You never know when disaster will strike.  I mean, most days you will only need to really think at work for a few minutes a day.  The rest of the time, you’ll be in the process mode.  That’s when you do the “same old thing” over and over and (is it quitting time, yet?)…

Without exception, though, the people who are likely to be best prepared to survive at all times, seem (logically) to be those who have a wide range of skills and are constantly keeping themselves mentally sharp.

This “sharpness” can be measured and it’s not hard to do.  Google some online IQ tests and you’ll find a bunch.  Once you have a few you’re happy with, you can begin to measure yourself.  Like in any experiment, try to vary the testing by one variable at a time.  If you vary more than one, you won’t be sure which elementary change caused the result.

Here’s some of my personal research into the matter – but remember, your results are bound to be different.

1. Sleep and IQ

Let’s begin with sleep spindles – which you have most likely never heard of before.  Easily overcome with a read of this article at Cambridge Brain Sciences.  The source article in the Journal of Cognitive Neurosciences is also worth reading.

Also worth pondering are some studies that link sleep deprivation with under-performance (no surprise!) and other which head in the direction of too much sleep being detrimental.

My personal hack (if that’s not too much of a stretch) is to set the alarm for the same time every day, regardless of time zone we happen to be in, for example.  My sense is that all the body rhythms will, over enough repetitions, get synced up if down time and up time are routine.

2. Caffeine and IQ

In a 2010 Psychology Today article, Dr. Gary Wenk asks whether that 5th cup of coffee really does you any good when comes to raising your IQ.  Admittedly a cup, or two is good, but isn’t it a declining return?

“Most of us can push the processing speed a little without risk. Unfortunately, the neural processing speed in our brains is already just a few extra action potentials per second away from a full-blown seizure.”

Other drug compounds, similar to the caffeine in coffee, may be found in teas and in some chocolates.

There may be additional anti-cancer properties to coffee, too, so it’s useful stuff.  If TSHTF might be useful to toss a half-dozen Instant Coffee bags into the grad and go along with some quick sugar sources.  Elaine’s been known to grab a PayDay candy bar.  Allergic to peanuts, I roll with the apple Nature Valley Granola bars.

3. Fasting and IQ

No question about it, there’s a case that “Fasting diets such as 5:2 could make people smarter, finds study” reported the UK Independent last in 2017.

One of the problems I’ve run into fasting (especially with coffee even in sight) has been my blood sugar drops and I get shaky (OK, and weirder, too!).  The way I solved that lil bugger was to begin taking a small daily dose of chromium picolinate. I’ll refer you over to WebMD for additional details, but it’s cheap and you can find it many places including Amazon.

4. Meat is Bad – Or Is It?

Not to offend our vegan readers, but a 2010 piece on NPR is worth considering as “Food for Thought: Eating Meat Made Us Smarter.”

While it is true, in some studies, that vegans scored higher in certain IQ tests, we need to be cautious in drawing too many conclusions.  That’s because we may not have sufficient insight into what vegans are eating.  For example, partial vegan diets that include eggs and buts, along with pineapples and such can increase the serum levels of serotonin.

For me, the personal research question is open:  Is the meat consumption bad, OR is it possible that the vegan uptake of something beneficial is what’s at work?  Moreover, we don’t know with certainty if all types of intelligence rise on a vegan/semi-vegan diet.

This is because not all aspects of brain function are typically measured in studies..  Rather than get funding “to go find the essence of Truth” researchers writing grant applications are usually limited to testing one notion at a time.  The multiplicity of variables to ponder (like blood chemistry across a blood panel, for example) is harder to fund.  We live in a “buy the drill-down” world.

5. Beer and Pork are Good?

At the risk of offending, again, I have found that in certain mental aspects, both beer and pork may be consumed and result in higher IQ.  We move back into the blood chemistry realm because our focus here is on serum uric acid levels.

Ever see one of those Dutch masters’ painting with the burgermeister sucking down a beer with his leg propped-up on the table?  Likely, says science, acute gout  –  a kind of arthritis – and resulting from deposition of uric acid crystals in uncomfortable places.  Knee, great toe, elbow, and so forth.

Go read the paper “Study of Serum Uric Acid and its Correlation with
Intelligence Quotient and Other Parameters in Normal Healthy Adults” and pay special attention to the mean serum level bar chart (blue bars) on page 2 of the PDF.

There are plenty of foods that can push your uric acid levels around, but there’s some risk.  In my own case, I manage it closely because I have had gout and it’s a real pain.  On the other hand, when my uric acid levels are low (read{ normal) I don’t get into the “buss” or “zone mode” as easily.  Check with your doctor and ask about some colchicine  if you are at risk of gout.

Pork?  Shellfish?  Beer?  Oysters?  Yum oh yum!

6. Huperzine-A

I feel (and it’s subjective because I don’t spend all my time “lab ratting”) huperzine-A seems to help and it may have some anti-Alzheimer’s effects, as well.

All this said, the effects of any nootropic will likely vary on your own DNA, ancestry, and any ore-existing tendencies.   An article over at Vice didn’t find any help from huperzine, among five nootropics tested. 

7. Light Crown Use?

My use of a near-infrared light emitting diode (LED) array worn as a headband, illuminating the center of the forehead and both temples (trigeminal nerve packs) seems to add a bit after 2-5 days of use.  However, the “super-charging” seems to wear off after a few days.

Is that real or placebo effect?  I promise to lab rat this one as time allows.  But do keep reading the latest on photobiomodulation.  A 2010 article from MIT Technology Review “The Puzzling Role Of Biophotons In The Brain” from 2010 is a good entry point.

Is I “the Light?”  Don’t know, but the most recent article (as of Saturday) on PubMed included:

…all scream to be read.

8. Quantum Potentiation

Theory time!  Come on over to the workbench…want to show you something:

That gorgeous blue-masking tape-wrapped coil is 1,550 turns of #30 enameled wire on an 8-inch form which, when there’s 400 uf across it should resonate in the vicinity of 9.5 Hz which is one of the frequencies seen in brain studies when dreams (particularly lucid ones) are rolling by.

The theory of quantum potentiation (he said, stepping up to a whiteboard and taking a mighty huff of the pen) is theory only.  BUT there are two obvious modes to test.’

In one mode, I’ll just click a small audio generator onto the resonant circuit and go take a nap.  If there’s any tendency toward entrainment then it may become evident.

Less apparent, however, is the matter of a mode which would arise just as a tuned circuit approaches the point of oscillation – which is what I was showing you in  the Friday article in the “looking Ahead” section where I was showing you how Q-multipliers work.

Except, of course, we will be using a convenient brain (volunteers?) as we rework a Q-multiplier and excite it just to the edge of oscillation, but not quite…which is when potentiation begins to appear.  The closer to actually breaking into oscillation, the greater the potentiation, but the narrow the band of frequencies involved.

They you have it!  *(that PCB left of the coil is the metal detector (Surf PI 1.2) board, BTW)  Eight ways ranging from simple to theoretical on how to bump up the quality of thinking between your ears.

There are other methods, too.  Moderate to heavy workouts to keep the blood flow going, for example…deep breathing…so many more…

If we could only get paid on the basis of knowledge and heart directly, wouldn’t it be a grand world?

Write when you get rich,

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