Everyday life 'dumbing' us down?

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Smart phones: they allow us to listen to music, check our e-mail, browse the internet, and even track our daily calorie intake, but are we really smarter?

New research out of the University of Texas at Dallas says multitasking rewires the brain, robs us of frontal lobe brainpower, and reduces our ability to make good decisions. We have more on how other parts of our daily life could be making us dumber.

Better think twice before drinking that soda. The average American consumes 35 lbs. of high-fructose corn syrup a year. A study at UCLA found a steady diet of high-fructose can alter the brain's memory and ability to learn in as little as six weeks.

A walk in the park or a walk down a busy city sidewalk, which one of these can make you dumber? In a large-scale study at the University of Michigan, people who walk through the city had worse memory, poor attention, and learning problems.

So why does walking in the city make us dumber? The answer is stress. According to a Yale University study, stressful situations can reduce the number of connections between neurons in the brain and can impair your ability to manage stressful events. On the plus side, behavioral therapy such as meditation or yoga can help repair the damage.

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