In today’s newsletter, we examine new proof on how exercise helps the mind,see the keys to Earth’s beginnings, learn why bears are moving to cities and suburbs … and ask if climate change is coming for our pizza.
It doesn’t take a neurobiologist to know how muscles in motion—splashing in the water, pumping on a bicycle, shuffling to salsa, stretching before a run (above)—can improve your mind and help in the fight against Alzheimer’s. We now have proof to the molecular level.
Nonetheless, it took hours of weekly dancing for neurobiologist Constanza Cortes Rodriguez to see it for herself. Even though her salsa and bachata classes took her away from mounds of lab work. she became more efficient, “thinking differently and remembering things better,” she tells us.
Emerging research shows the brain reacts to moving muscles instead of simply directing them. “Activity seems to increase the brain’s capacity to regenerate neurons, calm inflammation, and enhance neuron-to-neuron communication,” Connie Chang writes for Nat Geo.
Dance, dance, dance: Students participate in a class (pictured above) at China’s Yangtze Normal University. Dancing engages the entire body as well as the mind and can improve muscle tone, strength, endurance, and fitness.
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Cities gone wild: Whether it’s bears getting comfy in the living room or coyotes roaming down the avenue, bold, brave animals are living more quietly among us (Above, Nat Geo Explorer Corey Arnold photographs a three-legged black bear entering a home in Asheville, North Carolina.). A decline in hunting and a shrinking of the countryside has brought more wild animals into our urban and suburban lands. These “cosmopolitan carnivores” might be here to stay, Christine Dell’Amore tells us.
STORIES WE’RE FOLLOWING
See the landscapes that hold keys to Earth’s origins(pictured above, a lava flow in Iceland)
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Caring for the land: Volunteers and members of the North Fork Mono Tribe work together on a cultural, or controlled, burn near Mariposa, California, in 2021. This is part of a wider initiative in which the Native people lead an effort to restore meadows and trees, while also teaching students, firefighters, and residents their traditional efforts to protect forests from wildfires.
IN A FEW WORDS
You can wear a mask for three hours but then once it ends up on the ground, it can end up killing an animal, it could contaminate the environment forever … When you think about it on a global scale and level it up across the world, that number is so much more, and who’s doing something about it?
Plastic pollution researcher, Nat Geo Explorer
Don’t take my pizza! Drought and high temperatures have curtailed California’s tomato crop—and have prompted farmers to plant fewer tomatoes. These climate-change effects could affect the quantity and price of pizza sauce—and pizzas. “Geneticists are trying to breed a more drought-resistant tomato, to fight diseases more effectively, and more efficiently grow—eking out gains wherever they can,”Alejandra Borunda writes.
This was edited and curated by Monica Williams, Heather Kim, and David Beard. Have an idea for us? A bear in your backyard? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a good week ahead!