• Posted by CERC India
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Daydreams help you focus on cognitive work 

Mind on autopilot


Most of us consider daydreaming unproductive and a waste of time. But, apparently, doing nothing in particular has great cognitive benefits. Scientists at the University of Cambridge have found evidence that a so-called ‘default mode network’, a pattern of brain activity that appears when we are paying attention to nothing in particular, may carry out the vast majority of our cognitive work.

The researchers think that the system may be the ‘autopilot’ that plays a central role in carrying out familiar tasks swiftly and easily, freeing our attention to deal with new challenges. The findings are published in the journal PNAS.

Productive habit


WHO against tobacco firm’s foundation

Funding research 

 The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that it will not partner with a foundation funded by tobacco firm Philip Morris International to look at ways of reducing the harm from smoking. The UN health body said there was a conflict of interest in a tobacco firm funding such research. It has told governments not to get involved with the foundation.

WHO said there were already proven techniques to tackle smoking – including tobacco taxes, graphic warning labels and advertising bans – which the tobacco industry had opposed in the past. Philip Morris International wants to set up a body called the ‘Foundation for a Smoke-Free World’ and plans to give it about $80 million a year for 12 years.

Conflict of interest


Exercise best for mild cognitive impairment

Get moving 

New recommendations from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) prescribe aerobic exercise rather than medication for patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The guidelines published in the journal Neurology, say that twice-weekly workouts for six months will improve memory and thinking. The aerobic exercise suggested includes brisk walking, jogging and cycling – for 150 minutes a week.

Symptoms of MCI include problems with memory, language, overall thinking and judgment that are more severe than age-related changes in cognition. According to the AAN, more than 6% of people in their 60s suffer from MCI which may progress to dementia. Early action may keep memory problems from getting worse.

Drug-free remedy


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