1. Fluid intelligence is the type of intelligence that has to do with short-term memory and the ability to think quickly, logically, and abstractly in order to solve new problems. It _ in young adulthood, levels out for a period of time, and then _ starts to slowly decline as we age. But _ aging is inevitable, scientists are finding that certain changes in brain function may not be. One study found that muscle loss and the _ of body fat around the abdomen are associated with a decline in fluid intelligence. This suggests the _ that lifestyle factors might help prevent or _ this type of decline. The researchers looked at data that _ measurements of lean muscle and abdominal fat from more than 4,000middle-to-older-aged men and women and _ that data to reported changes in fluid intelligence over a six-year period. They found that middle-aged people _ higher measures of abdominal fat _ worse on measures of fluid intelligence as the years _ . For women, the association may be _ to changes in immunity that resulted from excess abdominal fat; in men, the immune system did not appear to be _ . It is hoped that future studies could _ these differences and perhaps lead to different _ for men and women. _ , there are steps you can _ to help reduce abdominal fat and maintain lean muscle mass as you age in order to protect both your physical and mental _ . The two highly recommended lifestyle approaches are maintaining or increasing your _ of aerobic exercise and following a Mediterranean-style _ that is high in fiber and eliminates highly processed foods.
2. The idea that plants have some degree of consciousness first took root in the early 2000s; the term “plant neurobiology” was _ around the notion that some aspects of plant behavior could be _ to intelligence in animals. _ plants lack brains, the firing of electrical signals in their stems and leaves nonetheless triggered responses that _ consciousness, researchers previously reported. But such an idea is untrue, according to a new opinion article. Plant biology is complex and fascinating, but it _ so greatly from that of animals that so-called _ of plants’ intelligence is inconclusive, the authors wrote. Beginning in 2006, some scientists have _ that plants possess neuron-like cells that interact with hormones and neurotransmitters, _ “a plant nervous system, _ to that in animals,” said lead study author Lincoln Taiz, “They _ claimed that plants have ‘brain-like command centers’ at their root tips.” This _ makes sense if you simplify the workings of a complex brain, _ it to an array of electrical pulses; cells in plants also communicate through electrical signals. _ , the signaling in a plant is only _ similar to the firing in a complex animal brain, which is more than “a mass of cells that communicate by electricity,” Taiz said. “For consciousness to evolve, a brain with a threshold _ of complexity and capacity is required,” he _ . “Since plants don’t have nervous systems, the _ that they have consciousness are effectively zero.” And what’s so great about consciousness, anyway? Plants can’t run away from _ , so investing energy in a body system which _ a threat and can feel pain would be a very _ evolutionary strategy, according to the article.