In the News: Nordic Diet May Reduce Stroke Risk, Certain Brain Areas Work Like Traffic Lights, Licorice Potentially Dangerous During Pregnancy

I’ve really taken a Viking to this diet. New study suggests a link between the Nordic diet and risk of stroke. It’s estimated that more than 200,000 Americans suffer from stroke annually, but a new study from the American Heart Association suggests that a group of people in Northern Europe might have a diet that could help reduce the risk: it’s the Nordic diet. In this study, more than 55,000 people were followed for 13 years, and they found that those who adhered to the Nordic diet had significantly lower risk of ischemic stroke. So give it a try! The Nordic diet is packed full of fish, root veggies like carrots, and greens like Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Check out celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson and Dr. Oz explain the benefits of the Nordic Diet here! (MEDSCAPE)

This brain research gets the green light. New study suggests that some parts of our brain work like a traffic light. By studying the brains of rats, scientists are uncovering the way that we respond to the environment. It all has to do with a region of the brain called the prefrontal cortex, which receives either excitation or inhibition to work. To further test this system, the researchers turned off different regions of the prefrontal cortex in rats and had them perform tasks. They found specific regions of the brain that influence impulsive behavior and which opens up an area to study disorders of reactive behavior like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Want to learn more about OCD? Check out this fact sheet. (EUREKA)

Licorice might not be so anise for pregnant women. Licorice consumption during pregnancy may affect cognitive ability in children. A recent study from Finland followed more than a thousand pregnant mothers and their healthy infants for 13 years. Children born from mothers who ate more than 8.8 ounces of licorice a week while pregnant scored, on average, seven points lower on IQ tests and had three times the risk of developing attention deficit disorder. While the authors admit that more research needs to be done, this study sheds light on a possible risk of eating licorice while pregnant. Learn more about what you can (and can’t) eat during pregnancy here. (NYT)