March 16, 2004

(obvious) The world is a different place than it was 20 years ago. Research on any subject is fingertips away from the common man. Just as the printing of books ushered in a new era, so has the Internet. People can choose to be as well-informed as they wish to be.(/obvious) However, this comes at a price. The price is information overload, the overbearing amount of content that is pushed upon us each day literally drowns us in information. To process it, we must learn either to ignore it, or how to process it. And for this, we will need ever faster brains, as the information becomes even more invasive. In the song "It's a Wonderful World", the writer mentions:
I hear babies cry. I watch them grow. They'll learn much more than I'll ever know.

And this growth continues unabated. What was true in the middle of the 20th century is so much more prominent in the 21st. Thankfully, our scientists are working on helping the next generation with these issues. As noted at SciScoop, recent research at Duke University shows that prenatal choline supplements make brain cells larger and faster. In animal testing, the choline supplements provided for larger neurons in the brains of the offspring test subjects. The larger neurons in the hippocampus of the offspring also possessed more 'dendrites' than their untreated breathern. Additional studies point to increased learning and memory abilities in such treated creatures.

While it may be too late for adults to take choline supplements (remember, you can have too much of a good thing, and you're probably getting the right amount of choline in your daily foods), these studies might introduce additional supplemental choline into the prenatal vitamins for pregnant women. Even so, were I to be pregnant right now, I think I'd eat plenty of eggs and peanuts if it meant my baby could be smarter.

As for SciScoop, they're on my to-watch list for adding to my daily reading, but if you do decide to go browsing at the blog, keep your thinking cap on - many of the postings are tongue-in-cheek, and require a good sense of humour, or at least a double-check of your facts before you believe the articles.

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