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7 Ways to Fix Your Gut and Help Your Brain

Author Peter Andrey Smith titled his article on the relationship of the brain to the intestines, and, in particular, the tiny creatures that live in our intestine beautifully: “The tantalizing links between gut microbes and the brain”. If the human brain is the frontier of medical science, the microbiome, those tiny creatures that live in our intestinal tract, is Jupiter. The linkage between what goes on in the gut and the brain is indeed tantalizing, and the subject of research worldwide. There are over 1,000 different kinds of those things living inside us. There are hints that having the wrong mix of gut microbes, or the absence of any particular type, is linked to asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and more. Further, antibiotics, illnesses and other factors can deplete the population. Here are seven things we can do to help keep our little creatures happy and healthy.
Eat the right stuff. There is evidence that the right diet helps keep …
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Cover The Topic Podcast

Today I was interviewed by noted podcaster Kelsay Yerian for her Cover the Topic podcast. In the second of a three-part interview series, we discussed investing in start-ups, a little about venture capitalists, e-commerce, retail winners and losers, and the beginnings of www.bigbrain.place. www.bigbrain.place offers a variety of games, puzzles, aromatherapy, books on meditation, gourmet coffee and sleep accoutrements- all grounded in research indicating that they are good for brain health.

You can listen here or catch it on ITunes. http://coverthetopic.com/episode-38-interview-with-gene-morphis-part-2/

12 Tips For A Good Night's Sleep

We previously wrote about the activities that you (that is your brain, which is reading this) does while you sleep. Those activities are critical to memory, overall health and more. If you consistently don’t get enough sleep, your normal every day performance suffers-not a surprise to individuals who find themselves rotating from morning to evening to overnight shifts. Fortunately, science has come up with some tips for a good night’s sleep: Get regular exercise. But stop exercising at least two hours before trying to sleep; you’ll be too jazzed up.Go to bed at the same time each night.Stop looking at your portable electronic devices like your smartphone and tablet, an hour before bedtime. Those devices emit light in the spectrum that stimulates our brains to wake up.If you are sensitive to caffeine, have your last cup of coffee, glass of soda, etc. in the early afternoon.Get into a nighttime ritual. Clean your face, brush your teeth, say your…

What Does Your Brain Do While You Are Sleeping?

Have you ever heard some ersatz over-achiever say, “sleep is over-rated”? He was wrong. If anything, sleep is underrated. There is abundant research to prove it. Like a lot of other stuff, we’ve learned what lack of sleep can do the hard way by not getting enough of it.
You’ll Get a Dirty Brain if You Don’t Sleep Enough Dr. Maiken Nedergaard and associates at the University of Rochester Medical Center discovered a system that drains waste from the brain. While we sleep of course. Surrounding our spinal column and brain is cerebrospinal fluid. This clear fluid flows through channels in the brain, and the channels are controlled by glial cells. While we sleep, the glial cells move the fluid around and, among other things, it seems to remove beta-amyloid from brain tissue. If “beta-amyloid” rings a bell, it’s because some researchers think it is involved in Alzheimer’s disease. We clearly want that to be removed. If we don’t get sufficient sleep, we are letting the sludge build up. More …

Eleven Life Hacks for a Better Brain

There is an explosion of research into brain health. One result is a growing knowledge base on steps one can take to maintain brain health and even improve focus, memory, and attention. These techniques are good at every stage of life from youth into older age.  Exercise is really good for brain health. Actually, one of the most important things you can do. Mixing up the kinds of exercise that you do seems to be even better. Aerobic/cardio exercise helps keep strong healthy blood flow up into the brain.For some reason, resistance and weight-training may even be better for brain health than cardio. But, again, let’s assume that mixing up resistance and cardio is better than one or the other.Walking, running, jumping, dancing and the like are brain-healthy. Something to do with nerve connections from the sole of the feet to the brain. Or maybe it is just the cardio benefit. But, as the Nike folks say, “Just Do It”.Eating right is correlated to brain heal…

Book Review- Stretch by Scott Sonenshein

Have you ever watched, or been involved in, a business failure, where, despite the best efforts of hardworking people, the business doesn’t survive? Scott Sonenshein lived through it, as he describes in the Introduction to his engrossing book Stretch.  (In some books, the reader can skip the intro- not this one; the introduction is a must-read part of the book.) He was hired by start-up Vividence in Silicon Valley at the very apex of the tech boom.  Despite prestige VC backers, top-tier hires and $50 million, Vividence didn’t make it. As his career continued, that experience led to an interest in why some well-funded operations don’t succeed, while other, more resource constrained, do. Peter Senge wrote about reinforcing cycles as part of his book The Fifth Discipline, which I consider one of the finest business books ever penned. In it, Senge describes the downward cycle that some companies fall into, and why it is so difficult to reverse. Sonenshein explores those cycles from diffe…
Here’s our annual high-level comparison of Amazon vs. Walmart.
From a growth perspective, Amazon wiped the floor with Walmart. AMZN added $18 billion in revenue for a 20.2% growth rate, while WMT shrank by $(3.5) billion or (0.7%).  WMT’s revenue was negatively affected by currency exchange rates moving against it, but even adjusting for that WMT’s revenue wasn’t in the realm of AMZN
From a GAAP earnings perspective, WMT maintains its lead, although that is diminishing. WMT’s GAAP operating margin was 5.0%, which was a 0.6 PPT improvement, while AMZN delivered 2.1% operating margin. However, AMZN’s margin improved a whopping 1.9 PPT.
WMT’s net income still dwarfs AMZN at $14.7 billion vs. $0.6 billion. But again, the change is informative: as WMT launched programs for higher associate pay and stronger e-commerce capability, its net income fell by 10.2% or $1.7 billion. Conversely, AMZN increased income by $0.8 billion from a prior year loss. While this is an annual comparison, I’d be…