Thursday, June 30, 2011

Brain Training to Boost Your IQ

Brain games are now a $300 million a year business, but do they actually work? If you google “boost brainpower,” you’ll find all kinds of come-ons and promises, with little or no scientific proof that these mental workouts will make you any smarter. While research shows that mental activities—particularly puzzles and video, online, card or board games played against the clock—can help improve memory, until recently, IQ was believed to be determined by genes and therefore impossible to raise.
New studies challenge that notion. Scientists now know that we have two types of intelligence. Crystallized intelligence is the knowledge you accumulate. The other type, fluid intelligence, pertains to problem solving skills, reasoning and abstract thinking. We know that crystallized intelligence grows - why else would we go to school? But until very recently, researchers didn’t think there was any reliable way to lift fluid intelligence, since it was viewed as genetically determined.
Can brain training raise IQ?
Two studies by a team at the University of Michigan suggest that it is possible to increase fluid intelligence in both adults and elementary and middle school students. Earlier research had suggested that training the brain to do certain tasks improved performance of those specific tasks but didn’t translate to overall gains in intelligence. The new studies indicate that the increases in IQ produced by the brain training method are more long lasting.
What kind of brain training was used? The first study, published in 2008, involved 70 healthy adults who took IQ tests before and after training. The participants tracked small squares on a computer screen that popped into a new location every three seconds, and pressed a button when the current location duplicated from two views earlier. At the same time, consonants were played through headphones and the participants were told to press a button if the letter was the same as that heard two plays earlier. The training included 20 minute sessions over 8, 12, 17 or 19 week days. The study with kids was similar, but was set up more like a video game with a cartoon character (instead of squares) that moved around. Kids received the training 15 minutes a day for a month.
How much did IQ improve? In the adult study, the research team reported that the IQs of trained individuals increased “significantly more” than adults assigned to a control group, and that the more training the volunteers got, the higher their new IQ scores.  In the kids’ study, fluid intelligence in some of the youngsters increased about five points after a month of training, but no gains were seen in other participants, perhaps because they found the exercises too hard or too boring and didn’t concentrate on them. Among the kids who did gain IQ points, the improvement was still seen during a follow-up evaluation three months later.
What do these findings mean?  While we don’t yet know how (or if) the IQ improvements seen will affect the participants over time, these studies were the first to show that it is possible to improve on fluid intelligence, at least as measured by IQ tests. And it suggests that short-term training actually can boost brainpower. The scientists also think this type of training may help kids with developmental delays and older adults with memory decline, but further research would have to be done to see if that is true, since these studies only involved healthy volunteers.
What else, besides heredity, influences IQ? A study in Sweden of more than 1.2 million men who underwent physical fitness and intelligence tests at age 18 (a requirement for military enlistment) linked cardiovascular fitness during the teen years to higher IQ, higher educational achievements (such as getting a college degree or going to graduate school) and higher earning power as adults.
Mounting evidence suggests that both physical and mental activity can improve brainpower and keep your mind and memory sharp as you age. Another proven strategy: during pregnancy, women can boost their babies’ IQ by increasing their intake of fish with beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.

8 men reveal: “Why I date younger women”

8 men reveal: “Why I date younger women”
Ever feel like all the men your age are dating women half your age? OK, maybe not half your age, but you get the idea. What makes men attracted to younger women? Is it just about looks and our youth-centric culture? Well, that’s part of it. But you might be surprised to learn the real reasons that go way beyond physical attraction: as it turns out, men are a bit more complicated than that! 

It’s all about the law of averages as you get older
“When you reach your late thirties, it’s not so much that dating a younger woman becomes more attractive, it’s just harder not to date them. The law of averages means that proportionately fewer women your age are single. But dating a woman in her twenties when you’re approaching 40 is also less demanding; you’re not faced with the same requirements to make a decision about your future. When your new girlfriend is 36, she expects you’re thinking about the next few years, not just the next few dates.”
— Colin, 38, Chicago, IL 

Their carefree attitudes make younger women more appealing
“I’d say the allure is that younger women are less judgmental and less set in their ways. They don’t have a laundry list of what they want in a partner, a career or even life just yet. Younger women are more friendly, I suppose. I think that kind of attitude appeals to thirty-something guys who want a relationship to really be on their terms.”
— Larry, 35, Edison, NJ
They let me embrace my inner goofball on dates

“Honestly, younger women are sometimes more open to having goofy good times than a woman who has a few years on her. You can invite them to the midnight showing of Kung Fu Hustle without getting a skeptical look.”
— Mitchell, 39, Baltimore, MD 

Fewer years of dating equals less emotional baggage to carry
“The appealing thing about younger women is their outlook on life. They tend to be untainted by experiences that have hardened older women. For example, when a woman’s been lied to a lot after years of dating, she always thinks you’re lying to her, too. And that’s a turn-off. Younger women are less cynical, and that’s a big draw.”
— Alan*, 46 New York, NY 

Dating without an agenda means having more fun together
“What makes a younger woman a good catch? She’s not itching to have a ring on her finger. She’s interested in the here and now, in going out, in having fun. It may sound like a cliché, but it’s reality. I’m not anti-marriage, I’m just anti-agenda. A younger woman seems more willing to let things take their natural course.”
— Roger, 35, New York, NY 

The ego boost helps me maintain my health and vitality
“When a guy reaches a certain age, he worries he will see his youth and vitality wane. A younger woman reaffirms for me that I’ve still got it going on.”
— Mike, 40, Orlando, FL 

Impressing a younger date is easier
“One advantage of dating a younger woman is that you can play ‘cruise director’ — i.e., show her all your secret favorite places that she probably hasn’t experienced yet. They’re easier to impress and very willing to be escorted around. Women like it when you have a plan and it’s well-executed.”
— Bill, 33, New York, NY 

Diet soda may be making you fat

Photo: Thinkstock
Think you're making a healthier choicewhen you reach for diet soda instead of a sugary soft drink? Think again.

Diet soft drinks may have minimal calories, but they can still have a major impact on your waistline, according to two studies presented at a meeting of the American Diabetes Association in San Diego.

Researchers at the Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio tracked 474 people, all 65 to 74 years old, for nearly a decade, measuring the subjects' height, weight, waist circumference, and diet soft drink intake every 3.6 years. The waists of those who drank diet soft drinks grew 70 percent more than those who avoided the artificially sweetened stuff; people who drank two or more servings a day had waist-circumference increases that were five times larger than non-diet-soda consumers.

The findings are in line with those of a 2005 study, also conducted by researchers at the Texas Health Science Center, in which the chance of becoming overweight or obese increased with every diet soda consumed.

“On average, for each diet soft drink our participants drank per day, they were 65 percent more likely to become overweight during the next seven to eight years, and 41 percent more likely to become obese,” said Sharon Fowler, who was a faculty associate in the division of clinical epidemiology in the Health Science Center’s department of medicine at the time.

But how does something with no calories cause weight gain? Turns out that even if our taste buds can't tell the difference between real and fake sugar, our brains can. Another study, also presented at the American Diabetes Association meeting on Sunday, found that after three months of eating food laced with aspartame (which is also found in many diet soft drinks), mice had higher blood sugar levels than rodents who ate regular food. According to Fowler, who worked on all three studies and is now a researcher at UT Health Science Center at San Diego, the aspartame could trigger the appetite but do nothing to satisfy it. That could interfere with your body's ability to tell when you're full—and could lead you to eat more in general.

It happens in humans, too. A 2008 study found that women who drank water sweetened with sugar and water sweetened with Splenda couldn't taste a difference, but functional MRI scans showed that their brains' reward center responded to real sugar "more completely" than it did to the artificial sweetener.

"Your senses tell you there's something sweet that you're tasting, but your brain tells you, 'actually, it's not as much of a reward as I expected,'" Dr. Martin P. Paulus, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego and one of the authors of the study, told the Huffington Post. So you chase that no-calorie soda with something more caloric, like a salty snack. The sweet taste could also trigger your body to produce insulin, which blocks your ability to burn fat.

Aside from the health problems that go along with a widening waistline, diet soft drinks have also been linked to an increase in diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. One study of more than 2,500 people found that those "who drank diet soda daily had a 61 percent increased risk of cardiovascular events compared to those who drank no soda, even when accounting for smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption and calories consumed per day," ABC News reported in February. And a 2008 University of Minnesota study of nearly 10,000 adults ages 45 to 64 found that drinking a single can of diet soda a day led to a 34 percent higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a collection of health problems that includes high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and high levels of belly fat.

"Drinking a reasonable amount of diet soda a day, such as a can or two, isn't likely to hurt you," writes Katherine Zeratsky, a nutritionist at the Mayo Clinic. "The artificial sweeteners and other chemicals currently used in diet soda are safe for most people, and there's no credible evidence that these ingredients cause cancer."

"It’s hard to make a blanket statement on whether or not you should drink diet soda," Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D., the nutrition editor for EatingWell Magazine, says. "At the end of the day what I think it comes down to is how are you using diet soda—is it truly a substitute for a higher calorie beverage or is it just an excuse to order the fries with your burger or a cookie for dessert? If it’s the former, go ahead. If it’s the latter, perhaps think twice."

But no matter how the soda is sweetened, it is an empty calorie food, Wright points out. "It delivers no nutritional value whatsoever and so should only be consumed in moderation."

Javier Colon Fulfills Destiny With 'Voice' Victory

For weeks now on "The Voice," viewers had assumed that Javier Colon--who'd been the frontrunner since before the season even started, when his first audition of "Time After Time" was heavily featured in "Voice" promo teasers--had the competition in the bag. So perhaps it was no surprise when he triumphed over Beverly McClellan, Vicci Martinez, and his most formidable opponent, iTunes chart-topper Dia Frampton (who came in second to Javier, separated by only 2 percent of the votes), on Wednesday's big finale.
As his mentor Adam Levine put it, this was not Javier's first time at the rodeo. He sang with the Derek Trucks Band in the early 2000s, and was signed to Capitol Records after that; the first single off his 2003 self-titled debut album for Capitol, "Crazy," was a minor chart success, reaching number 95 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 42 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. (No wonder he looked like such a pro performing with legend Stevie Nicks on the "Voice" finale!) Javier's second album, Left Of Center, was less successful, although it featured a guest spot by fellow neo-soulman Anthony Hamilton and garnered positive reviews. While the now-31-year-old's Capitol deal was mentioned on his "Voice" webpage on the NBC site, it was not brought up on the show until last week, long after viewers had figured out how to use YouTube and Wikipedia to learn all this themselves. But no one seemed to mind. If anything, it just stirred up outrage that Javier was not more successful back in the day, and added to his backstory.
It remains to be seen if Javier, who just won a deal with Universal Republic, will experience greater success now than he did during his Capitol years. But he very well might. It should be noted that unlike other talent shows, on "The Voice" iTunes downloads actually count as votes--which makes sense, since paid downloads are obviously a better gauge of how well a reality contestant will fare post-show than millions of block-text votes coming from a selective number of overzealous, phone-banking tweens. And Javier's original song performance from this week, "Stitch By Stitch," immediately shot to number two on the iTunes charts after he sang it, and throughout the season he landed many other songs in the iTunes top 50.
Javier faced some very worthy opponents this season, and I certainly hope that Dia, Beverly, and Vicci (and some of the top eight, like Nakia, Frenchie Davis, and Xenia) get their own much-deserved record deals. But I expect big things for Javier Colon. In the real world, the only "vote" that counts is the kind made with a music fan's pocketbook, so this means he's finally a proven seller, someone who's finally had real success on the charts. Good for him.

Alicia Silverstone Shares First Photos of Newborn Son, Bear Bl

alicia silverstone bear blu
First time mom Alicia Silverstone officially introduced Bear Blu Jarecki, her 9-week old darling baby boy, to the world in an exclusive US Weekly photo shoot, which hit the stands Wednesday.
After going off the radar for nearly six weeks following her sons birth, the 34-year-old Cluelessstar finally shared with the popular magazine her reasoning behind going hermit-mode.
“I wanted to soak in every moment of his scrumptiousness.”
As for Christopher Jarecki, Bear’s father, Silverstone added that he’s been a hands-on daddy.
“He’s great at changing him and giving baths, and he massages him a lot,” she said.
When asked who came up with the unique, but uber-cute name Bear Blu, Alicia responded:
“We had narrowed our list to five boy names, and then we couldn’t really decide,” she told Us Weekly. “he suggested Bear or Blu, and I loved them both.” She jokingly continued later, when asked to describe her son, “[Blu is] part squirrel, part monkey and part peanut.”
Congrats again, Alicia and Chris, on a healthy and adorable baby boy.
Alicia-Silverstone-baby bear blu jarecki photo

See Katy Perry, Russell Brand's Huge New $6.5 Million Home

See Katy Perry, Russell Brand's Huge New $6.5 Million Home
If Katy Perry and husband Russell Brand are planning for lots of kids, they're all set!
A month after putting their Hollywood Hills homeon the market, the couple have purchased a massive seven bedroom, three-story home in L.A.'s hip, trendy Los Feliz area for $6.5 million.
See Katy Perry, Russell Brand's Huge New $6.5 Million Home
The sprawling estate may look familiar to TV fans: It was featured on season one of The BachelorRadarOnlinereports that Perry, 26, and Brand, 35, purchased the property from Daniel Lakin, the former CEO of National Lampoon, who was sentenced to 45 months in prison for stock manipulation charges.
Built in 1925, the Spanish-style home is a staggering 8,835 square feet and features nine bathrooms, a guest house, a home cinema, a grotto-style swimming pool, stain-glass windows and more.
After about a year of dating, the couple tied the knot at a tiger sanctuary in India last October

Interview with Career Expert Stephanie C. Harper

CM Cover new
By: Denise Young

When you think about a resume what do you think of? Do you think that your resume is up to standards when a HR professional receives your resume. Southern Belle Dish editor had a candid interview  with an career expert  Stephanie C. Harper to discuss what you should have on your resume to get that dream job.
Stephanie C. Harper, PHR, CCP, CHRM is an Author, Career Expert, Speaker, Radio Host and Publisher of CAREER Magazine with 19 years experience in human resources.   CEO of STEP Enterprises, Inc., she assists individuals with and small businesses with career strategies and human resources consulting.  

She is committed to the career industry, Ms. Harper provides career education strategies to a global audience, her expertise has been sought by organizations from Atlanta to Australia contributing to Women for Hire (Good Morning America’s Job Contributor), Georgia Department of Labor,  Association of Job Search Trainers and the United Way to name a few. Ms. Harper’s expertise has been featured in the The Wall Street Journal, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Greater Diversity News and on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN).  Author of the best sellers  Why Should I Hire You? And a Kingdom Built Career (foreword by Bishop Noel Jones), she has penned several books, workshops and training manuals including the Youth Entrepreneur Camp.  
View her interview.

Exclusive Interview with Celebrity Stylist Toni Neal

By: Denise Young

How do you describe perfection? How do you describe beauty? Every person, culture and woman defines beauty differently. I know that one of the things that can enhance a woman's beauty is their hair. I had an exclusive interview with a celebrity hair stylist Toni Neal at the famous MaSani Gourmet Southern Cuisine Restaurant in Marietta GA.

I was waiting on one of the best hair stylist in Atlanta Ga to arrive,  while enjoying the  best  mac and cheese at the famous MaSani Gourmet Southern Cuisine restaurant when I notice a beautiful lady coming to sit down in my booth. When I introduced myself we sat down and began my interview. I found out that she was

born and  raised in the black hair capital, Detroit Michigan; Toni Neal displayed a passion for hair at a very young age. Toni watched her foster mother, a cosmetology  teacher, helped her grandmother, a salon owner, for close to a decade. As a 3rd generational stylist, hair care is in her blood. One would say she was destined to become an amazing hair stylist.

One of the things that was interesting to me was that Toni's journey started with a career in television and radio broadcasting. Creative, artistic, and highly motivated, Toni developed a great foundation in the broadcasting industry. However, after 12 years and a Emmy later, Toni desired to start her own business and naturally turned back to her roots,  hair care.

Toni describe herself  as an expert style consultant and innovative "weavologist" , Toni specializes in extentions.  She applies specialized techiques  to create natural styles for all hair types.  Toni believes in researching the best hair products, tools and hair for the many varied textures of black hair.  She doesn't believe in using or selling a hair product that hasn't been  thouroghly analized by herself and her trusted staff.

If you require the best, you've come to the right place.
Toni interview

Denise Richards Adopts A Baby: 'The Girls & I Are Over The Moon

Story photo: Denise Richards Adopts A Baby: 'The Girls & I Are Over The Moon'Denise Richards with daughters Sam Sheen and Lola Rose Sheen attend the 22nd Annual Time for Heroes Celebrity Picnic sponsored by Disney to benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation at Wadsworth Theater on the Veteran Administration Lawn in Los Angeles on June 12, 2011 Getty PremiumAccess Hollywood
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Denise Richards has expanded her family by adopting a baby girl domestically, a rep for the actress confirmed to Access Hollywood on Wednesday.
Denise, and her two daughters by ex-husband Charlie Sheen -- Sam, 7, and Lola, 6 -- named the baby together.
"Eloise Joni Richards is named after Denise's mom [Joni], and Denise and her daughters Sami and Lola chose the name Eloise," the actress' rep told Access in a statement. "Denise and Eloise's big sisters couldn't be happier and feel incredibly blessed."
Denise's mom, Joni, who the baby is named after, passed away in 2007 from cancer.
Not long after the news broke, Denise hit her Twitter page where she thanked fans for their outpouring of support over the news.
"Thank you all for your sweet messages. The girls and I are over the moon and so is my dad Grandpa Irv...xo," she Tweeted.

Design » Khloe Kardashian's Blinged Out Phone Hot or Not

How amazing is Khloe’s Swarovski crystallized phone? Khloe had her office phone blinged out in swarovski crystals. That phone looks beyond amazing. I honestly don’t even want to imagine how much it cost to put Swarovski crystals on that phone it must have been a fortune. I wish I could have a phone that looks like that very flashy. What do you guys think about the phone? Would you get your phone crystallized? Is it Hot or Not?
image via

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What is right now!

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, TransformersGetty Images
Jun 29, 2011 @ 10:50 am
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is currently touring the world promote her new flick Transformers: Dark of the Moon (out today!), which co-stars Shia LaBeouf and Josh Duhamel, and she packed some fantastic outfits for her globetrotting trip. From Antonio Berardi to Naeem Khan to to Gucciand more, the Brit has made every red carpet appearance a mini fashion show. And she has some experience with that—the 24-year-old got her start as a model, most famously a Victoria’s Secret Angel! Click “See the Photos” for more of the Transformers star’s style.