Newsletter #010: Importance of staying hydrated for cognitive performance 💦
Hello friends, and welcome to the latest HumanOS newsletter! Here we will highlight our work, as well as some research and media that we find useful and interesting.
This week, Greg addressed a very sad and (unfortunately) very timely subject. The CDC has reported that suicide rates have increased significantly in nearly every state in America over the past two decades, and in half of those states the rates have gone up by more than 30%. Notably, 54% of those who killed themselves didn’t have a previously known mental health condition. This is mirrored by the tragic deaths of several high-profile individuals who seemed to be on top of the world, including Anthony Bourdain. In the blog, Greg explores the ties between circadian system function and mood, and how disruption of this system, like through trans-meridian travel, may contribute to depression. Most importantly, Greg suggests ways to target the circadian system to improve mental health and performance.
Finally, we’d like to share a quick heads-up regarding activity tracking. You may have already heard that the Moves app will be shutting down at the end of this month. Moves filled an important niche - it enabled users to track their activity just through the accelerometer in their phone, without relying on a wearable. So what now? Fortunately, there is a good alternative! We recommend that Moves users switch to Fitbit Mobile Track. Mobile Track enables you to use the Fitbit app without a Fitbit, similar to Moves, recording steps and distance via the sensors in your phone.
This Week’s Research Highlights
The study used a virtual simulator to assess the impact of these vibrations on drivers and found that after just 15 minutes of driving, the vibrations caused by the car's natural movements led to decreased concentration and alertness levels. This highlights the potential risks associated with driving while feeling sleepy or fatigued and underscores the importance of getting enough rest and taking breaks during long car journeys to ensure safety on the road.
🕛 People who work 55+ hours per week have 33% greater risk of stroke and 13% greater risk of coronary heart disease.
The meta-analysis looked at 25 studies from 24 groups in Europe, the USA, and Australia. In the analysis, over 600K men and women who did not have heart disease when the study began were looked at for heart disease. Over 500K men and women who did not have stroke when the study began were looked at for stroke. People who work more than 55 hours per week are at a 33% higher risk of experiencing a stroke and a 13% higher risk of developing coronary heart disease compared to those who work standard hours (35-40 hours per week). In fact, the researchers found a dose-response association for stroke, where the longer people worked, the higher their risk for stroke. This means that the risk of stroke increases as the number of working hours per week increases.The study suggests that excessive work hours may lead to chronic stress and other unhealthy behaviors, such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and sleep deprivation, which can increase the risk of these cardiovascular diseases.
🖌️ People with exposure to paint or other solvents are 50% more likely to develop MS than people with no exposure.
This study published in the medical journal Neurology found that people who have been exposed to paint, varnish, or other solvents and carry genes that make them more susceptible to developing multiple sclerosis (MS) may be at a much greater risk of developing the disease than people who have only been exposed to solvents or have the MS genes. The study found that people with exposure to paint or other solvents are 50% more likely to develop MS than people with no exposure. Further, people with exposure to solvents who also carry the genes that make them more susceptible to MS are nearly seven times as likely to develop the disease as people with no solvent exposure who do not carry the MS genes. The risk is even greater for people who have been smokers with solvent exposure and the MS genes, as they are 30 times more likely to develop MS than those who have never smoked or been exposed to solvents and who do not have the genetic risk factors. The study suggests that avoiding cigarette smoke and unnecessary exposure to organic solvents, particularly in combination with each other, would seem reasonable lifestyle changes people can take to reduce the risk of MS, especially in people with a family history of the disease. One limitation of the study was that participants were asked to remember any exposure they had to solvents, so it is possible that they may not have remembered correctly.
A study conducted on over 2000 Australian adults found that consuming at least one serving of oranges per day is associated with a reduced risk of developing late macular degeneration 15 years later. The study suggests that this protective effect may be due to the presence of citrus flavonoids, which are naturally occurring compounds found in citrus fruits like oranges. These flavonoids have been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help protect against damage to the retina that can lead to macular degeneration.
Although it is often overlooked as an essential nutrient, water is vital for life as it serves several critical functions. Total body water comprises approximately 45–75% of a person’s body weight. Muscle mass is 70–75% water, while water in fat tissue can vary between 10 and 40%. Water acts as a transporter of nutrients, regulates body temperature, lubricates joints and internal organs, provides structure to cells and tissues, and can help preserve cardiovascular function. Water consumption may also facilitate weight management. Water deficits can impact physical performance, and recent research suggests that cognitive performance may also be impacted. Cognitive performance measures an individual’s attentiveness, critical thinking skills, and memory. Traditionally a 2% or more body water deficit was thought to produce cognitive performance decrements; however, recent literature suggests that even mild dehydration – a body water loss of 1–2% – can impair cognitive performance. Counseling clients about their health and wellbeing should include conveying the importance of water for normal body functioning, as well as its effects on physical and cognitive performance.
Podcasts We Loved This Week
- Tristan Harris: How Social Media and AI Hijack Your Brain. Via the Collective Insights Podcast.
- Doug Wallace: Mitochondria, Our Human Origins and the Possibility of Mitochondria-Targeted Therapies. Via STEM-Talk.
- Stavros Kavouras: Hydration & Heat Acclimatization in Athletes. Via Dr. Bubbs Performance Podcast.
Products We Are Enjoying
Ginny says: So I have a bit of a sweet tooth, but I am reluctant to add much-refined sugar to my recipes. But stevia tends to have a harsh aftertaste - which is exacerbated in alcohol-based liquid stevia extracts. Stevia glycerite is a bit more expensive but has a cleaner, sweeter taste. It’s also kind of sticky and syrupy, which I like. This Better Stevia from Now Foods is pretty affordable (8 ounces goes a long way). I also highly recommend the 365 French Vanilla liquid stevia from Whole Foods.
New Content by humanOS
- Blog: Circadian Rhythm Disruption and Depression: A Plausible Contributor to High-Profile Suicides? By Greg Potter.
- FB: Adding nuts to the diet may enhance human fertility. Men who supplemented their normal diet with 60g of nuts every day for 14 weeks experienced 16% improvement in sperm count, 4% in sperm vitality, 6% in sperm motility, and 1% in morphology.