Tag Archives: Hippocampus

Lysimachia christiniae

Botanical Name: Lysimachia christiniae
Family: Primulaceae
Genus: Lysimachia
Species: L. vulgaris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms: Lysimachusa vulgaris (L.) Pohl

Common Names: Garden loosestrife, Yellow loosestrife, or Garden yellow loosestrife.
Habitat : Lysimachia christiniae is native to Europe and Asia, including Britain, but excluding the extreme north and south. It grows on marshes, streams and in shallow water in reed swamps. Shady places near water, avoiding acid soils.
Description:
Lysimachia vulgaris is a perennial herb growing to 1.2 m (4ft). It is rhizomatous, with runners. Stem slightly ascending from base, unbranched, upper part fine-haired, lime green–reddish brown, often spotted.

Leaves: Whorled or opposite, almost stalkless. Leaf blade ovate–lanceolate, sharp-tipped, with entire margins, dark-spotted, underside fine-haired.

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Fruit: Spherical, 5-valved, longer than calyx, approx. 4 mm (0.16 in.) long capsule.

It is in flower from Apr to September. Flowers:  Corolla regular (actinomorphic), wheel-shaped, yellow, 8–16 mm (0.32–0.64 in.) wide, fused, short-tubed, 5-lobed, lobes with roundish tips, edge glabrous. Calyx lobes narrow, with reddish brown margins. Stamens 5. Pistil a fused carpel. Inflorescence a lax, terminal, compound raceme, flowers abundant in groups.

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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, self.The plant is self-fertile.

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Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can grow in water.

Cultivation:
An easily grown plant, succeeding in a moist or wet loamy soil in sun or partial shade. Prefers a shady position. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Hardy to at least -25°c. Most species in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. A very ornamental plant. The sub-species L. vulgaris davurica. (Ledeb.)Kunth. is the form used for food in China and Japan.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring. Basal cuttings, March to April in a cold frame. Harvest the shoots with plenty of underground stem when they are about 8 – 10cm above the ground. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Edible Uses: Young leaves are eaten.
Medicinal Uses:

It is anastringent herb, yellow loosestrife is principally used to treat gastro-intestinal conditions such as diarrhoea and dysentery, to stop internal and external bleeding and to cleanse wounds. The herb is astringent, demulcent and expectorant. It is harvested when in flower in July and dried for later use. The plant can be used internally or externally and is useful in checking bleeding of the mouth, nose and wounds, restraining profuse haemorrhages of any kind and in the treatment of diarrhoea. It makes a serviceable mouthwash for treating sore gums and mouth ulcers.

Other Uses:
Dye.

A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. A brown dye is obtained from the rhizomes. The growing plant repels gnats and flies, it has been burnt in houses in order to remove these insects.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Lysimachia+vulgaris
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysimachia_vulgaris

http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/yellow-loosestrife

Exercise Radically Improves Brain Power

Exercise can keep your brain sharp as you age. A new study has shown that a program of exercise can, over the course of a year, increase the size of your hippocampus, a part of the brain key to memory and spatial navigation.

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The hippocampus often shrinks in late adulthood, leading to memory impairment.

According to the Los Angeles Times:
“To complete the study, the team recruited 120 older people who didn’t exercise regularly. Half were randomly assigned to an aerobic exercise program … The group doing aerobic exercise had increases in hippocampus volume: up 2.12 percent in the left hippocampus, and 1.97 percent in the right hippocampus.”

Regular exercise can also improve the ability of overweight children to think, plan and even do math, according to other recent research. MRIs have shown that previously inactive children who start to exercise experience increased brain activity in the prefrontal cortex, an area associated with complex thinking, decision making and correct social behavior.

The more they exercise, the better the result.

Eurekalert reports:
“Intelligence scores increased an average 3.8 points in those exercising 40 minutes per day after school for three months with a smaller benefit in those exercising 20 minutes daily.  Activity in the part of their brain responsible for so-called executive function also increased in children who exercised … Similar improvements were seen in math skills”.

Resources:
*Los Angeles Times January 31, 2011

*Wall Street Journal February 22, 2011

*Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

*Eurekalert February 18, 2011

*Georgia Health Science News

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Exercise Before Alcohol

Rigorous physical exercise before binge drinking may reduce brain damage in adolescents.
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Monkeys are much like humans. If you leave them alone with alcohol, some of them are sure to get drunk quickly. But that’s a useful trait, because then you can study their brains easily. Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute near San Diego in the US did exactly that with adolescent monkeys, and came to some disturbing conclusions.

Chitra Mandyam and her colleagues at the Scripps Institute were investigating the effects of binge drinking among adolescents. They let the monkeys drink for an hour every day for 11 months. They then stopped the alcohol supply for two months, after which they examined the brains of the animals. The monkeys showed permanent damage in the hippocampus, an area that is crucial to the formation of new memory.

Adolescence — whether in rats, monkeys or humans — is a period of intense physical and mental change. “It is a vulnerable period,” says Mandyam.

According to several studies, binge drinking is increasing among adolescents. Over 60 per cent of these youngsters are at risk of developing brain disorders. It is thus necessary to understand how alcohol damages the brain, how lasting the damage is, and what can be done to reverse it.

“There have been several studies on rodents,” says Mandyam. “But this is the first time we studied binge drinking in monkeys.” There are many advantages of studying the phenomenon in monkeys. The animals are genetically similar to human beings, they drink like humans, and their brains are affected in a manner similar to that in humans.

Neurons in the hippocampus are generated the same way in monkeys as in humans. Since it is difficult to get the brains of adolescent humans for post-mortem, monkeys form the closest approximation for studying the effect of alcohol on adolescent humans.

Scientists at the Scripps Institute first selected a set of monkeys who liked to drink alcohol, and then divided it into two groups. One group was allowed to drink for 11 months and the other did not get to drink. Neurons in the hippocampus of the animals that drank had degenerated when seen even after two months of abstinence. The level of stem cells in the brain also decreased, suggesting the brain had less capacity to repair the damage.

The hippocampus is an important area of the brain that is involved in several functions like spatial memory formation, executive functioning and short-term and long-term memory formation. If damaged during adolescence, it could affect an individual’s functioning for a lifetime. This is particularly true if the stem cells are damaged. Mandyam’s study showed that as much as 90 per cent of the stem cells in the hippocampus could be damaged by binge drinking.

So the next question is: what can we do to reverse the damage? The brain is known to be very plastic, but can we invoke this plasticity when the stem cells in the hippocampus are damaged? There are no studies of monkeys, but those of rats suggest that one may be able to control this damage partly.

One particular study by Kimberly Nixon and her colleagues at the University of Kentucky in the US has shown that exercise before drinking may reduce the damage to a certain extent.

Nixon made rats exercise voluntarily for 14 days before four days of intense drinking. When the brains of the rodents were examined after that, they showed reduced damage compared with rats that did not exercise. However, we cannot necessarily conclude that all alcohol damage is reversible. “We do not know the threshold levels alcohol begins to be toxic,” says Nixon. “There is old data saying that over 50 per cent of alcoholics have persistent cognitive defects they never recover from.”

There may be several reasons why exercise shows reduced damage. It could be that the brain cells form new connections to compensate for lost cells. Abstinence and the passage of time may help the brain recover a bit. But we still do not know the many ways in which alcohol affects the brain.

However, we do know two things: binge drinking can permanently damage parts of the brain. And a period of exercise before drinking can prevent or at least reduce brain cell death.


Source :
The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Berry Compound Reduces Aging Effects

In a new study, elderly laboratory animals that ate a diet rich in the berry and grape compound pterostilbene showed a reversal of some of the negative effects of aging on brain function and behavioral performance.

The researchers wanted to determine if pterostilbene would be effective in reversing the effects of aging on mature rats. They fed older rats either a control diet, or a diet adjusted to include either low or high concentrations of pterostilbene.

The results indicated that in aging rats, pterostilbene was effective in reversing cognitive decline, and that improved working memory was linked to pterostilbene levels in the hippocampus region of the brain.

Sources:
Science Daily December 28, 2008
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2008, 56 (22), pp 10544–10551

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