The evidence for the neuroprotective benefits of dietary omega-3 fatty acids continues to mount. A recent MRI study found that older women with higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in salmon and other cold water fish, had more brain volume and suffered less cognitive decline than women with low blood levels of omega-3s. (For more information about the proven brain benefits of salmon and other omega-3 fish, and additional recipes featuring these fish, read this.)
Here is a simple but delicious recipe for wild salmon fillets that also incorporates sesame seeds and sesame oil, which have brain benefits as well. Lipophilic antioxidants such as those found in sesame seeds and sesame oil are expected to contribute to the prevention of age-related diseases. Sesame seeds are also a good source of the lignans found in flaxseed.
RECIPE FOR BRAIN HEALTH: Soy and Sesame Wild Salmon
1 1/2 lbs wild salmon fillet
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 tsps canola oil
1 scallion, chopped (for garnish)
In a bowl, mix together soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, grated ginger, and sesame seeds with 2 tablespoons water.
Put salmon in a lidded container and pour 2/3 of the marinade mixture into the container. Reserve remaining marinade. Close the lid and shake gently, making sure the marinade has covered entire salmon. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Heat frying pan coated with canola oil over high heat. Add salmon and lower the heat to medium. Cook for 5-6 minutes, until salmon is no longer translucent. Flip with tongs and continue cooking the other side, for another 5 minutes.
Pour remaining marinade into the pan. Cook over low heat until sauce has evaporated.
Remove from pan and serve with chopped scallions on top.
I just watched a great video from TED.com about stress. In the video, researcher Kelly McGonigal reveals recent research findings that turn some of our preconceptions about stress upside-down. After years of researching the negative effects of stress, McGonigal, a Stanford University psychologist, has turned her critical eye to the positive side of stress.. Check out this excellent video and learn about Dr. McGonigal’s research-based suggestions for how to make stress your friend instead of your enemy!
Researchers have long known that autism is more common in males than in females. In fact, autism is about 5 times more common in boys than in girls; 1 in 54 boys is diagnosed with autism, while only 1 in 252 girls is (as of a 2008 study.) Now, a new study has given them clues as to why that might be.
The study, from University of Washington Medical School, has found that women who have autism have more extreme genetic mutations than males, which suggests that their threshold for protecting against mutations is higher. In other words, males are affected even with less extreme mutations, while females need to have more extreme genetic alterations to show symptoms of autism.
The study found that other neurodevelopmental disorders showed similar patterns as well.
You may never have heard of the incredibly accomplished Alexa Irene Canady, who was both the first female neurosurgeon and the first African American neurosurgeon in the United States. In honor of Black History Month, I wanted to share the story of this pioneering and inspiring figure.
Canady was born in 1950. Her mother worked in education, and her father was a dentist. After getting her undergraduate degree in zoology at the University of Michigan, she went on to get an MD there as well. For her post-graduate work, she chose the Yale University hospital, where she became both the first woman and the first African-American to specialize in neurology and neurosurgery. Although she faced opposition to this choice–most notably, from the neurosurgery department chairman–she persevered and started the residency.
In 1984, Canady officially made history when she became the first black person and the first woman to be certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery. By 1987, she was Chief of Neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital in Michigan, where she worked as a pediatric neurosurgeon, and continued in that role until her retirement in 2001. But after a move to Florida, she learned she was the only pediatric neurosurgeon in the Pensacola area, so she came out of retirement to begin practicing again and serving her community as a part-time surgeon.