be approved by the FDA later this year. (Leafly)

4. Not making enough money can have a negative impact on brain health.

According to several recent studies, not making enough money can have a negative impact on memory and thinking for the worse. In other words, it's a vicious cycle—if you're of a lower socioeconomic status, it not only affects your brain but your decision-making and career. (The Atlantic)

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